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An ancient empire hiding in plain sight, and the billion-dollar cost of illegal fishing

Science Podcast
Tikal with podcast symbol overlay
Christian Hipólito

This week on the podcast, Contributing Correspondent Lizzie Wade joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss a turning point for one ancient Mesoamerican city: Tikal. On 16 January 378 C.E., the Maya city lost its leader and the replacement may have been a stranger. We know from writings that the new leader wore the garb of another culture—the Teotihuacan—who lived in a giant city 1000 kilometers away. But was this new ruler of a Maya city really from a separate culture? New techniques being used at the Tikal and Teotihuacan sites have revealed conflicting evidence as to whether Teotihuacan really held sway over a much larger region than previously estimated.

Sarah also talks with Rashid Sumaila, professor and Canada research chair in interdisciplinary ocean and fisheries economics at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries. You may have heard of illegal fishing being bad for the environment or bad for maintaining fisheries—but as Sumaila and colleagues report this week in Science Advances, the illegal fishing trade is also incredibly costly—with gross revenues of between $8.9 billion and $17.2 billion each year.

In the books segment this month, Kiki Sanford interviews Gaia Vince about her new book Transcendence How Humans Evolved through Fire, Language, Beauty, and Time.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

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[Image: Christian Hipólito; Music: Jeffrey Cook]