In October 2012, researchers came up with the “walking” theory by creating a 5-ton replica of one of the statues (or “moai”), and actually moving it in an upright position, and have published a more thorough justification in the June issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science. If the statues were walked into place, then the islanders didn’t need to cut down the island’s palm trees to make way for moving the massive carvings, the researchers argue.
But not everyone in the field is convinced. While some experts find the demonstration persuasive, others think it’s unlikely the large statues could have been walked upright on the island’s hilly, rough terrain.
Story: Tia Ghose, Live Science | Photo: Carl Lipo