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Embargoed: Easter Island Agriculture Q&A | Newswise

What: Q&A with the author of an embargoed paper coming out June 21 at 2:00 PM ET in Science Advances

Who: Carl P. Lipo, PhD, Professor and Associate Dean, Binghamton University

When: June 17, 2024, 1:00 PM ET

Where: Newswise Live Zoom Room (address will be included in follow-up email)

Details: Join this virtual Q&A with Carl P. Lipo, PhD, Binghamton University, to discuss the upcoming embargoed paper about Easter Island agricultural and anthropology research. 

Media Register to Attend 

Reporters: if you cannot attend at the time of the event, but you would like to receive the video and transcript afterwards, please register to be added to the list and we will send you those materials as soon as they are available. 

VIDEO:https://vimeo.com/960729627/e82f399aad

TRANSCRIPT:

Newswise: Welcome to this Newswise live event. Today we have Dr. Carl Lipo from Binghamton University to talk about a research study coming out this Friday in the journal Science Advances. The contents of this discussion are under embargo, along with the press release and the paper under embargo until Friday, the 21st at 2pm Eastern time, at which point you can publish any articles about the study. And you’re welcome to use any of the comments from today’s q&a in your reporting. I’d like to introduce Dr. Lipo and ask the first question if you would kind of give us all a quick introduction to Easter Island and tell us how When Europeans first discovered Easter Island and encountered the Rapa Nui people, what conclusions did they draw about the history of the island at that time, that you’re now proposing some reconfiguration of our thinking about all that? 

Lipo: Easter Island, or as it’s known by the people who live there, Rapa Nui, is an island that is really full of surprises. It’s full of surprises today, if you go there, you’ll encounter, you know, a population living in the island that are descended from ancient people who got there many centuries ago, but it was a surprise to the first Europeans that arrived there in the 17th century. It’s an island that’s 1000s of miles away from the coast of South America, 1000s of miles away from any other speck of land, Tahiti, the Austral islands, et cetera. And it’s very tiny. It’s only about 14 by seven miles across. It’s a very isolated island, really, out in the remote part of the eastern Pacific the island. Part of the surprise there is that first people were living on the island, and that was quite a surprise to Jacob Roggeveen, the Dutch captain who first arrived there in 1722, and so all the other Europeans that arrived there as well. But what they found, not only were there people there, but gigantic statues. Nearly 1000 of these colossal monuments known as Moai are found across the island. What makes this surprising is that when Europeans got there, there were people living on that one, but not that many, just a couple of 1000 people. But yet, these hundreds and hundreds of these statues, the sort of incongruity of what people were seeing there, and the archeological record that they encountered really led people to wonder, what, how did this happen? How did this occur? And a lot of the assumptions that Europeans made at the time was the fact that there must have been more, a lot more people living on the island at one point, because it, from their perspective, it would have taken 1000s and 1000s of people in order to construct and move these gigantic monuments. So one of the questions we were starting to ask is, well, was this really true? Were there really that many people on the island? Could the island support many 1000s of people? This narrative has gone into sort of a reconstruction, where people assume that there must have been maybe 10s of 1000s of people on the island, and at some point in the past, that population collapsed, leading to sort of a destroyed environment with very few people. We really wanted to look at that story in detail, to look at the evidence that supported whether the island could, in fact, support such a large people. So yeah, so this, this surprising Island, really still invites a lot of new investigations to figure out what happened there. 

Newswise: And so you did this study and analyzed the landscape of the island to identify agricultural areas. So tell us what this suggests about the reality of these pre colonial Rapa Nui and how they were able to feed themselves on this place.

Lipo: Certainly, what we know about the people, the pre contact people living on the island, is that they survived on a combination of marine resources. Certainly, fishing was an important part of their diet, and probably about 50% of what they’re eating, based on skeletal evidence. But we also know that they were growing crops, the crops that they had brought, plants that they brought with them from other parts of Polynesia to support themselves. And one of these key crops was probably the sweet potato, which was grown extensively across the island. What we really wanted to look at is, if we consider that, relatively speaking, the fish resources, the marine resources, were fairly fixed, how much terrestrial plants could, how much terrestrial food could be produced on the island to support a growing population. It’s the one sort of variable you can sort of adjust planting more things in order to produce more food that would support more people, and we really need to understand the sort of productivity of the soil in order to do that, because the soil itself, what we know about it is, is that it’s very poor in productivity, and that people had to amend the soils in a variety of different ways in order to make it productive enough to grow food. Primarily, this was done what’s through a technique called Rock mulch gardening, where people would break off pieces of bedrock and place them on the surface and into the soil in order to enrich it, adding minerals, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that allowed plants to reliably grow there, particularly sweet potato. So our goal there was to actually look at the distribution of this gardening process, this rock mulching, to figure out where on the island this activity was actually occurring, to try to get a sense of the magnitude of this agricultural technique, because that basically provided the limits of those terrestrial resources, the area covered with that but with rock mulching defined basically the areas that populations were able to exploit for growing food.

