Easter Island, known as Rapa Nui by its inhabitants, has been surrounded in mystery ever since the Europeans first landed in 1722. Early visitors estimated a population of just 1,500-3,000, which seemed at odds with the nearly nine hundred giant statues dotted around the Island. How did this small community construct, transport and erect these large rock figures?From Science Daily.
According to a new study, this was possible because the island had a peak population of 17,500 people. The determination was based upon the number of people that island could support if it was farmed in accordance with the Austronesian farming practices used at the time.
The paper is:
Cedric O. Puleston, et al., "Rain, Sun, Soil, and Sweat: A Consideration of Population Limits on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) before European Contact." 5 Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (2017). DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2017.00069