Astronomy Fundamentals

History of Astronomy

Why did some people think ancient Mayans predicted that the world would end on December 21, 2012?

A few years ago, archaeologists studying Mayan calendar records noticed that one particular calendar cycle would reset on December 21, 2012, similar in a way to how the modern calendar resets each year on January 1. Other people who heard about this began to speculate, without any scientific evidence, that the Mayans who had put together that calendar thought the world would cease to exist on that date. The rumor spread, and a number of wild and fanciful hypotheses about how and why the world would be destroyed on that day were created and circulated. Of course, none of these hypotheses had any scientific validity, and none of them came true—it is now well past December 21, 2012, and we are still here.


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