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NOVA Programs

NOVA | The Mystery of Easter Island

Watch Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 9pm on WMHT TV.

A remote, bleak speck of rock in the middle of the Pacific, Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, has mystified the world ever since the first Europeans arrived in 1722. How and why did the ancient islanders build and move nearly 900 giant statues, or moai, weighing up to 86 tons? And how did they transform a presumed paradise into a treeless wasteland, bringing ruin upon their island and themselves? NOVA explores controversial recent claims that challenge decades of previous thinking about the islanders, who have been accused of everything from ecocide to cannibalism. Among the radical new theories is that the islanders used ropes to “walk” the statues upright, like moving a fridge. With the help of an accurate 15-ton replica statue, a NOVA team sets out to test this high-risk, seemingly unlikely theory — serving up plenty of action and surprises in this fresh investigation of one of the ancient world’s most intriguing enigmas.

Can scientists unravel the mysterious phenomena that lurk between Earth and space?

NOVA scienceNOW News

Five Reasons to Eat Insects

Save room for bugs! They're the future of green cuisine.

Profile: Shaundra Daily

This software engineer and dancer found her groove teaching children about their emotional lives.

Nature follows one of the most fearless animals in the world: the honey badger.

PBS Nature News

Snow Monkeys: Field Guide: Life With Snow Monkeys

While following and filming a troop of snow monkeys, filmmaker Joe Pontecorvo was able to witness firsthand the distinct and charming personalities of these monkeys, as well as the ins and outs of ...

Snow Monkeys: Infographic: What’s on the Snow Monkey Menu

Japanese Macaques that inhabit Jigokudani or "Hell Valley" must stick to together and adapt to harsh weather to survive and thrive. When they’re not soaking in hot springs during chilly months, sno...

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