The internet was recently abuzz when a teenager reportedly discovered an ancient and unknown Mayan city just by studying the stars. Well, it turns out that ancient city wasn’t actually a new discovery, and the teenager briefly received credit for an awesome development that wasn’t actually his. All in a days work for a 15 year-old, to be honest. Who hasn’t taken credit for something that seems incredibly cool but might not be true? It’s how most people his age get their first kiss. In actuality, the “city” is just a very old man-made corn field – AKA a “milpa.”
According to additional reporting done by New York Magazine, a good number of experts in the field almost immediately disputed the finding and the method by which William Gadoury found it in the first place. Using specific stars from a constellation to find a random location isn’t a tried and true scientific method, and there was no double-checking of Gadoury’s method before people began applauding him for uncovering such a magnificent find. So while it probably shouldn’t be surprising the the discovery didn’t pan out as the public originally hoped it would, it is also a mostly expected outcome.
Whether they are geniuses or not, teenagers generally don’t discover the next major find in the world of ancient cities without a little help from more senior scientists. It’s unfortunate that Gadoury went viral online before his discovery was refuted by professionals in the field.
(via New York Magazine)