One of the stranger, are you sure you have thought this through bits, was the piling on Jared Diamond based on Hunt and Lipo's new book (Eli will point to Judith Curry for giggles, Planet 3.0, and KK, oh never mind Eli prefers reliable sources for those who want their memory refreshed without leaving a bad taste from the author's whining.)
Much of it is deep in the weeds, e.g. were the statues moved by rollers (Diamond), sleds (Eli and Thor Hjerdahl) or refrigerator delivery guys (Hunt and Lipo) but that is a sideshow
and, of course sleds as several pointed out. Then what wiped out the palms, rats or people (or some combination). Interesting to sort out by archeologists, but not the serious part.
Pretty clear how you could roll the things downhill on their backs, but how do you do it standing up? (note the bit about uneven terrain, that means you are moving the damn things UPHILL for a fair and gut busting amount of time. While Eli has no experience moving 90 tons, the bunny has maneuvered a whole bunch of a ton like optical tables and without rolling it ain’t a whole lot of fun.)
So to move these things standing up you need strong ropes which you can get from palms (or other trees), and some sort of grease to put under the narrow base and a smooth road of some sort. Since there were not large animals on the island that throws you back on palm oil, or maybe oil from porpoises/wales. To get the sea creatures you need boats, which means wood and ropes to build ships. Otoh rounding logs with obsiden tools is not a walk in the park either.
What is the serious part? Mark Lynas touched it off, and the usual suspects, Peiser, Kloor, Curry and more piled onto Diamond claiming that his version of ecocide depopulating the island was a pile of wet spagh, but what dear readers, have the usual suspects embraced in the Hunt and Lipo version. Mark Lynas got it in one and was then submerged
So Kloor, Peiser, Curry and friends, in order to stick it to Jared Diamond, are arguing that Western "civilization" and its capitalist system are corrupt and genocidal. Well, that's what they said, who is Eli to disagree? (Now watch them try and throw Hunt and Lipo under the bus)
Falsely accusing the islanders of killing and eating each other is bad enough. But it gets worse. Whilst the conventional narrative blames the islanders for committing a kind of collective ecological and social suicide (hence the term ‘ecocide’) this reading of history is almost certainly perpetuating a monumental injustice. For the Easter Islanders were indeed subject to a genocide – but it did not come from within. Instead, visiting ships brought epidemics of new diseases which wiped out the majority of the population – with most of the remnants later carted off in slave raids.
It is grimly ironic that Jared Diamond, of all people, missed – or misread – this more realistic version of history, given that it forms the central thesis for his earlier and much more convincing book ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’. In this work, Diamond provides compelling evidence for how diseases unknown in the New World decimated whole populations, facilitating European invasion and setting the scene for appalling crimes committed against native populations from the silver mines of Potosi to Tenochtitlan.
So why could he not understand that the same thing happened at Easter Island? Hunt and Lipo again:
“For Rapa Nui, Fischer reports that of the approximately 1,500 Rapanui who were blackbirded to Peru, the vast majority died there. In the repatriation from South America to Polynesia, eighty-five of the survivors died at sea, leaving a mere dozen or so Rapanui who actually made it back home. Then in 1871, a majority of islanders left for Tahiti and Mangareva; and even in their neighboring islands of Polynesia, the Rapanui met with death in large numbers. By 1877, the native population on the island had reached its all-time recorded low of just 110. Through a series of disastrous encounters with foreign visitors, the Rapanui population had collapsed, rebounded, collapsed again, and then recovered to a degree, only to be ravished in slave raids.”
Nor was this the final insult. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the island was converted into a massive sheep ranch, with its surviving human population held in virtual captivity. The sheep converted it into a true ecological wasteland, eliminating the remaining smaller trees and causing large-scale soil erosion – for which the early Easter Islanders would once again later be blamed by latter-day environmentalists.