Newswise: We have a question here in the chat fromYuichiro. He asked the story of the population collapse is a bit biased toward Western, toward Western points of view. And could you please share your thoughts on the background of that controversy?

Lipo: It’s a great question. You know, Europeans, when they arrived to this island, are sort of bewildered by the fact that there’s spectacular statues and very few numbers of people, and they assume that in order to move those gigantic statues, there must have been much larger populations. And really, that’s a European perspective that the way we would have done it would have been to get lots and lots of people together to chip out these statues and drag them across the island, using lots and lots of resources in order to do so. And that story, sort of that that people made these statues and used up resources in order to do that begins with the first Europeans, Captain Cook, who arrives in the 1770s remarks that the island itself, the sort of denuded landscape, and the few number of people living on it at the time that they’re there, was due to what he calls the imprudence of the ancestors, and that the people themselves used up the resources leading to this sort of downfall and this collapse, a very European perspective on what must have happened. But that assumption that there must have been much larger people and something terrible happened to the island some point prior to European arrival, gets embedded into sort of the base narrative of the island and passed on generation after generation of European historians, archeologists, explorers, up until relatively recently, when the story becomes an ecological collapse narrative that’s been made famous as, well,l ”Easter Island collapse.” And what we’re finding from our research, and this is really research that has been collected over the past 20 to 15 years, is the fact that that narrative just isn’t true. That we are actually finding that populations lived on the island quite sustainably. It certainly was never an easy place to live, but people were able to figure out means of doing so, and lived within the boundaries of the capacity of the island up until European arrival. And what Europeans are seeing actually initially, when they first get there, is a very sustainable population living within what the resources they had available, and that what happens afterwards is a consequence of European introduction of diseases and other kinds of things that take place.

Newswise: Yuichiro also asks, in his understanding, his or her understanding, there is a report that the first Europeans witnessed rich vegetation in the island like bananas or potatoes. How do you take that, that account into account?

Lipo: That’s a great point. So Jacob Roggeveen in particular, are, you know, when he’s sailing off from visiting now, in the first European there, he writes in his sort of his log, that that Easter Island or Rapa Nui could be an earthly paradise, that, you know, a bit of tending to it, that it could provide lots of resources. Indeed, the earliest visitors were gifted bananas, chickens and other kinds of resources to the Europeans when they arrived there. And of course, as sailors, they’re looking for those kinds of resources. A lot of that sort of early abundance and sort of the welfare, the healthiness and sort of the vitality of the island gets forgotten later on in historic times, when people start to encounter a population that’s been deeply impacted by disease, slave raiding, whalers that are taking resources off the island, et cetera. So the story becomes much, much darker over the next 100 years, and it sort of tinges our sort of modern day understanding of the island.

Newswise: Another question from the chat Rhys Blakely with The Times of London asks, How many people did the island sustain, Do you think?

Lipo: Really good question. So it’s a challenge. Archeologists like to talk about populations, of course, understanding population sizes over time and how that changes, sort of a key dimension of historical events. But we don’t have a direct way of doing that. We have to sort of figure out from a variety of different sources, sort of indirectly. From the initial observations, Europeans encounter about 3000 people. And of course, from a European perspective, when they first get there, they assume that 3000 people is a depopulated Island, and that there must have been many, many more. What we’re finding archaeologically is the fact that 3000 is probably around the sustainable population size of the island given the kind of subsistence strategies that they were doing. So now, when we look at, you know what, and that’s from the historic observations, one of the goals of our research here was to look at the distribution of this mulch gardening, and looking at the productivity that it could, the ability of that land to grow sweet potatoes, to try to figure out how much food could be grown to support how many people.  And what we came down to when we did our analysis is, in fact, a likely number is about 3000 exactly the number that Europeans encounter when they get there. I guess this is a figure of the distribution of mulch gardening. Our study was basically an empirical one to look at in detail the patterning of this rock mulch gardening across the island. Previous studies had estimated that the island was covered fairly covered with mulch gardening, which led to estimates of up to 16,000 people. And we weren’t sure that this was correct. We really, one of the things we’ve learned about Rapa Nui is that there are a lot of stories and a lot of sort of narratives that people have and assumptions about the nature of the island, and what the island really requires is a detailed empirical study where you actually go there and look for yourself to figure out whether what’s actually there, in our analysis, which uses satellite imagery, shortwave infrared from a satellite demonstrated that, in fact, those estimates of rock mulch gardening were vastly overestimated, and  it was much smaller. And then when our calculations in terms of how much food those could produce, really is what we ended up with, a population about 3000

