December 16, 2012
The Lesson of Easter Island
Bill Gaede once said, “Science is not about making predictions or performing experiments. Science is about explaining (Goodreads, 2012).” This paper will convey an explanation, based on scientific method, on how the people of Easter Island shattered their island leaving only a small percentage of people to live there. Easter Island is remotely located in the Pacific Ocean. The island is about 1,395 miles from the nearest populated island. When the European explorers reached the island in 1722 they found a desolate landscape with less than 2,000 people existing there. They noticed that the inhabitants lived in caves and had a very limited supply of crops. Who could miss the gigantic statues carved out of stone? This was evidence that there was refined civilization that once lived there. After searching the island and taking survey of what were still here, questions then arise. How did the people of this island transport these statues that stood 33 feet tall, and weighed up to 99 tons as far as 6.2 miles from where they were constructed in the quarries to the coastal sites where they were positioned? What happened to the people who once populated this island? Who were these people, culture, nationality and traditions? Last but not least, where were all the trees and vegetation that once occupied this island? The first hypothesis the researchers considered was the forest was lost because of climate change, but evidence quickly pointed to the hypothesis that the people had gradually destroyed their own island. Researchers predicted that the trees provided fuel wood, building material for houses and canoes, fruit to eat, fiber for clothing, and presumably logs to move the stone statues. Several anthropologists experimentally tested hypotheses by hiring groups of men to recreate the act of moving the statues from the quarries to the coastline. They used an...