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Abstract

Bahn and Flenley (1992) suggested that the Rapanui provide a rare example of cultural suicide, in a scenario which had them exploiting their forest ecobase so heavily that they destroyed it, with ensuing resource shortage producing civil war, cannibalism, and a 70% reduction of the population. Others have popularized this interpretation (Ponting 1993; Gonick and Outwater 1996; Bush 1997) and despite criticism, Flenley (1998) stands by it, defending each of the aspects which has been questioned, and again suggesting Rapa Nui as an earnest for the world on the basis of the Club of Rome's latest findings (Meadows et al. 1992).

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