Research Reveals Mayan Food Plants Resistant to Drought

Researchers at University of California-Riverside who are studying the disappearance of the ancient Maya say that drought was not the primary driver of collapse for the civilization. Their work shows that the Maya had 500 edible plants available to them, many of which proved to be highly drought resistant, such as cassava, hearts of palm, and chaya. The researchers say their study demonstrates the importance of exploiting a variety of plants to survive drought and climate change. “Even given a series of droughts, maintaining a diversity of resilient crops would enable people, both ancient and modern, to adapt and survive,” noted UC Riverside plant physiologist Louis Santiago.