Boletín de la Sociedad Geológica Mexicana

Volumen 70, núm. 1, 2018, p. 49 ‒ 60

The Paleoanthropocene of the Yucatán Peninsula: palynological evidence of environmental change

Gerald A. Islebe1,*, Nuria Torrescano-Valle1, Alejandro A. Aragón-Moreno1, Alejandro A. Vela-Peláez1, Mirna Valdez-Hernández1

1 El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Herbario, Departamento Conservación de la Biodiversidad, Avenida Centenario km 5.5, Apartado Postal 424, CP 77014, Chetumal, Quintana Roo, México.

* This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Human activities have changed and shaped landscape conditions of the Yucatán Peninsula for more than 4000 years. Several paleoecological studies showed the oldest pollen record of corn-based agriculture is from northern Belize, with an estimated age of 3300 BC.

Several other studies report maize between 1500 and 3000 BC from northern Guatemala and the Mexican part of the Yucatán Peninsula. After 3500 cal yr BP several paleoecological studies showed a marked tendency to drier climatic conditions. In pollen records, increased drought is expressed as a reduced presence of fossil arboreal pollen. Pollen records with the presence of Zea maysalso show other taxa, which are indicators of disturbance in different vegetation types.

Keywords: Paleoanthropocene, Holocene, Yucatán Peninsula, fossil pollen, Zea mays.