Skip to comments.Groundbreaking Research Sheds Light On Ancient Mystery (Easter Island)
Posted on 09/19/2005 4:36:30 PM PDT by blam
Release Date: Aug. 31, 2005
Contact: Will Dube
(585) 475-4954 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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 islands 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 Baseners formula predict values very close to the actual archeological findings on Easter Island. His teams 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.
Baseners 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.
I wonder if they will figure out how the people got there in the first place.
Not sure what light has been shed here.
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.
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?
Mainly, they ran out of timber.
These are certainly "skills" I don't want MY governemnt to have!
"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."
I love so many of your post thanks
Maybe he means the Greenland Colony.
Too bad the Pacific Ocean ran out of fish.
(the text of my previous post disappeared somehow.)
Burp!!! (excuse me)
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.
Easter Island went straight to hell after they found out how to open the hatch leading straight down into the Lost Well of Doom.
Interesting. Does this explain where the tiki bar came from, I wonder.
I dunno...looked sure'nuff like the Vikings collapsed to me..this last Sunday.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.