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Groundbreaking Research Sheds Light On Ancient Mystery (Easter Island)
Rochester Instityute Of Technology ^ | 8-31-2005 | Will Dube

Posted on 09/19/2005 4:36:30 PM PDT by blam

Release Date: Aug. 31, 2005
Contact: Will Dube
(585) 475-4954 or wjduns@rit.edu

Groundbreaking Research Sheds Light on Ancient Mystery

RIT researcher creates new population model to help predict and prevent societal collapse

A researcher at Rochester Institute of Technology is unraveling a mystery surrounding Easter Island. William Basener, assistant professor of mathematics, has created the first mathematical formula to accurately model the island’s monumental societal collapse.

Between 1200 and 1500 A.D., the small, remote island, 2,000 miles off the coast of Chile, was inhabited by over 10,000 people and had a relatively sophisticated and technologically advanced society. During this time, inhabitants used large boats for fishing and navigation, constructed numerous buildings and built many of the large statues, known as Tiki Gods, for which the island is now best known. However, by the late 18th century, when European explorers first discovered the island, the population had dropped to 2,000 and islanders were living in near primitive conditions, with almost all elements of the previous society completely wiped out.

“The reasons behind the Easter Island population crash are complex but do stem from the fact that the inhabitants eventually ran out of finite resources, including food and building materials, causing a massive famine and the collapse of their society,” Basener says. “Unfortunately, none of the current mathematical models used to study population development predict this sort of growth and quick decay in human communities.”

Population scientists use differential equation models to mimic the development of a society and predict how that population will change over time. Since incidents like Easter Island do not follow the normal progression of most societies, entirely new equations were needed to model the outcome. Computer simulations using Basener’s formula predict values very close to the actual archeological findings on Easter Island. His team’s results were recently published in SIAM Journal of Applied Math.

Basener will next use his formula to analyze the collapse of the Mayan and Viking populations. He also hopes to modify his work to predict population changes in modern day societies.

“It is my hope this research can be used to create a better understanding of past societies,” Basener adds. “It will also eventually help scientists and governments develop better population management skills to avert future famines and population collapses.”

Basener’s research was done in collaboration with David Ross, visiting professor of mathematics at the University of Virginia, mathematicians Bernie Brooks, Mike Radin and Tamas Wiandt and a group of RIT mathematics students.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: akuaku; ancient; archaeoastronomy; easter; easterisland; ecuador; godsgravesglyphs; groundbreaking; heyerdahl; history; island; jareddiamond; light; longears; megaliths; mystery; rapanui; research; rongorongo; sheds; thorheyerdahl
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1 posted on 09/19/2005 4:36:34 PM PDT by blam
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To: SunkenCiv

GGG Ping.


2 posted on 09/19/2005 4:37:05 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam

NUMB3RS


3 posted on 09/19/2005 4:40:43 PM PDT by Publius6961 (Liberal level playing field: If the Islamics win we are their slaves..if we win they are our equals.)
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To: blam

I wonder if they will figure out how the people got there in the first place.


4 posted on 09/19/2005 4:41:52 PM PDT by FreePaul
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To: blam

Not sure what light has been shed here.


5 posted on 09/19/2005 4:42:15 PM PDT by somemoreequalthanothers (All for the betterment of "the state", comrade)
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To: blam
Population scientists use differential equation models

Indeed they do. Wolves and rabbits is one example, but in a closed system such as Easter Island or Greenland a few more variables would complicate the equation enough that a numerical solution might be the only feasible way.

6 posted on 09/19/2005 4:43:09 PM PDT by RightWhale (We in heep dip trubble)
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To: blam
“The reasons behind the Easter Island population crash are complex but do stem from the fact that the inhabitants eventually ran out of finite resources, including food and building materials, causing a massive famine and the collapse of their society,” Basener says.

How do you run out of food when your primary source is fish from the ocean? Is it possible a population this small could "over-fish" the area and deplete their resources?

