Another theory suggests that these gigantic statues could actually be moved around – with the help of ropes and a huge amount of people. With enough manpower the statue could be moved back and forth, creating the so-called ‘walking effect’. A Hawaiian anthropologist and an archaeologist from California decided to put this theory to test – they built a statue, attached ropes to it, got some people, and tried moving the statue around. It worked!
The Moai statues met a sad end when around 1600 BCE the fragile ecosystem of the island began to crush, leaving the people with close to no resources. That’s when they began to topple the statues and transition from the Rapa Nui religion to the new birdman religion as with time only sea birds remained on the island, finding shelter on remote offshore rocks. The European intervention of 1838 along with a social collapse resulted in the last standing Moai statues getting toppled as well.