Friday, March 10, 2006

Did humans decimate Easter Island on arrival?



'The first humans may have arrived on Easter Island several centuries later than previously supposed, suggests a new study. If so, these Polynesian settlers must have begun destroying the island's forests almost immediately after their arrival. Easter Island has often been cited as the classic example of a human-induced ecological catastrophe. The island – one of the most remote places on Earth – was once richly forested, but settlers cut the forests, partly to use the wood in construction of the massive stone statues and temples for which the island is famous. When Dutch sailors arrived in 1722, they found a starving population on a barren island...' More

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