View Full Version : How Easter Island's statues walked

06-20-2012, 08:51 AM
Did Easter Island's famous statues rock, or roll? After doing a little rocking out themselves, researchers say they're sure the natives raised the monumental figures upright, and then rocked them back and forth to "walk" them to their positions.

Their findings mesh with a scenario that casts the Polynesian island's natives in the roles of resourceful engineers working with the little that they had on hand, rather than the victims of a self-inflicted environmental catastrophe.

"A lot of what people think they know about the island turns out to be not true," Carl Lipo, an archaeologist at California State University at Long Beach, told me today.

Lipo and University of Hawaii anthropologist Terry Hunt lay out their case in a book titled "The Statues That Walked" (http://www.thestatuesthatwalked.com/The_Statues_That_Walked/Home.html) as well as July's issue of National Geographic magazine (http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/07/easter-island/bloch-text). Their story serves as a counterpoint to a darker Easter Island saga, detailed in "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed," (http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780143036555,00.html?Collapse_Jared_Diamond) a better-known book by UCLA scientist-author Jared Diamond.