EW reads ''Collapse'' so you don't have to -- Here's the surprising facts to be found in this 525 page book about vanished civilizations

By Vickie An
Updated January 10, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

In Collapse, Pulitzer-winning author Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel) recounts how thriving civilizations of the past vanished from the global radar. If you think you’ll buckle under all 525 pages, here are some highlights.

Thanks to a high-carb diet and heavy consumption of sugarcane juice, Easter Island natives had the highest incidence of cavities among any known prehistoric people — most had tooth decay by age 20.

Ancient Mayans rang in their New Year in our eighth month. The Maya Long Count calendar begins on Aug. 11, 3114 B.C.

The Anasazi society, which disappeared from northwestern New Mexico before 1200 A.D., built the tallest buildings in North America (one stone structure rose six stories) — until the steel-girder skyscrapers of 1880s Chicago.