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Professor’s Easter Island Discoveries to be Featured on NOVA

Carl Lipo with 3D model of Rapa Nui

The Statues That Walked: Unraveling the Mystery of Easter Island, a new book by CSULB anthropology Professor Carl Lipo and co-author Terry Hunt from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, is the basis for a future NOVA/National Geographic TV special.

Lipo and Hunt’s examination of the origins of Easter Island (also called Rapa Nui), inhabitants and the monumental statues called moai differ from previous theories. Among their findings are that the island was settled much later than previously thought; that the island’s lush forests were destroyed primarily by rats from early settlers’ boats rather than by human activity; and that the moai actually were relatively easy to move by being rocked, similar to “walking” a piece of furniture.

"This is the statue we created for our walking experiment—using 3D modeling, and help from Max Beach and students in the Industrial Design department of CSULB," said Carl Lipo, left, with son Zachary.