A university scientist is 99 percent certain bones found on an island in the Pacific Ocean belong to Amelia Earhart, according to a Wednesday report.
Earhart – the first woman to fly an airplane over the Atlantic Ocean – and her navigator, Fred Noonan, went missing somewhere over the Pacific in 1937 while attempting to fly around the world.
University of Tennessee skeletal biology expert Richard Jantz asserted his certainty after estimating Earhart’s bone size and comparing them to measurements taken from bones found on Nikumaroro – an island about 400 miles south of one of Earhart’s planned stops, Howland Island, the Daily Mail reported.
“What I can say scientifically is that they are 99 percent likely to be her,” Jantz said, according to the Daily Mail.
A researcher measured the bones discovered in 1940 but went missing soon after. Jantz analyzed objects next to Earhart in photos to estimate the pilot’s bone dimensions and compared them to the measurements from the discovered remains.
“We were able to measure her humerus length and her radius length from a photo that had a scaleable object in it,” Jantz said. “Then we also had a good estimate of her tibia length which we got from her trouser inseam length and from her height.”
Only two women had bones dimensions more similar than Earhart’s to the bones found on Nikumaroro, according to an analysis of 2,776 people’s bones.
Similarly, the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery has theorized since the 1980s that Earhart crashed on Nikumaroro and died after living as a castaway.
“There are many, many different threads of evidence that all reach the same conclusion and there’s really no evidence that something else happened,” the group’s executive director Richard Gillespie said, the Daily Mail reported. “We’ve found artifacts on the island that speak of an American woman of the 1930s and there’s no other explanation for how they got there.”
The group, for example, found a pocket knife that matches a blade inventoried on Earhart’s plane.