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Center For Applied and Computational Mathematics

Population Dynamics of Ancient Civilizations

Easter Island Heads

Faculty: William Basener
 Bernard Brooks
 Michael Radin
 David Ross
 Tamas Wiandt

Summary:

We are studying human population dynamics using both differential equations and iterative models.  Some of the research projects investigate the collapse of ancient civilizations such as the population of Easter Island and the Maya. The models are founded in ecological economics. Our latest model, the Invasive Species Model, supports the hypothesis of archaeologist Terry Hunt that rats may have been responsible for the population collapse on Easter Island.

Publications:

  1. Spatial Effects and Turing Instabilities in the Invasive Species Model, W.F. Basener, B.P. Brooks, M. Radin, T. Wiandt, Accepted by Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology and Life Sciences, (2011).

  2. Rat Instigated Human Population Collapse on Easter Island, W.F. Basener, B.P. Brooks, M. Radin, and T.Wiandt, Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences 12 (2008), no. 3, 227-240.

  3. Dynamics of a Population Model for Extinction and Sustainability in Ancient Civilizations, W.F. Basener, B.P. Brooks, M. Radin, and T. Wiandt, Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences 12 (2008), no. 1, 29-54.

  4. Booming and Crashing Populations and Easter Island, W.F. Basener and D. Ross, SIAM J. Appl. Math. 65 (2004/05), no. 2, 684-701.
Population Dynamics

Media:

USA Today: Did Easter Island get 'ratted' out?

Collaborators:

Kevin Gonzales (Duke University)