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This story was posted as an April Fool joke and is entirely fictitious.

Archeologists in Cozumel have uncovered what they believe to be the world's first photographs, suggesting the Mayans invented photography over 1,000 years ago.

At a dig at an undisclosed site close to San Gervasio ruins, Professor Andreas Magnacio from the University of Inocentes in Mexico City, found a collection of faded "geographs", a form of photograph that uses light-sensitive limestone tablets to record images, rather than photographic paper.

In an exclusive interview, Magnacio told This is Cozumel, "This is an historical moment for the island. Although they are hard to see, we believe these are the world's first photographs and further lab analysis will help us verify this."

The images appear to show the priests of Tan Tun, thought to be the first Mayan settlement on the island.

World's first photos
Geograph of Mayan priests of Tan Tun.

Experts already knew the Mayans had a deep understanding of light and perspective from watching the skies, but this new discovery suggests they were able to project images and record them on stone tablets, with what would have been the world's first true camera photography.

The Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza closeby in Mexico are famous for projecting a shadow of a serpent onto the main pyramid steps at certain times of year. Magnacio says they would have used similar knowledge to project images onto light-sensitive limestone rock, possibly using a form of "pinhole" camera.

Although other ancient civilizations are known to have understood basic camera devices, until now nobody thought true photographic images had been successfully recorded until the 1800s.