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CHILE

Nov/Dec 2017

World Roundup ChileCHILE: The collapse of Rapa Nui’s (Easter Island) population is a long-standing mystery, often attributed to the loss of terrestrial food sources and overexploitation of natural resources. However, a new study shows that the islanders were actually able to adapt to the harsh ecological conditions. Analysis of human, faunal, and botanical remains dating to around 1400 indicates that marine sources comprised an unexpectedly large part of the islanders’ diet, and that they were also capable of manipulating the nutrient-poor soil to increase its fertility. —Jason Urbanus