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"There's actually places offshore where freshwater will be flowing," said Lipo."Fishermen will know you could scoop water right from this spot in the ocean and it will be fresh." Fresh water is also a limited resource on Easter Island.
Evidence from historical accounts of European visitors to the island verified this was also true at the time the early inhabitants lived.
Lipo and Broadman meticulously mapped out where those fresh water sources were located all around the island, and wherever they found fresh water pockets along the coast, they also found .
With his graduate student, co-author Tonya Broadman, Lipo decided to investigate whether the same thing might be happening there and discovered it was, based on the conductivity measurements they made of how salty the water was along the coasts.
"At low tide, when the saltwater's down, fresh water pours right out at the coast," he said.
(Fresh water also pools in craters on the island, forming lakes, but the archaeological evidence didn't support houses and villages in those areas.) They used a technique called quantitative spatial modeling to demonstrate that the pattern they observed was statistically sound, not just a matter of human perception.
They also applied their model to other natural resources to further test the hypothesis.Lipo and his team are heading back to Easter Island in May for more field work, since thus far they have only collected comprehensive freshwater data for the western portion of the island.A complete survey will hopefully shed even more light on why the inhabitants of Rapa Nui invested so much time and effort into building the .An earlier study found genetic traces of early inhabitants of the Americas in present-day indigenous residents of Easter Island.Those researchers posited that the intermixing most likely occurred between 12.Lars Fehren-Schmitz, associate professor of anthropology at UC Santa Cruz, presents his findings in a new paper published in the Oct. The team analyzed bone fragments from the ancient skeletal remains of five individuals that were excavated in the 1980s and became part of the Kon-Tiki Museum's collection in Oslo.Each sample, which had been used in a previous study, yielded less than 200 milligrams of material.' src="https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/easter3-640x381.jpg" width="640" height="381" srcset="https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/easter32x" alt='Top left) Rapa Nui in East Polynesia, (top right) locations of image- While working in Hawaii with a hydrogeologist, Lipo realized that fresh water is such a precious resource on an island, it can't help but have an impact on where people settle—and where they might place their statuary.The volcanic islands of Hawaii have an unusual feature, where fresh water flows down through the volcanic tubes into the ocean.on Easter Island for decades, pondering their cultural significance, as well as how a Stone Age culture managed to carve and transport statues weighing as much as 92 tons.They were typically mounted on platforms called ; they were likely being transported and never got to their destination.