7 posted on 09/19/2005 4:43:18 PM PDT by Bird Jenkins
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To: Bird Jenkins

Mainly, they ran out of timber.


8 posted on 09/19/2005 4:44:21 PM PDT by RightWhale (We in heep dip trubble)
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To: blam
It will also eventually help scientists and governments develop better population management skills

These are certainly "skills" I don't want MY governemnt to have!

9 posted on 09/19/2005 4:44:58 PM PDT by the_Watchman
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To: blam

"Basener will next use his formula to analyze the collapse of the Mayan and Viking populations."

I can't address Mayans, but I would hardly say the Vikings "collapsed."

Vikings named "Russia"; conquered France, Italy, and England.

In north America, they retreated rather than engage in battle when outnumbered (by Skraelings).

They now have some of the highest measured "standards of living."


10 posted on 09/19/2005 4:45:00 PM PDT by truth_seeker
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To: Alamo-Girl

ping


11 posted on 09/19/2005 4:46:44 PM PDT by timestax
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To: blam

I love so many of your post thanks


12 posted on 09/19/2005 4:48:00 PM PDT by not-alone
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To: truth_seeker

Maybe he means the Greenland Colony.


13 posted on 09/19/2005 4:48:52 PM PDT by Andy'smom
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To: blam
...inhabitants used large boats for fishing... the inhabitants eventually ran out of finite resources, including food...

Too bad the Pacific Ocean ran out of fish.

14 posted on 09/19/2005 4:52:05 PM PDT by Rudder
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To: blam
Too bad the Pacific ocean ran out of fish.

(the text of my previous post disappeared somehow.)

15 posted on 09/19/2005 4:54:34 PM PDT by Rudder
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To: Rudder

Burp!!! (excuse me)


16 posted on 09/19/2005 4:56:26 PM PDT by Rudder
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To: truth_seeker

I thought they determined that Vikings conquered and then colonized with their families, so that they didn't really collapse but instead simply spread out.


17 posted on 09/19/2005 5:02:37 PM PDT by skr
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To: blam

Easter Island went straight to hell after they found out how to open the hatch leading straight down into the Lost Well of Doom.


18 posted on 09/19/2005 5:03:52 PM PDT by Travis McGee (--- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com ---)
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To: blam

Interesting. Does this explain where the tiki bar came from, I wonder.


19 posted on 09/19/2005 5:05:01 PM PDT by Sam Cree (absolute reality - Miami)
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To: truth_seeker
I can't address Mayans, but I would hardly say the Vikings "collapsed."

I dunno...looked sure'nuff like the Vikings collapsed to me..this last Sunday.

20 posted on 09/19/2005 5:06:14 PM PDT by Osage Orange (Why does John McCain always look like a mule eating cockleburs?)
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To: FreePaul
I wonder if they will figure out how the people got there in the first place.

Boats?

21 posted on 09/19/2005 5:13:47 PM PDT by ordinaryguy
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To: blam
with almost all elements of the previous society completely wiped out


22 posted on 09/19/2005 5:15:13 PM PDT by TonyInOhio (Would I lie to you?)
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To: RightWhale
"Mainly, they ran out of timber."

Yup. Couldn't build boats or paddles to go fishing and couldn't cook the fish once caught. Drift wood must have been very valuable.

23 posted on 09/19/2005 5:20:54 PM PDT by blam
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To: Bird Jenkins
Is it possible a population this small could "over-fish" the area and deplete their resources?

No timber, no boats.

Don't know about you, but I never caught much in the surf.

24 posted on 09/19/2005 5:24:48 PM PDT by pierrem15
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To: FreePaul

"I wonder if they will figure out how the people got there in the first place."

After that Tsunami, they found a guy drifting on a coconut tree thousands of miles from where he started. He lived on the coconuts!


