The fate of Amelia Earhart continues to captivate public and scientific attention. Several hypotheses, some more credible than others, have been advanced about what may have happened to her and her navigator, Fred Noonan, on their ill-fated attempt to fly around the world. One intriguing component of the Earhart mystery involves whether bones found on Nikumaroro Island in 1940 could be her remains, suggesting she died as a castaway on this remote island. This paper will subject this idea to scientific analysis to determine whether the evidence supports the conclusion that the bones belong to Earhart or whether she can be excluded.
The bones in question were found in 1940 when a working party brought to Nikumaroro for the Phoenix Island Settlement Scheme found and buried a human skull. Upon hearing of the discovery, the officer in charge of the settlement scheme, Gerald Gallagher, ordered a more thorough search of the area. The search resulted in additional bones, including a humerus, radius, tibia, fibula, and both femora. The bones were apparently complete, but they had experienced some taphonomic modification. Also found were part of a shoe, judged to have been a woman’s; a sextant box, designed to carry a Brandis Navy Surveying Sextant manufactured circa 1918; and a Benedictine bottle. There was suspicion at the time that the bones could be the remains of Amelia Earhart.
Very interesting read. Adventure history from another century. Even more interesting as forensic science advances.