The clue to the end of the Maya civilization may lie in ancient human feces. This is reported by ScienceAlert with reference to the results of a study conducted by Canadian scientists.
Scientists used a new method of analysis based on fecal stanols – organic molecules in human feces that can be stored for millennia in the bottom sediments of water bodies. According to McGill University biogeochemist Benjamin Keenan, this method allows scientists to study information that is nearly impossible to find in archaeological finds. Specifically, the researchers tracked how many people lived in a specific place at a specific time. The obtained information was later compared with climate data left in the geological record.
“It is important for people to know that before us there were civilizations that have been affected by climate change and have successfully adapted to them,” said biogeochemist Peter Douglas.
Archaeologists have already identified four phases of rapid change in Maya population numbers. All of these were associated with periods of drought or very long heavy rains. In addition, the researchers found that the ancient city of Itan, located on the site of Guatemala, was founded 650 years earlier than previously thought.
Former Scholar of the Spanish National Research Council came to the conclusionthat 1590 years ago, the ancient Maya civilization was partially affected by the devastating eruption of the Ilopango volcano, which killed all life within a 40-kilometer radius.