A scientific discovery may have shed new light on a decades-long mystery as to what happened to Amelia Earhart.
On May 20, 1937, Earhart and her crew took off from Oakland, CA and began their attempt to fly across the globe. However, on July 2 on their way to Howland Island in the Pacific, Earhart and her plane disappeared and were never seen again.
Her disappearance has resulted in continued speculation as to what exactly happened. The most common theory is that she died a castaway on a remote island after her plane crashed into the Pacific.
Richard Jantz is an emeritus anthropology professor at the University of Tennessee, and he argues that bones discovered on the Pacific island of Nikumaroro in 1940 were Earhart’s remains.
The forensic analysis of the bones in 1941 by Dr. David Hoodless concluded that the bones belonged to that of a male but Jantz believes otherwise.
“When Hoodless conducted his analysis, forensic osteology was not yet a well-developed discipline,” said Jantz. “Evaluating his methods with reference to modern data and methods suggests that they were inadequate to his task.”
Hoodless’ analysis was based on 19th-century forensic science and described the bones as possibly belonging to a “short, stocky muscular European” and had a height of 5 feet 5 inches.
Earhart was between 5’ 7” and 5’ 8” tall but Jantz says that Hoodless’ methods would lead to an underestimated height.
Jantz compared Hoodless’ measurements to data from 2,776 other people to draw his own conclusions. “This analysis reveals that Earhart is more similar to the Nikumaroro bones than 99 percent of individuals in a large reference sample.”
“This strongly supports the conclusion that the Nikumaroro bones belonged to Amelia Earhart,” he concluded.
Despite Jantz’s claims regarding the Nikumaroro bones, some modern scientists still support the Hoodless results. The bones were also lost not long after their study in 1941, making any new theory based on the bones impossible to prove.
It looks like one of the 20th century’s greatest unsolved mysteries will remain as such: a mystery.
Last year, a photograph emerged which many claimed to show that Earhart survived her crash. Read the full story in the next article below.