Are island bones those of Amelia Earhart?

March 3, 2011 at 11:01 AM
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NORMAN, Okla., March 3 (UPI) -- Three bones found on the Pacific island of Nikumaroro may be those of the famous aviator Amelia Earhart, a group involved in historical aircraft recovery said.

At least one account of the mysterious 1937 disappearance of Earhart and Fred Noonan as they flew around the world is that they crash-landed on the island and died while waiting to be rescued, CNN reported Thursday.

New technologies are required to settle "the question of whether the bone is human," said Cecil M. Lewis Jr. of the University of Oklahoma's Molecular Anthropology Laboratories in Norman.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery believes the bones, discovered in 2010, are from Earhart's finger and asked Lewis to test the bones, CNN reported.

TIGHAR executive director Ric Gillespie said a British officer found a skull and 13 bones believed to be of a 1940 castaway, and the remnants of a man's shoe and a woman's shoe.

TIGHAR asked two forensic anthropologists to examine a doctor's notes on the bones and other artifacts discovered and believed to be of a female of northern European descent, CNN reported.

Gillespie said the three bone fragments were discovered in the vicinity of the 13 bones. They may be either from a human or a turtle, but investigators have discovered no evidence of turtle limbs in the area.

TIGHAR has DNA samples from a female relative of Earhart that could be tested without further destroying precious bone matter if the three bones are found to be human, Gillespie said.

A small pot was found that Gillespie believes was for Dr. Berry's Freckle Ointment.

"Earhart had freckles and is known to have considered them unattractive," he said.

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