Newswise: Doris from inverse asks, What unique benefit did the satellite technology provide for people doing this kind of research in the past, and how does that compare with how you’ve incorporated it into your study? 

Lipo: Traditionally, archeologists go out to the field and walk around and map things. I mean, that’s, you know, certainly my background and what most archeologists do. But whenever we can get an overhead look from space or from UAVs or other kinds of aerial platforms, we can get, you know, a large view across a wide area. And for doing something that’s Island scale, we really needed to use remote sensing techniques. So the satellite imagery, you know as satellites, have changed their sensors in terms of the kinds of things that they image in terms of the resolution that they provide, enable us to look at some attributes of the ground closely related to productivity. In this particular case, the shortwave IR provided us an ability to look at areas of rock that also created moist soils, which would have been key for organic productivity. So satellite imagery really enabled us to produce an island wide estimate of rock mulch where a field study would have taken years, if not decades, of walking around to map these things. 

Newswise: From Jennifer at Ars Technica, she asks, How does this build on your prior research, especially the 2020 study that you did in terms of accumulating evidence about this counter-”Easter Island collapse” hypothesis?

Lipo: Yeah, so. So you know, each study that we do, sort of looking at details, in terms of locations of freshwater, which was part of 2020, looking at the chronologies exactly when statues were ah, these platforms were being constructed. When did they stop being constructed? And now looking at the district, spatial distribution of mulch. Gardening really provides, you know, different pieces of the puzzle that go into understanding the overall chronology and settlement patterns of the island. You know, we’re, of course, our narrative, sort of, our understanding of this is evolving over time. And, you know, it runs counter to a lot of commonsensical and current themes, but we want to do that in a very empirically grounded way. So we really need to everything we want to claim. We want to make sure that we have the empirical basis to make that claim, so that we’re not stuck with the idea that, while we just said that that was true, we really wanted to show that, in fact, indeed it is. So this piece really builds on that, to really understand the limits of the terrestrial food production, in combination to other resources that islanders use, which in particular, another area of our focus is fresh water, drinking water for communities.

Newswise: Follow up question from Yuichiro, it seems that your paper and other articles have conceded that maybe deforestation was a factor to a certain extent. Certainly, he’s curious to know what, to what level do you think that that was part of it?

Lipo: So, you know, one of the interesting aspects about the collapse narrative is the argument that, well, which it’s true that there wasn’t a forest on the island. There were trees that covered the island, just some in some combination. We don’t know exactly the, exactly the nature of the forest, but certainly from the pollen evidence and other kinds of fossil evidence, we know that the island had a lot of trees at one point prior to humans arriving there, and that over time, as once humans get there, the forest disappears, and that by the time Europeans arrive, there’s vegetation. There’s probably palm trees. We do get European accounts of some palm trees, but basically the islands deforested from what it used to be. Now the assumption, you know, from a European perspective, is the loss of that vegetation was an ecological catastrophe, that once you lose the trees, you lose lots of valuable resources, soil, things that protect the soil from erosion, you lose a lot of the ability to support the populations there, and that was what sort of triggered this downfall of the population, this loss of the forest. But what we found is that the trees themselves don’t seem to have a strong economic value. That would have led them to be a key resource for population survival. These are palm trees, which do not make you can’t make them into canoes, long distance voyaging canoes or fishing canoes. They don’t have while they produce palm nuts. There’s also the Polynesians introduced tree rats, which ate the palm nuts, so they don’t seem to have a strong key dimension to the survival of the communities on the island. Instead, they’re actually a barrier to the ways in which people actually were able to produce food for their survival, which is clearing the forest to enable to grow sweet potatoes. So in fact, the loss of the forest is likely a transformation of the island from something that couldn’t support many people into something that was able to support this 3000 population, 3000 people on the island that the opposite is true from what is typically claimed, that the loss of the forest is actually a transformation into a human supporting landscape.

