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Lessons from Easter Island | Carl Lipo | TEDxBermuda

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Anthropologist Dr. Carl Lipo says everything we thought about Easter Island’s famous collapsed civilization is wrong. He suggests Bermuda can learn lessons from that catastrophe about long-term survival on our own isolated, water-parched island.

Carl P. Lipo is currently an Associate Professor at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). He is part of the faculty of that forms the basis of a Program in Archaeology and he is a founding member of IIRMES, a multi-disciplinary institute for the study of materials, environments and society. At CSULB, Carl Lipo teaches classes in Introductory Archaeology, World Prehistory, Eastern North American Prehistory, Artifact Analysis, GIS, Statistics, Method and Theory, Foundations of Anthropology Field Research Design, Geophysical Techniques, and the Scientific Study of Origins. His research focuses on the use of evolutionary theory to generate scientific explanations about human cultural change in the archaeological record. He sees this focus as a critical challenge for the social sciences and our ability to be able to due this task vital to our future. Carl Lipo's perspective is fairly idiosyncratic to my background but lodged in the philosophy of science and evolutionary biology. It is possible to view some of his recent work (here) to see a little into how he thinks about the world. His recent studies include the development of theoretical models and the construction of methods for studying patterns of change caused by cultural transmission and the process of natural selection in cultural systems. In addition, he is interested in remote sensing to efficiently and non-destructively study the record. This work includes the use of magnetometry, resistivity, conductivity, thermal imagery and ground penetrating radar. Carl Lipo field research has taken him from the Mississippi river valley to Easter Island and from there to California and coastal Guatemala.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at