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Diamond's rebuttal pretty much says it all. Hawai'i has a ton of forest, even now, despite the rats. And humans. Somehow, they never got around to cutting it all down, though they were on their way at various points in history.

The situation in Indonesia is not surprising. They had a huge, failed project to drain all the peat bogs on Borneo, cut down the trees, and "develop" the place. They called it the "Mega Rice Project", and what is left now are massive fires and a devestated ecosystem. Go us! We really are ingenious!


We sure live up to that whole "wise ape" thing, huh?

Brian M

Or... another theory...

Maybe humans got to the island, and, because it's highly isolated (sort of like Jurassic Park... note foreshadowing), encountered VERY LARGE RATS. Maybe the rats forced the humans to build Rapa Nui (from the rat language meaning "stupid human tricks") to worship them (you know, like a Sphynx, but smaller). Unfortunately, since rats are omnivores, they eventually ate all the people, ending that party game, and, because rats suffer from stupid group think, they then ate all the trees, tried to swim off the island, and ended up as shark bait.

"OK, I've got a theory. All I need now is some evidence—any evidence will do!—to support it."


Anywhere But Here Is Better

Rapa Nui properly translates as Easter Bunny. It was that pesky wabbit who ate all the trees that ultimately resulted in the scoured landscape.

E.B. then jumped on a passing flying saucer and teamed up with Santa (anagram: Satan) and the Tooth Fairy (a.k.a. Winged Beast) to terrorize generations of little innocents tucked up in their beds.

Who needs facts when fiction is so easy?

The Practician

This line right here says it all:

"the settlers are best considered not as rapacious destroyers of the environment, but as ingenious workers who had to make the best of an unintended bad situation..."

So these Clowns are what passes for serious archeologists these days? Rats where eating all the trees and the islands "ingenious workers... made the best of an unintended bad situation." How, exactly? Using as much goddamn wood as they could transporting gigantic stone totems? Sounds to me like these two geniuses have been spending a few too many happy hours drinking pina coladas with the Economics faculty over there at the University of Hawaii.

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