Climate change and the origins of farming in Mexico

Mexico's Iguala Valley saw farming spread during Earth's warming after the last Ice Age.

Location of Iguala Valley, Mexico National Academy of Sciences

We're not going to be the first generation of humans to cope with severe climate change. We may simply be the first to know just what's happening.

An international research team traced the growth of farming in Mexico's Iguala Valley. Their new report charts the rise of agriculture as the climate became warmer and wetter. Farming began after the last Ice Age. New lakes formed. Corn and squash were being regularly farmed 8,000 years ago. Then farming spread. Agricultural burning was used. Sixty-three hundred years ago domestic crops were plentiful. Forest clearing increased.

Iguala Valley today Ruth Dickau

Then, around 1,800 years ago, the climate began to change. Iguala Valley became drier. That lasted until 900 years ago and matched the time of the decline of the classic Mayan civilization in that region. The research concludes that climate change could have led to social change. Are we paying attention?

 

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