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Challenging Easter Island's collapse: the need for interdisciplinary synergies

AuthorsRull, Valentí ; Cañellas-Boltà, Núria ; Sáez, Alberto; Margalef, Olga ; Bao, Roberto; Pla-Rabes, S.; Valero-Garcés, Blas L. ; Giralt, Santiago
Research synergies
Easter Island
Ecological breakdown
Social collapse
Issue Date17-Dec-2013
PublisherFrontiers Media
CitationFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution 1 : 3 (2013)
AbstractThe reigning paradigm holds that Easter Island suffered a socio-ecological collapse (ecocidal or not) sometime in the last millennium, prior to European contact (AD1720). We discuss some novel paleoecological and archaeological evidence that challenges this assumption. We use this case study to propose a closer collaboration between archaeology and paleoecology. This collaboration allows us to unravel historical trends in which both environmental changes and human activities might have acted, alone or coupled, as drivers of ecological and social transformations. We highlight a number of particular points in which scholars from disparate disciplines, working together, may enhance the scope and the soundness of historical inferences. These points are the following: (1) the timing of the initial Easter Island colonization and the origin of the settlers, (2)the pace of ecological and social transformations since that time until the present, and (3) the occurrence of potential climate-human synergies as drivers of socio-ecological shifts.
Description5 páginas, 2 figuras.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2013.00003
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