Laser mapping reveals thousands of hidden ancient structures in the Amazon region Laser mapping reveals thousands of hidden ancient structures in the Amazon region

Laser mapping reveals thousands of hidden ancient structures in the Amazon region

Laser mapping reveals thousands of hidden ancient structures in the Amazon region

Experts were able to identify thousands of areas where indigenous people lived in the vital Amazon forests.
Recently, an archaeological study revealed more than 10,000 pre-Columbian archaeological sites throughout the Amazon region.

The Amazon rainforest is home to an estimated 16,000 tree species, an unparalleled hotspot of biodiversity. Western scientists previously referred to it as a lush paradise relatively untouched by humans, but they have recently realized that human cultures have lived in large tracts of rainforest for thousands of years. 

A new study provides data to support what archaeologists working in the Amazon have argued for decades: that the Amazon is not a pure forest, but rather has been transformed by indigenous people over thousands of years.

The scientists, led by remote sensing scientist Vinicius Peripato, from Brazil's National Institute for Space Research, analyzed the undiscovered sites using LIDAR data covering an area of ​​5,315 square kilometres.

LIDAR, an airborne laser mapping technology, uses the timing of laser flashes emitted by an aircraft to peer through layers of foliage, soil and other materials to map changes in structures, potentially revealing human-made artifacts (such as ditches, ponds and wells).

This technology has proven its ability time and time again, discovering hidden Mayan settlements and excavations in long-abandoned villages deep in the Amazon.

A recent survey of the land under the Amazon forest canopy revealed signs of pre-Columbian human occupation, which should not be surprising, but what is surprising is their scale.

In one survey, the team found 24 previously unknown earthworks (construction phases of buildings or infrastructure and other works with man-made engineering structures) that strongly suggest architectural origins.

“We have discovered a fortified village in the southern Amazon, defensive and ceremonial sites in the southwestern Amazon, convex mountains and rocky structures in the Guiana Shield, and riverine sites in the floodplains of the central Amazon,” the research team says.

In the southern Amazon, signs of the existence of a plaza city were spotted within an area believed to have once been home to tens of thousands of people, and linked by networks of roads that rival those of classical Europe.

In the southwest, scientists discovered strange geometric decorations far beyond any detectable path.

Extrapolating the spread of potential earthworks throughout the Amazon, there could be between 10,000 and 24,000 structures still hidden under centuries of leaf litter, sediment and forest growth.

This indicates that more than 90% of human history in the Amazon region has not yet been discovered.

Traces of this ancient thriving society may still linger in the structure of the Amazon ecosystem itself. Peripato and his team measured the presence and abundance of 79 domesticated tree species across nearly 1,700 forest plots, including a number of sites near exposed earthworks.

Of these plant species, just under half were more common near sites of ancient settlement, while about a quarter were in lower numbers than expected.

Overall, the presence or abundance of 53 of the 79 species was related in some way to past human distribution.

Unlike untouched wilderness, the Amazon can be more like an unsupervised garden in which seeds have been planted.

Tracing the physical remains of these sites can tell us more about how cultures transformed the forest to provide for the needs of communities of this size and diversity without risking their destruction.

This research was published in Science magazine.


Skeptical Scientists: The topic of climate change and its consequences is controversial

News is circulating online that the Climate Skeptics Declaration has been signed by 1,600 scientists, including two Nobel laureates. Is it so?

The topic of climate change, its consequences and ways to combat it is truly controversial both in science and in society as a whole.

Nothing terrible or unusual happens to the climate on Earth. Warming is progressing more slowly than expected. Carbon dioxide, as a major greenhouse gas, is the gas that is “blamed” for global warming, when in fact it is beneficial and increases agricultural yields. So there is no need to reduce emissions at all. These are the main points of the declaration prepared by the international organization Global Climate Intelligence Group (CLINTEL), or rather the “Global Independent Climate Information Group”.

News is now circulating on the Internet that the declaration was signed by Nobel laureate John Clauser, who joined 1,600 scientists who share the thoughts of climate skeptics.

Is this true? - The Russian newspaper "Komsomolskaya Pravda" decided to discover this within the framework of a joint project with the "Noodles Media" organization aimed at exposing false information.

While in fact, Clintel first published its announcement in 2019. Since then, climate change scientists have repeatedly refuted its claims, saying that the authors distort the facts and do not provide numbers or convincing evidence to support their claims.

Although the topic of climate change itself, its consequences and ways to combat it is a matter of debate both in science and in society as a whole, not everyone shares Greta Thunberg's ideas, let alone her methods.

However, most scientists acknowledge human influence on climate, and 6 reports have already been submitted to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which summarized all the scientific research published in the world.

Another note is that the authors of the Declaration claim that it was signed by 1,609 scholars. Among them are two Nobel Prize laureates. The list is available on the Clintel website, and it already includes two Nobel laureates, 93-year-old Ivar Iver and 80-year-old John Clauser. Both physicists did not study the climate issue. The list also includes other scholars from various disciplines, and professors from various prestigious universities.

But at the same time, there are a lot of people in other professions like brokers, nutritionists, managers, engineers, consultants, financiers, journalists, nurses, pharmacists, many retirees, and people in amazing professions like “strategic planner” and “climate critic.” " etc. without reference to specific places of work and education. Overall, even if all these people actually signed their names, it cannot be said that these are 1,600 scholars.
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