Ritual sacrifice at Chichén Itzá

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Ancient Maya genomes reveal the practice of male twin sacrifice and the enduring genetic legacy of colonial-era epidemics

El Castillo, also known as the Temple of Kukulcan, is among the largest structur
El Castillo, also known as the Temple of Kukulcan, is among the largest structures at Chichén Itzá and its architecture reflects its far-flung political connections. © Johannes Krause

Rising to power in the wake of the Classic Maya collapse, Chichén Itzá was among the largest and most influential cities of the ancient Maya, but much about its political connections and ritual life remain poorly understood. In a new study in Nature, researchers discover a practice of ritual child sacrifice focused exclusively on males. Close kin relationships, including two pairs of identical twins, suggests a connection to the Maya origin myths of the Popol Vuh. ...

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