[extropy-chat] Easter Island not a human-created disaster?

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Sun Jan 7 09:41:41 UTC 2007

Rethinking the Fall of Easter Island
New evidence points to an alternative explanation for a civilization's collapse
Terry L. Hunt

Easter Island has become a case study of human-induced environmental
disaster, or "ecocide." The popular narrative, most famously recounted
in Jared Diamond's book Collapse, depicts native inhabitants
triggering the fall of their once-flourishing civilization by cutting
down all of the island's trees. But recent archaeological and
paleoenvironmental research point to a very different story. The
island may not have been settled until around 1200 A.D., centuries
later than previously thought, and it may have been a large rat
population, not the human inhabitants, that caused widespread
deforestation. This evidence sheds new light on a story that has long
fascinated outsiders.


So, to sum up, this article claims that the evidence shows that a
plague of rats ate all the palm seeds and caused the deforestation.
The human population started later and was much smaller than previous
estimates up to the time that European contact provided diseases and
slave-trading that finished the islanders off.

Not much room for evolutionary psychology in this scenario.


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