25 posted on 09/19/2005 5:30:27 PM PDT by spanalot
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To: the_Watchman
"It will also eventually help scientists and governments develop better population management skills"

26 posted on 09/19/2005 5:36:05 PM PDT by Bratch
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To: blam

Sounds like the 2000 had no clue about planting new trees, farming or fishing. The 20% of their 10,000 were not the doers, but the welfare types of their culture I guess.


27 posted on 09/19/2005 5:38:10 PM PDT by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: truth_seeker

well said, indeed re: the Vikings.

I have a hard time reducing the investigating of ancient civilizations to a mathematical equation, seems so cold...but then again, I'm no scientist, just an amateur interested in these things.


28 posted on 09/19/2005 5:42:45 PM PDT by SueRae
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To: Bird Jenkins
It's possible they ran out of "boats" first. At the same time, it's possible the area underwent a minor change in climate that wiped out the forested areas, and the fish.

Stuff happens!

29 posted on 09/19/2005 5:46:02 PM PDT by muawiyah (/ hey coach do I gotta' put in that "/sarcasm " thing again?)
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To: truth_seeker
I think he's talking about the Medieval Viking settlements in Greenland.

Then there was a famine in 1811/12 in the far North, and that population crashed ~ thousands of people moved South or to America. Later on there were more widespread droughts that affected most or all of Europe, and more tens of thousands of people moved out, or died.

The 19th Century saw several serious depopulation events in Europe.

In the end we find 90% of the descendants of the populations located in the Celtic Fringe in America, Canada, South America or Australia. Half the people of Swedish ancestry live in the United States, mostly in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Washington The Danes moved to Ohio, Indiana and Illinois (to raise pigs). Probably a full third of the Germans in this world reside in the American Midwest and Pennsylvania.

This fellow's mathematics will probably prove useful in determining what percentages of a population have to be under stress from inadequate food to decide to emigrate.

30 posted on 09/19/2005 5:51:12 PM PDT by muawiyah (/ hey coach do I gotta' put in that "/sarcasm " thing again?)
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To: spanalot

Brudder bought a coconut, he bought it for a dime,
His sister had anudder one she paid it for a lime.
She put de lime in de coconut, she drank 'em bot' up
She put de lime in de coconut and called de doctor, woke 'im up.

And said, "Doctor, ain't there nothin' I can take?'
I said, "Doctor, to relieve this belly ache."
I said "Doctor, ain't there nothin' I can take?"
I said, "Doctor, now lemme get this straight,

You put the lime in the coconut, you drink 'em bot'up,
Put the lime in the coconut, you drink 'em bot' up,
Put the lime in the coconut, you drink 'em bot' up,
Put the lime in the coconut. You're such a silly woman.


31 posted on 09/19/2005 6:01:23 PM PDT by FroedrickVonFreepenstein
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To: SueRae
I have a hard time reducing the investigating of ancient civilizations to a mathematical equation,

I don't think they can figure out how they transported and erected the huge stone heads, let alone determine the nature of the civilization. He/they may be right about the eventual outcome, however, as their society may have de-evolved over time and they lost their technology.

32 posted on 09/19/2005 6:07:57 PM PDT by somemoreequalthanothers (All for the betterment of "the state", comrade)
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To: blam
Basener will next use his formula to analyze the collapse of the Mayan and Viking populations. He also hopes to modify his work to predict population changes in modern day societies.

Harri Seldon has been born.

33 posted on 09/19/2005 6:11:43 PM PDT by Lazamataz (Islam is merely Nazism without the snappy fashion sense.)
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To: blam

What’s so hard to figure it out. It’s simple. The Liberals took over. This has been shown time & time again.


34 posted on 09/19/2005 6:11:51 PM PDT by quietolong
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To: truth_seeker

The Vikings colonized the Faeroe Islands, Iceland, and Greenland, founded Dublin, and conquered the Isle of Man and the Hebrides and Orkneys. They didn't conquer all of France or Italy, but they did rule Normandy and southern Italy and Sicily. The settlements on Greenland eventually died out, about 500 years after they were started (longer than any English-speaking communities have existed in North America). And they did this all without coffee or chocolate.


