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Anthropologist turns Easter Island collapse theory on its head

Washington, Dec 12 : Assistant anthropologist Dr. Mara Mulrooney wants to debunk Jared Diamond's theory that inhabitants of Rapa Nui or Easter Island committed environmental suicide.


Mulrooney, assistant anthropologist at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, has spent six years collecting and analyzing radiocarbon dates from around the island, the Huffington Post reported.

She did so in order to find out how the people of Rapa Nui sustained themselves before and after the time of the first European discovery in 1722.

She claimed that according to the data, the data paints a picture of sustainability and continuity and not resource decimation.

She does not dispute that the people destroyed the island's abundant forests but argues that deforestation was conducted in order to create agricultural fields and plant much more useful crops, like sweet potato and taro.

Mulrooney's use of radiocarbon dating proves that innovative agriculture was taking place on the interior of the island well after the European arrival.

She said that it wasn't until after European contact that there is evidence of de-population and major changes on the island.

Polynesian settlers reached Easter Island roughly 1,000 years ago via canoe.

In his bestselling book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Jared Diamond had argued that the people of Easter Island were a perfect example of a society whose lack of forethought and resource-greed led to its demise.

--ANI (Posted on 13-12-2013)

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