The an­cient Maya civ­i­liza­tion may have risen — and fallen — in re­sponse to cli­mate change, report sci­en­tists.

Element - - WORLD -

The find­ings ap­pear in the Sci­ence jour­nal, and show that the early clas­sic Maya pe­riod — about A.D. 450 to 660 — “was re­mark­ably wet. There was a pro­lif­er­a­tion of pop­u­la­tion, an in­crease in agri­cul­ture and a rise in di­vine kings that be­came prom­i­nent lead­ers.” But then things dried up. The re­searchers com­pared the cli­mate record with an ex­ist­ing “war in­dex” — a log of hos­tile events based on how of­ten cer­tain key­words oc­curred in Maya in­scrip­tions on stone mon­u­ments — and found a strong cor­re­la­tion be­tween drought and war­fare be­tween cities.

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