Amelia Earhart vanished more than 80 years ago, and evidence is still being uncovered. A Tennessee researcher has revealed that it’s “likely” that the seven bones discovered on a distant island in the South Pacific are Earhart’s.
“Until definitive evidence is presented that the remains are not those of Amelia Earhart, the most convincing argument is that they are hers,” Richard Jantz, professor emeritus of anthropology and director emeritus of University of Tennessee’s Forensic Anthropology Center, shared in a statement.
The bones were initially analyzed in 1940 by physician D. W. Hoodless, who decided they were a man’s. However, after studying the bones’ measurements with modern equipment, Jantz believes they belong to the storied American aviator.
“There are many examples of erroneous assessments by anthropologists of the period,” Jantz wrote in a new study published in the journal Forensic Anthropology. “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.”
According to People, Jantz “revealed that the bones have more similarity to Earhart than to 99 percent of individuals in a large reference sample.”
The pilot and women’s rights symbol began her journey in Papua New Guinea on July 2, 1937, with navigator Fred Noonan. After flying east toward Howland Island to begin their marathon 29,000-mile journey, they disappeared.
Many have tried to unearth the mystery for years. Last year, a black-and-white photograph surfaced that implied Earhart and Noonan were captured by the Japanese. It was rumored that the Japanese military thought the two were American spies.
“I think we proved beyond a reasonable doubt that she survived her flight and was held prisoner by the Japanese on the island of Saipan, where she eventually died,” Shawn Henry, a former executive assistant director of the FBI, said in the documentary Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence.
However, CNN debunked the gossip, providing evidence that suggested the photo was circulated two years before Earhart vanished.