New Easter Island theory presented

Dec 06, 2005

A University of Hawaii anthropologist and colleagues are blaming rats and Dutch traders for the mysterious abandonment of Easter Island.

Nearly all Polynesians on the South Pacific island, who built hundreds of 10-ton stone statues, inexplicably vanished. Conjecture has included the natives deforested the island to transport the statues, triggering catastrophic erosion, USA Today reported. According to the theory, the remaining inhabitants then were decimated during a cannibalistic civil war in about 1650.

But anthropologist Terry Hunt blames the Polynesian rat for deforesting the 66-square-mile island's 16 million palm trees.

He and his colleagues told USA Today the disappearance of Easter Islanders probably was caused by visiting 18th-centruy Dutch traders, who took diseases and slave raiding to the island.

Easter Island is located more than 2,000 miles from the nearest population centers, making it one of the most isolated places on Earth.

Hunt presented his findings during an American Anthropological Association meeting last week in Washington.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: World's largest solar boat on Greek prehistoric mission

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Social Security spent $300M on 'IT boondoggle'

48 minutes ago

(AP)—Six years ago the Social Security Administration embarked on an aggressive plan to replace outdated computer systems overwhelmed by a growing flood of disability claims.

Cheaper wireless plans cut into AT&T 2Q profit

51 minutes ago

(AP)—AT&T posted lower net income for the latest quarter due to cheaper cellphone plans it introduced as a response to aggressive pricing from smaller competitor T-Mobile US.

Awarded a Pell Grant? Better double-check

55 minutes ago

(AP)—Potentially tens of thousands of students awarded a Pell Grant or other need-based federal aid for the coming school year could find it taken away because of a mistake in filling out the form.

Facebook shares profit growth story

56 minutes ago

Facebook on Wednesday reported that is quarterly profit more than doubled amid big gains in ad revenues and a jump in users.

Recommended for you

Local education politics 'far from dead'

8 hours ago

Teach for America, known for recruiting teachers, is also setting its sights on capturing school board seats across the nation. Surprisingly, however, political candidates from the program aren't just pushing ...

First grade reading suffers in segregated schools

8 hours ago

A groundbreaking study from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) has found that African-American students in first grade experience smaller gains in reading when they attend segregated schools—but the ...

Violent aftermath for the warriors at Alken Enge

9 hours ago

Denmark attracted international attention in 2012 when archaeological excavations revealed the bones of an entire army, whose warriors had been thrown into the bogs near the Alken Enge wetlands in East Jutland ...

Why aren't consumers buying remanufactured products?

11 hours ago

Firms looking to increase market share of remanufactured consumer products will have to overcome a big barrier to do so, according to a recent study from the Penn State Smeal College of Business. Findings from faculty members ...

Expecting to teach enhances learning, recall

11 hours ago

People learn better and recall more when given the impression that they will soon have to teach newly acquired material to someone else, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

UncleDave
not rated yet May 18, 2009
"Easter Island is located more than 2,000 miles from the nearest population centers, making it one of the most isolated places on Earth."

And not at all close to any Dutch colony, making it one of the dumbest places from which to grab slaves. But I'm sure USA Today swallowed it hook line and sinker, since it has all the white guilt needed for a byline.