35 posted on 09/19/2005 6:35:48 PM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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To: blam
The "Little Ice Age" came to an end. The Easter Islanders were victims of Global Warming.
36 posted on 09/19/2005 6:39:08 PM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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To: Verginius Rufus
"The "Little Ice Age" came to an end. The Easter Islanders were victims of Global Warming."

A high probability explanation.

37 posted on 09/19/2005 6:59:55 PM PDT by blam
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To: A CA Guy

Maybe the doers evacuated when they saw the impending disaster.


38 posted on 09/19/2005 7:07:17 PM PDT by ordinaryguy
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To: ordinaryguy

Yes, they probably saw you couldn't change the welfare types and rather risk life on the water in search of new land than face the criminal activity of those they left behind.

Could be, we don't know.


39 posted on 09/19/2005 7:13:26 PM PDT by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: Bird Jenkins
Red Tide? Change in the migratory patterns because of predators, storms, quakes, etc?
40 posted on 09/19/2005 7:26:39 PM PDT by Calvin Locke
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To: blam

Healthcare?


41 posted on 09/19/2005 7:28:39 PM PDT by woofie
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To: Calvin Locke

Red Tide sounds like a very realistic and reasonable theory.


42 posted on 09/19/2005 7:29:41 PM PDT by hispanarepublicana (No amnesty needed...My ancestors proudly served. [remodel of an old '70s bumper sticker])
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To: blam; FairOpinion; Ernest_at_the_Beach; StayAt HomeMother; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; asp1; ...
Thanks Blam, although I regard this study as just another Malthusian wet-dream. Heyerdahl took an anthropological approach and followed that with an archaeological one. Of course, all of that is pooh-poohed by the most recent excavator. Heyerdahl's "Aku-Aku" tells the story as it was known in the 1950s.

One of the frustrations is, a Spanish expedition set out to find Easter Island based on information gathered from mainlanders (and that should make one wonder, how did they know if there was no going to and fro?) but the titular head of the expedition couldn't get the captain of the vessel to follow the directions given, as the captain believed they would sail off into nowhere and die horribly. Had they not diverged, odds are they would have arrived on Easter Island while the statues were still being built.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

43 posted on 09/19/2005 8:34:28 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Down with Dhimmicrats! I last updated by FR profile on Sunday, August 14, 2005.)
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To: Rudder

lol


44 posted on 09/19/2005 8:49:17 PM PDT by Peace Is Coming
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To: Travis McGee
Easter Island went straight to hell after they found out how to open the hatch leading straight down into the Lost Well of Doom.

how do you know of these things?

45 posted on 09/19/2005 9:08:31 PM PDT by timestax
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The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850 Floods, Famines, and Emperors: El Nino and the Fate of Civilizations The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization
The Little Ice Age:
How Climate Made History 1300-1850

by Brian M. Fagan
Paperback
Floods, Famines, and Emperors:
El Nino and the Fate of Civilizations

by Brian M. Fagan
The Long Summer:
How Climate Changed Civilization

by Brian M. Fagan

46 posted on 09/19/2005 9:20:13 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Down with Dhimmicrats! I last updated by FR profile on Sunday, August 14, 2005.)
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To: timestax

Watch "Lost" wednesday night, and we'll both find out.


47 posted on 09/19/2005 9:31:04 PM PDT by Travis McGee (--- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com ---)
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To: timestax

Thanks for the ping!


48 posted on 09/19/2005 9:41:11 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: blam
Imagine a society almost wiped out because they were too proud to eat sushi.
49 posted on 09/19/2005 9:47:21 PM PDT by Hillarys Gate Cult ("Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong." - Ronald Reagan)
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To: spanalot

"He lived on the coconuts!"

Must have had *really* strong hands.


50 posted on 09/19/2005 11:27:24 PM PDT by dsc
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