Newswise: Follow up question, we have Alana Bouvard from Le Blob and Science Actualite, sounds like she must be a reporter from somewhere French speaking. So her question is that lots of history does suggest that it’s Europeans that caused the decimation of the Rapa Nui, rather than this so-called ecological collapse. So in light of contemporary accounts of that being a factor, Why do you think that this ecological collapse narrative still prevailed?

Lipo: So, yeah, two parts of that question. Yes, I think you know populations, we don’t see demographic change, sort of decline in populations prior to Europeans arrival. I mean all the evidence, which includes genetics, archeological, chronological, shows a continuous growth of populations until some sort of plateau is reached where the island is basically supporting the populations it’s going to provide. We see a decline in things after Europeans arrive. And certainly that’s a function of the things that Europeans bring with them, particularly disease, but all the other disruptions that go along with European arrival. So this, that’s pretty clear, and we can, we can look at the historic evidence, the historic accounts, the census, and see the decline of people over the period of time. We can actually see the falling of statues that were once standing fall over the time, all after the arrival of Europeans. So we can really see this falling apart of the island in a historic fashion, which is really the actual collapse of the island, per se. I think, you know, I think this has become more and more accepted. You know, people have had to give up a lot of their assumptions about what must have happened in pre contact times and really look at the archeological, archeological evidence. But over time, people started to accept that. But yet, the ecological story still persists, and we see that a lot in ecologists. You know, one of the things that inspired us to do this particular study is the fact that ecologists often continue to use Rapa Nui as a case study for collapse and sort of ecological failure, and they use it in modeling, and they use it for policy setting, over and over again, which we think is really misguided, that Easter Island is a great case of how populations adapt to limited resources on a very finite place, and that and how they did so sustainably, we don’t think it’s a good model to be used as an example of collapse that then we apply to other places around the world or even our own future, that we can’t use this island. And there are many cases in which we can look at collapse, but Easter Island or Rapa Nui is not one of them. And I think that’s really an important factor that gives credit to the Rapa Nui people, their ancestors and sort of the ingenuity they had for surviving on this island. And it points to places. If we’re going to understand collapse in those narratives, let’s make sure it’s at places where this actually occurred, so that we can draw meaningful understanding that we can then apply to our own future.

Newswise: Rhys, at the Times of London, asks, what are the implications of your findings for how the Moai were built, and is it, is it considered that a relatively small group of people focused a lot of their resources to create these statues. And can we speculate what that might have looked like? 

Lipo: Certainly, you know, if, so, if we get rid of the idea that there were 10s of 1000s of people, you know, with huge armies moving statues around, we’re forced to confront the fact that it was probably small groups of people working in a collaborative fashion to move the statues. So we need to really understand the nature of that technology that enabled them to do that without huge numbers of people. Our own work has done that, and we’ve looked at oral traditions as well as sort of the physics of moving statues, and looking at statues that have been have been moved across the island, and we have evidence that really points to the fact that the statues were moved in a standing position and they were walked across the island. Very counterintuitive to think about moving a 30 to 40 to 50 ton statue in a standing, walking fashion, somewhat like a refrigerator. But in fact, when you look at the physics and the technology involved with carving the statues, it’s very consistent with the idea that these were moved this way and then sometimes failed during the process of transportation. Now what’s ingenious about this particular mode of transportation is that it was done in a way that enabled them to do that with the least amount of effort, the fewest number of people, the fewest amount of resources, and a way in which the energy, in terms of the transport, was actually sustained in the movement because it wasn’t lost to friction. So there’s a whole nother story, the whole research area on why that’s the case. But what we really do know is that it was done in an ingenious way that really was within the bounds of what populations were able to do. We also know that pop these statues weren’t being made in Construct, made and transported by an island wide sort of factory. Instead, these were small groups of people, probably clans, family groups, working cooperatively together simultaneously at the quarry and moving them on as individual groups. What we have is lots of different communities, all participating in statue, transport and construction and working in a, both cooperative way, also competitively between them, to move the statues across the island. And there are about 600 statues moved out of the quarry in different areas, but this was all done sort of simultaneously by these different groups.

Newswise: Do you think there’s a link between this process and culture of doing the rock mulching and the then carving of these statues? It seems that if a society became proficient at breaking up and excavating bedrock to use in their gardens, that they probably also found pieces that they might like to make statues of, does that sound plausible?

