The disappearance of renowned pilot Amelia Earhart has remained one of the largest mysteries for decades. Finally — at long last — scientists think they’ve finally uncovered the truth behind her vanishing. In a newly-released study, University of Tennessee professor Richard Jantz stated that bones found in the Pacific have been identified as belonging to the late adventurist.
The bones themselves were actually discovered on Nikumaroro island during expeditions in 1940 to recover her body. They were suspected at the time to have belonged to the late Earhart, as the island wasn’t far from her flight path, but the evidence wasn’t conclusive enough to say for sure. Also, some scientists deduced that the bones belonged to a man, therefore ruling out Earhart as the prime candidate. Now, however, new forensic analysis (technology far better than what was available in 1940) is suggesting otherwise.
The process was actually quite fascinating. Despite the bones being discarded after their analysis in 1940, Jantz was still able to use measurements and photos to deduce gender and ancestry through a computer program. Jantz was then able to cross-reference the bone dimensions with Earhart’s own dimensions (height and weight, based on photographs and documentation) to determine that the bones found in the Pacific were indeed a direct match.
In fact, Jantz was able to go so far as to deduce that her bones were “more similar to the Nikumaroro bones than 99 [percent] of individuals in a large reference sample.” He goes on, “If the bones do not belong to Amelia Earhart, then they are from someone very similar to her.”
Based off of this near-conclusive evidence, Jantz believes that — whether she was captured by the Japanese on suspicions of being a spy or simply died as a castaway — Nikumaroro was indeed the final resting place of the late, great pilot. Unless someone with her exact same build happened to die at the exact same time within her flight path, then the evidence seems to be pretty irrefutable.