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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published December 21 2012

Weather Talk: End-of-world prediction based on misinterpretation

If you are reading this, then the world did not end on Dec. 21 as some claimed the Mayan calendar had predicted.

Of course, this nonsense was based on a misunderstanding of the Mayan calendar and the popularity of a movie a few years ago. The Mayan civilization spread throughout what is now southern Mexico and Central America from some 4,000 years ago until the time of the Spanish conquistadors. The peak of Mayan civilization was in a period from about A.D. 250 through 900.

Mayans built huge cities, some of which may have had populations well over 100,000 people. However, these huge population centers were unable to sustain themselves when the climate became drier after around A.D. 900.

The point is, if the Mayans were able to predict the end of the world yesterday, why were they unable to predict the climate shift that doomed their own way of life a millennium earlier?


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