Lipo: Well, certainly we, you know, when you look at visiting the island, is really always impressive, because you see carving and manufacturing of different kinds of things out of rock. And, you know, everywhere you look, and certainly people on the island were very capable of shaping rocks in every possible way you can imagine, which led them to the statues themselves. They were very familiar with it because it was the key resource for survival. The nutrients embedded in those rocks really enabled them to reach their soil as well as to express themselves culturally, it was sort of a key resource, one that was abundant on the island in a place which didn’t have a lot of alternatives to that. And you know, 14 by seven miles doesn’t give you a lot of different things you can do with but they made the most out of what they had. And certainly there’s a linkage that you know, that this ingenuity of carving and manipulating rocks and understanding of the pro there’s properties were something that’s really clearly embedded in their culture.

Newswise: Another question from Yuichiro, from Kyodo news, do you think that the 80% accuracy of the AI judgments is high enough taking into account the uncertainty that stems from this method. And, how did you come to that number?

Lipo: It’s a great question. You know, like all these studies, there’s always an error term attached to them. 80% accuracy suggests that we can need to continue to do more sampling and more measurements and more evaluation, but it’s large enough to the evidence that we got to really point to the fact that the initial estimates about the land surface use was really overblown, and that we were finding very consistently, a much smaller subset of the island being dedicated to This rock mulch. So like all things in archeology, each sort of, each piece, each finding, is a stepping stone towards a continuous reevaluation of the evidence that will continue to do additional studies, bringing in, for example, higher resolution imagery using sort of low elevation drones with different kinds of sensors, looking forward to new kinds of satellites that are out there, which will enable us to continue to dial in exactly this, the distribution of Rock mulch. But the important thing here is that the order of magnitude that was estimated before was really greatly exaggerated, and it’s much smaller.

Newswise: Did this technique of using the artificial intelligence to assist in identifying these possible areas, I’m guessing, and tell me if this is right, that this was able to detect areas that by just human eye you might not have known, would be an appropriate place for this?

Lipo: Absolutely, in two senses of that. First, you know, walking across the ground, you’ve got eye level, eyeballs on the rocks themselves, and sort of a limited ability to assess the landscape that’s covered with grass and other kinds of vegetation. Having an eye, you know, an eye from the sky, from satellite imagery, gives us a top down look at that, which really gets rid of all of the local sort of grassland vegetation to look systematically across the entire island surface at the same time using things that are beyond what the eye can see. You know, beyond the red, green and blue, looking into the shortwave infrared bands enable us to look at features associated with mulch gardening, that you wouldn’t be able to see yourself. And primarily these things. The shortwave IR gives us information about moisture, which is really a key part to productive field areas. Areas without moisture would likely be bedrock, broken rock, but immediately on top of bedrock, which wouldn’t actually be mulch gardens, but might look like that from the ground if you’re walking around. So this is really able enabled us to see things that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to see by being on the ground.

Newswise: If any of the media have further questions, I’ve chatted the contact information for Ryan at Binghamton University, State University of New York, can help you get further questions to Dr Lipo. And if I could just offer one final question, if we don’t have any others from the media and the audience. Tell us, why do you think that this is important in terms of deconstructing and decolonizing our sense of history, where these sorts of maybe knee jerk reactions of European colonial people making these stories to fit their narrative? Why is it important to do that today?

Lipo: Well, I think, you know, a lot of,  I think there’s a lot to learn about human survival and human existence by studying the past. I mean, we often think the past is sort of this quaint story about things that happened that are no longer relevant. But when we look at sort of the history of humans, I think it’s important to recognize that the successes of what people did in the past are really what led us to be here today and be able to even do these kinds of studies, and that we have a lot to learn from them. So I think there’s a lot of surprising things to learn from them that we need to be able to look at in their own right, in their own context, by looking at the details. When we bring our preconceptions from the present and apply them to the past, we’re really not learning anything. We’re just taking our sort of assumptions about the way the world is and then plastering them on the past, which I don’t think does justice to the array of ingenuity, the array of variability, the different ideas that were actually expressed by our ancestors. They were able to figure things out in ways that aren’t going to be obvious to us with living in constraints that were certainly more serious than many of the things that we face today. I mean, an island like this, 14 by seven miles without any alternatives there, they had to figure out how to survive every single day, producing food and getting water and the other resources they needed, despite the fact there were simply no other alternatives for them to turn to when things got tough. I think there’s a lot to learn about how they did that, and those lessons, I think, are important for us to understand so that we can apply them to the future. The way in which the communities were organized, the way in which they cooperated as well as competed with one another, I think are important ingredients for how people can survive in a limited landscape with very limited options. They’re counterintuitive, which I think really points into the fact that they’re counterintuitive because they’re not aligned with our assumptions about the way things have to be. We often assume there must be large, top down organization telling people what to do. But in fact, community scale organizations, small scale groups, working together, can produce very stable and valuable solutions to really tough problems, like living on an island that’s so remote and so isolated.

