It looks like we were wrong about the people that inhabited Easter Island, the Rapa Nui, according to a new study. This study suggests that its inhabitants did not exhausted the island’s resources as previously suggested, and it was discovered that the Rapa Nui probably even had a much more diverse diet and that they would be much more careful about their habitat than previously thought.
This conclusion was obtained through isotopic analyzes of carbon and nitrogen from bones and plants dating to as early as 1400 AD.
In 1722, when Europeans arrived on the island, they encountered a declining society which, according to reports from the time, would have used the local natural resources to exhaustion for several centuries to cope with the exponential growth of the island’s population, with the trees being chopped down at an incredible rhythm, without giving time for these to popularize the territory again.
But now an international team of archaeologists thinks they have discovered a new version of the story, and according to the analysis done on the biological remains of the Rapa Nui, about 50 percent of their food came from marine sources, and this is more than twice of the previously estimated.
In top of that, due to the level of nutrition detected, they believed that contrary to what was believed, the Rapa Nui had a somewhat more in-depth knowledge of agriculture, thus having much richer food support, which reveals that they were probably capable to adapt and survive in very hard conditions due to the environment.
It seems that after all, contrary to the story, the Rapa Nui were concerned with the environment and conserving natural resources, and the assessment made at the arrival by the Europeans was an assessment based on a comparison of the resource management used by them, and since the methods used by the Rapa Nui were different than in Europe, they considered that they did not know how to manage the island’s natural resources, and used them to exhaustion.