Evidence that humans can genetically adapt to diving has been identified for the first time in a new study. The evidence suggests that the Bajau, a people group indigenous to parts of Indonesia, have genetically enlarged spleens which enable them to free dive to depths of up to 70m.

It has previously been hypothesized that the spleen plays an important role in enabling humans to free dive for prolonged periods but the relationship between spleen size and dive capacity has never before been examined in humans at the genetic level.

The findings, which are being published in the research journal Cell, could also have medical implications in relation to the condition known as Acute Hypoxia, which can cause complications in emergency medical care.

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