Amnelia Earhart

Miami Herald/TNS/Sipa USA)

Forensic Analysis Indicates That Bones Found On Pacific Island Were Amelia Earhart's

March 08, 2018 - 2:55 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- One of the great unknowns of the 20th century was what happened to Amelia Earhart.

Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and she would have been the first to fly around the world – had she not disappeared in 1937.

But now, that mystery could be solved. New research indicates that a set of bones found in 1940 on an island in the Pacific Ocean – long thought possibly to be Earhart’s – could indeed belong to her.

Jeff Glickman, a forensic imaging specialist, joined WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman Thursday to discuss the findings.

“The bones were found roughly 1940 and on an island that today is called Nikumaroro, and they were sent to Fiji for analysis,” Glickman said, “and at that time, they were categorized by the physician there as being male and most likely of an islander.”, thr

But as the University of Tennessee-Knoxville reported, Richard Jantz, a professor of emeritus of anthropology and director of emeritus at the university’s Forensic Anthropology Cener – reexamined the seven bone measurements conducted in 1940 by the original scientist, D.W. Hoodless.

Using modern forensic databases, “Dr. Jantz was able to properly recategorize these, and the evidence now points to a white European female,” Glickman said.

Jantz compared the lengths of two of the arm bones found – a radius and a humerus – with Earhart’s own using a photograph with a scalable object.

Jantz was also able to take estimates of Earhart’s tibia based on measurements of her clothing in the George Palmer Putnam Collection of Amelia Earhart Papers at Purdue University. Those measurements were taken by a historic seamstress, which included the inseam length and waist circumference for Earhart’s trousers, according to UT Knoxville.

But the conclusion that the bones are almost certainly Earhart’s was based not just on the bone measurements, but on the overall standard of preponderance of evidence, Glickman explained.

“It’s not just a matter of a single evidentiary point such as new measurement information on a skeleton, but for instance, if we go back to 2010, we had found evidence of a landing gear upside-down directly off the shore of Nikumaroro, and that landing gear fits the configuration of what was on a Lockheed 10E,” he said. “So that’s one of many other pieces of evidence that has been accumulating over the years from this particular island.”

Also found with the bones were a shoe judged to be a woman’s, a sextant box designed to hold a Brandis Navy Surveying Sextant like Earhart’s copilot used, and a Benedictine bottle – which Earhart was known to carry, according to UT.

There has been another theory circulating for many years that Earhart was captured by the Japanese and died in custody. But UT reported that Jantz investigated a number of other theories, and the most likely conclusion indicates that Earhart died stranded on an island.

“If you look at the science of it, there is no evidence to support the alternative theories,” Glickman said. “But there is gradually accumulating evidence that she did most likely end up in the vicinity in Nikumaroro.”

Glickman himself has been involved in the Earhart identification project for several years.

“The director of the project, roughly around 1995, was on television, and he literally asked for help on things related to imaging, so I gave him a call and I told him I had expertise,” Glickman said. “I’ve been involved in the project ever since.”

After so much time, Glickman – who is the brother of longtime WCBS 880 meteorologist Todd Glickman – said pleased to have some answers.

“It’s good,” he said. “They’re making progress.”