Amelia Earhart's, the first woman pilot to fly over the Atlantic Ocean, bones likely found

Mar 08, 2018, 15:06 IST | PTI

Scientists have most likely found the bones of legendary American pilot Amelia Earhart - the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean who mysteriously disappeared in 1937 while flying over the Pacific

Scientists have most likely found the bones of legendary American pilot Amelia Earhart - the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean who mysteriously disappeared in 1937 while flying over the Pacific. Bone measurement analysis indicates that the remains found on a remote island in the South Pacific were likely those of Earhart, researchers said.

Richard Jantz, professor at University of Tennessee in the US re-examined seven bone measurements conducted in 1940 by physician D W Hoodless. Hoodless had concluded that the bones belonged to a man. Using several modern quantitative techniques - including Fordisc, a computer programme for estimating sex, ancestry, and stature from skeletal measurements - Jantz found that Hoodless had incorrectly determined the sex of the remains.

The study, published in the journal Forensic Anthropology, showed that the bones have more similarity to Earhart than to 99 per cent of individuals in a large reference sample. Jantz also compared the bone lengths with Earhart's. Her humerus and radius lengths were obtained from a photograph with a scalable object.

Her tibia length was estimated from measurements of her clothing in the George Palmer Putnam Collection of Amelia Earhart Papers at Purdue University. A historic seamstress took the measurements, which included the inseam length and waist circumference of Earhart's trousers.

Jantz concluded that "until definitive evidence is presented that the remains are not those of Amelia Earhart, the most convincing argument is that they are hers." "Forensic anthropology was not well developed in the early 20th century," according to the study.

"There are many examples of erroneous assessments by anthropologists of the period. We can agree that Hoodless may have done as well as most analysts of the time could have done, but this does not mean his analysis was correct," it said. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She mysteriously disappeared in 1937 while flying over the Pacific.

Many assumed that her plane had crashed into the waters, and she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, were never seen again. A group of researchers, including Jantz, believe she died as a castaway on the island of Nikumaroro.

Along with bones found in 1940, a search party discovered part of a shoe judged to have been a woman's, a sextant box designed to hold a Brandis Navy Surveying Sextant, manufactured around 1918 and similar to the one Earhart's co-pilot used, and a Benedictine bottle, something Earhart was known to carry. The bones eventually disappeared, and what remained was metric data limited to four measurements of the skull and three of long bones - the tibia, humerus, and radius.

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