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Sea Nomads: The Bajau Tribe’s unique lifestyle, genetic adaptation (Photos)

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Sea Nomads: The Bajau Tribe’s unique lifestyle, genetic adaptation (Photos)

 

The Bajau Tribe, also known as sea nomads, have captivated the world with their remarkable free-diving skills.

Originating from the Sulu Archipelago in the Philippines, as well as other areas in Southeast Asia, these nomadic people have been living on the waters of Southeast Asia for centuries without a permanent homeland.

Sea Nomads: The Bajau Tribe's unique lifestyle, genetic adaptation (Photos)

Studies have revealed that the Bajau possess a genetic adaptation commonly referred to as the “sea nomad gene.” This variant results in larger spleen sizes among the Bajau, potentially aiding in their ability to hold their breath for extended periods while diving. This physical adaptation is thought to be advantageous for their exceptional free-diving lifestyle.

Known as “sea nomads,” the Bajau people spend up to five hours a day underwater, diving to depths of more than 200 feet. Their exceptional diving abilities are due to a stunning example of natural selection.

The fishermen of this nomadic tribe are capable of holding their breath for up to 13 minutes at depths of 200 feet.

Sea Nomads: The Bajau Tribe's unique lifestyle, genetic adaptation (Photos)

The Bajau people are capable of living off the sea, making their living through traditional free-diving for fish and pearls. Their diet includes a diverse array of sea creatures, including sea cucumbers.

Their rich cultural history is as diverse as their diet, with genetic evidence suggesting heavy admixture with locals or even language and cultural adoption by coastal groups in the areas they settled.

Sea Nomads: The Bajau Tribe's unique lifestyle, genetic adaptation (Photos)

Despite their unique lifestyle and cultural contributions, the Bajau often fall victim to theft, extortion, kidnapping, and violence from insurgents and pirates.

Their ancestral roaming and fishing grounds straddle the borders of the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, making them truly international citizens of the sea.

The total population of the Bajau is estimated to be 1.3 million worldwide. They can be found in several countries, including:

– Philippines: 499,620
– Malaysia: 436,672
– Indonesia: 150,000–200,000
– Brunei: 50,000

The Bajau are also known as the Sama-Bajau, the Orang Laut, and the Moken.

See more of the photos below:

Sea Nomads: The Bajau Tribe's unique lifestyle, genetic adaptation (Photos)

Sea Nomads: The Bajau Tribe's unique lifestyle, genetic adaptation (Photos)

Sea Nomads: The Bajau Tribe's unique lifestyle, genetic adaptation (Photos)

Sea Nomads: The Bajau Tribe's unique lifestyle, genetic adaptation (Photos)

Sea Nomads: The Bajau Tribe's unique lifestyle, genetic adaptation (Photos)

Sea Nomads: The Bajau Tribe's unique lifestyle, genetic adaptation (Photos)

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