Maya civilization’s abrupt collapse remains a mystery that remains unsolved
The Mayan civilization originated on the Yucatan peninsula. It flourished between 600 and 800 AD and was known for its monumental architecture and advanced mastery of mathematics and astronomy.
However, between 800 and 950 AD, many of the southern cities were abandoned, and Mayan societies began to disappear. This period is known as the collapse of the Classic Maya civilizations, and it has perplexed modern-day scientists.
Combining historical evidence, scientists believe that southeastern Mexico and northern Central America suffered a great deal from a series of severe droughts. Paleoclimatology studies suggest that drought has led to widespread famine, as the Mayans relied heavily on drought-sensitive crops such as corn, corn, beans, and squash.
Recent studies by the University of California, Riverside, show that drought is likely not the only cause behind the collapse of the ancient Mayan civilization. The study found that even in the most extreme drought situation – and there is no clear evidence that such a situation has ever occurred – 59 species of edible plants would have survived.
According to the researchers, the Maya could have relied on chaya and cassava to meet their carbohydrate and protein requirements. Chaya is a shrub whose leaves are high in protein, iron, potassium, and calcium. Cassava is a root vegetable or tuber rich in carbohydrates used in many ways as potatoes.
Although researchers have been unable to ascertain why the Mayan civilization collapsed, they believe the role of social and economic upheaval should not be overlooked.
Source: Science Daily