BREAKING NEWS : Tornado warning issued for parts of Allen, Whitley and Huntington counties Full Story
BREAKING NEWS : Fort Wayne police investigate shooting on Sherman Boulevard Full Story
SEVERE WX : Severe Thunderstorm Watch - Severe Thunderstorm Warning View Alerts

New clues to Amelia Earhart's disappearance

Using new technology, a University of Tennessee professor claims that bones found in 1940 on an island in the Pacific Ocean belong to Amelia Earhart despite an analysis of the remains from that era that linked the bones to a man.

Posted: Mar 9, 2018 9:51 PM
Updated: Mar 9, 2018 9:53 PM

Bones found on a remote Pacific island almost eight decades ago likely are those of pioneering pilot Amelia Earhart, new research claims.

If true, the findings would finally solve a mystery that has fascinated generations since Earhart disappeared while attempting to fly around the world in 1937.

The new study re-examined measurements of several bones found on the Pacific island of Nikumaroro in 1940.

Researcher Richard Jantz wrote that what he found "strongly supports the conclusion that the Nikumaroro bones belonged to Amelia Earhart."

The details were published in a research article authored by Jantz, professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Tennessee, in the journal Forensic Anthropology on Wednesday.

Study disputes earlier research

It's not the first time researchers have examined the bones or pondered a possible link with Earhart -- who captured worldwide attention when she became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic in 1932. In 1941, the remains were analyzed by Dr. D. W. Hoodless, principal of the Central Medical School in Fiji, who concluded that the bones belonged to a male. The bones themselves have since been lost.

But the new study contends that when Hoodless looked at the bones the science of forensic pathology was not as advanced as it is now -- and that this could have affected his analysis.

"Forensic anthropology was not well developed in the early 20th century," Jantz said in the study. "There are many examples of erroneous assessments by anthropologists of the period."

Jantz used a new technology called Fordisc to estimate the sex and ancestry of the remains. "I reassess (bone measurements) with realistic assumptions about who could have been on Nikumaroro island during the relevant time," he wrote.

Other theories

Jantz also explored other theories about the origin of the bones, including the possibility that they might belong to one of 11 crew members presumed dead following a 1929 shipwreck, or that they were those of a Pacific islander.

Jantz used information based on Earhart's body measurements compared to the Nikumaroro bones. Earhart's humerus and radius length were measured using comparisons to scalable objects provided a forensic image processing laboratory.

Her tibia length and body dimensions were measured using some of her clothing kept at the George Palmer Putnam Collection of Amelia Earhart Papers at Purdue University. A seamstress took the measurements which included inseam measurements of Earhart's trousers.

After comparing numerous measurements of Earhart with those of the bones, Jantz concluded that "the only documented person to whom they may belong is Amelia Earhart."

'It is one of the greatest mysteries of the 20th century'

In 2016, the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), which included Jantz revealed a theory that Earhart died as a castaway, not in the plane crash. "There is an entire final chapter of Earhart's life that people don't know about. She spent days -- maybe months -- heroically struggling to survive as a castaway," Ric Gillespie, TIGHAR's executive director said.

And in 2017, a photo was unearthed showing blurry figures on a dock which some experts said indicated that Earhart survived the crash. Others told CNN they were not convinced. "I don't blame people for wanting to know," said Dorothy Cochrane, curator for the Aeronautics Department at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

"It is one of the greatest mysteries of the 20th century because she was so well known."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 74328

Reported Deaths: 3041
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15860725
Lake7570275
Elkhart484384
Allen3902163
St. Joseph350081
Hamilton2763104
Vanderburgh196313
Hendricks1887108
Cass17959
Johnson1757118
Porter131639
Clark123347
Tippecanoe121111
Madison97965
LaPorte91130
Howard89065
Kosciusko85212
Bartholomew79347
Marshall78422
Floyd77946
Monroe75630
Delaware73052
Dubois69612
Boone67846
Noble67829
Hancock66038
Vigo65110
Jackson5865
Warrick58130
LaGrange55910
Shelby55327
Grant52630
Dearborn50828
Morgan47634
Clinton4343
Henry38320
Wayne37710
White36910
Montgomery35421
Lawrence34627
Harrison33823
Decatur33732
Putnam2888
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25034
Jasper2432
Franklin24214
DeKalb2324
Gibson2254
Jennings22512
Steuben2103
Ripley2087
Carroll1912
Fayette1897
Perry18612
Starke1787
Orange17124
Posey1710
Wabash1693
Fulton1682
Wells1682
Jefferson1632
Knox1540
Whitley1526
Washington1401
Tipton13810
Spencer1363
Sullivan1261
Huntington1223
Randolph1224
Clay1215
Newton11810
Adams1012
Jay910
Owen901
Pulaski831
Rush804
Fountain742
Brown731
Ohio655
Blackford642
Benton610
Pike530
Switzerland520
Vermillion520
Parke511
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren221
Unassigned0206

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 100848

Reported Deaths: 3669
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin18317524
Cuyahoga13514499
Hamilton9643255
Lucas5348323
Montgomery436294
Summit3555222
Butler292963
Marion292545
Mahoning2554255
Pickaway238742
Stark1827139
Warren178939
Lorain177078
Columbiana165860
Trumbull1524106
Fairfield138732
Delaware130119
Licking128149
Clark114614
Lake111438
Wood104358
Clermont93311
Medina92335
Miami83938
Tuscarawas78214
Portage75861
Allen74044
Greene69012
Belmont62126
Mercer61213
Richland60412
Erie57527
Ashtabula56946
Geauga55644
Wayne53958
Ross4844
Huron3965
Darke39529
Ottawa38626
Hancock3783
Sandusky37716
Madison37410
Athens3571
Holmes3286
Lawrence2830
Auglaize2546
Union2511
Muskingum2361
Jefferson2292
Scioto2261
Seneca2143
Knox2057
Putnam20517
Preble2032
Washington20322
Shelby1944
Coshocton1936
Champaign1762
Crawford1745
Morrow1702
Hardin16512
Clinton1646
Highland1581
Logan1552
Fulton1481
Wyandot1468
Ashland1443
Defiance1444
Williams1353
Perry1303
Brown1292
Hocking1189
Guernsey1177
Henry1172
Fayette1130
Carroll1115
Monroe9318
Pike760
Jackson740
Van Wert711
Paulding690
Gallia651
Adams612
Meigs400
Vinton312
Harrison261
Morgan260
Noble160
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Angola
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 68°
Huntington
Scattered Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 68°
Decatur
68° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 68°
Van Wert
68° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 68°
Storms Monday Night
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events