A new study from Yale University details the devastating effects of climate change on the ancient Mayan civilization, despite the attempts that were made to adapt to it.
Researchers have found drought markers in Central America that correspond to patterns of well-being disruption in Mayan society. This new information helps to answer the question of the role that climate change played in the collapse of that culture during 850 and 950.
Mark Pagani, a professor of geology and geophysics at Yale University and a co-author of the study, says his work has shown that the lowland Maya were subjected to much greater droughts than in the north.
The south was where the largest number of the Mayan population was concentrated and their ability to adapt was limited, Pagani explained. The north was used to drier climatic situations and therefore had a greater adaptation maneuver, but the southern cities were never able to recover.
Still, they were numerous attempts by the Maya to adapt to the new climate and that can be observed in the study. Pagani and other researchers state that the change in corn production during the first moments of the drought allowed the Mayan population to continue growing.
The study shows that the Mayan population was not a passive victim to the signs of climate change if they were not able to adapt to the drought, but it did not work over time.
According to other researchers in the study, the remarkable thing that the study reveals is the need to adapt to future climate changes and take perspective, especially when there are predictions of severe climate change that will take place in this century.