No, a 15-year-old didn’t discover a Mayan temple

No, a 15-year-old didn’t discover a Mayan temple

Scientists have discovered the truth about the supposed discovery of an ancient Mayan city by a teenager.

The incredible story of a 15-year-old discovering an ancient Mayan city was perhaps a little too incredible — experts are saying the story is hogwash.

It all began when a 15-year-old boy from Quebec, who loved to study the Mayan civiliation, noticed that the distribution of the culture’s settlements were similar to that of the constellations they drew among the stars, according to a Discovery News report.

So he put the 22 constellations on a map to locate 117 known ancient cities, but for the 23rd constellation he couldn’t find a corresponding city. He then used resources from Google Earth and the Canadian Space Agency to find what looked like a man-made structure, leading to a frenzy of news reports on the discovery.

However, actual experts of Mayan culture quickly threw cold water on it, with anthropologist David Stewart at the University of Texas at Austin calling it “junk science hitting the Internet,” and that the Mayans didn’t plot out their cities according to the constellations, according to the report.

There are several problems with the story. First, the area identified would be 80 to 120 square kilometers in size, and would make it one of the largest known Mayan cities — and it’s unlikely scientists would have missed it.

Secondly, satellite images don’t provide depth or height information, so there’s no indication on what kind of structure is there.

And third, the images appear to simple be of a fallow field, with areas that appear to have been cleared but nothing was planted there, and such a discovery likely wouldn’t date back to ancient Maya.



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