Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 12, Iss. 3, July, 2008, pp. 227-240
@2008 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


Rat Instigated Human Population Collapse on Easter Island

William Basener, Rochester Institute of Technology
Bernard Brooks, Rochester Institute of Technology
Michael Radin, Rochester Institute of Technology
Tamas Wiandt, Rochester Institute of Technology

Abstract: In this paper we develop an invasive species differential equations model for the population collapse on Easter Island. This model, motivated by recent archaeological results of T. Hunt, allows us to examine the role of rats in the collapse. In Hunt”s theory, the decline of resources was accelerated by Polynesian rats and not merely the result of the overuse by the island”s human population. Hunt uses archaeological data which suggests a different timeline for the settlement and the long term population dynamics of Easter Island. Our goal is to estimate the plausibility of Hunt”s hypothesis.

Keywords: Rapa Nui, population collapse, Hopf bifurcation