Newswise: Another question from Kristen with Live Science, asking how this work builds on your previous research that someone else also mentioned, and changing our thinking about this collapse narrative. Does this give further insight into the true reason why the population declined?

Lipo: I think so. I mean, I think what we’re, what we’re trying to do is isolate all the possible things that people can say to sort of cling to this ecological collapse narrative. You know, we’ve, we’ve argued a number of different papers that the that one the chronological information points of the fact there’s continuity and popular inconsistency and population growth from the arrival of people up until past European arrival. We’ve looked at historic accounts of population sizes and tried to estimate use those as an insight into what past populations were. We’ve looked at the archeological the distribution of archeological remains across the island in terms of houses, you know, Moai, gardening, other kinds of things, and consistently find that the population, you know, populations, were distributed across the island, but relatively low density everywhere they were, leading to an overall population that wasn’t very high. But yet there still exists this idea that, well, maybe there could have been more people on the island, and that the fact that an argument said that the island could support 16,000 people in a somewhat recent study suggested that we really need to look at that in detail, all those if all those other lines of evidence, you know, could be sort of suggest point us in the right direction. But if the island could have supported a lot more people, then why didn’t it support more people? So we need to really look at that to say, like, look, no, the island actually could never really have supported 16,000 people and just didn’t have the didn’t have the productivity to do. So I think this really, one by one, ideally points the fact that this, this pre European collapse narrative, simply has no basis in the archeological record, in the geologic nature of the landscape, in the resources that were there, in the historic accounts, in every aspect of the island, we just do not see evidence of that narrative. And so hopefully we can move on, because I think there’s far more interesting stories about how people thrived on the island, how they sustained themselves on the island, and how we can learn from that going forward. And I think these are important lessons for ourselves. Lessons for ourselves. Certainly they’re important for Rapa Nui people, I mean, as they’re looking for their lives and their future, their livelihood under climate change and all the things that may happen as a result of that, they really need to have a good understanding of the way in which the constraints their ancestors lived in on the island so that can guide their future as well. So I think there’s lots of different areas which I think, which, really understanding this post-collapse narrative is really much more important, and now hopefully we can move on from there.

Newswise: One other question from Rhys at the Times of London, is there a risk that you’re influenced by our own cultural narratives? And how do we make sure that we’re not?

Lipo:Absolutely I mean, as you know, all knowledge is culturally generated, right? So it’s all questions we asked within our framework that we then go out and assess the world with. So we’re always aware of that in and we don’t want to just be telling just another story that then someone else is going to say, Oh, well, there’s the different story and all the stories are equal. What we’ve tried to do is identify things that must necessarily be true. If indeed, our claims are consistent with the archaeological record, and continue to look at that iteratively over and over again. So we’re really trying to say, if we’re going to make a claim, we need to really back it up with the evidence and assess that over and over again, from as many different directions as possible. And that’s what we’re continuing to do. I mean, so people may say, Well, what’s new about this? I think that the answer that is, well, it’s yet another piece of evidence that we’ve ruled out and shown that, in fact, there isn’t support for these alternative stories. If there were then we would have ourselves we would have to rethought our own thinking, to try to accommodate that. But we want to continue to do that iterative process, which is just good science, to make sure that we’re building you know, falsifiable, empirical knowledge that we can use for going forward in the future.

Newswse: Thank you so much for joining us today to share this fascinating research. Reminder again for the media on the call. This is under embargo until Friday the 21st at 2pm. Eastern US time. So please hold off on any publications about this until that time. I’ve chatted there, Ryan’s contact information at Binghamton University, he can help you with further follow up questions that you might have. And with that, I will say thank you to everyone for joining today. Thank you, Dr. LiPo for for joining us to talk about your work and very, very interesting, fascinating story. Thank you so much. Thank you. Have a great day everyone. Namaste and good luck.



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