A new scientific study by a University of Tennessee professor claims that bones found in 1940 on the island of Nikumaroro belong to aviator Amelia Earhart, who disappeared as she piloted her plane across the Pacific Ocean in 1937.
According to the study conducted by Richard L. Jantz, a British expedition exploring the island for settlement discovered a human skull, The Washington Post reported.
The expedition’s officer ordered a more thorough search of the area, which resulted in the discovery of more bones and part of what appeared to be a woman’s shoe, the Post reported.
“There was suspicion at the time that the bones could be the remains of Amelia Earhart,” Jantz wrote in the study.
When the 13 bones were shipped to Fiji and studied by D.W. Hoodless of the Central Medical School in 1941, Jantz argues forensic osteology was still in its early stages. That meant that his assessment of the sex of the remains could have been affected, the Post reported.
Jantz compared the lengths of the bones to Earhart’s measurements, based on photographs and information found on her pilot’s and driver’s licenses, the Post reported. His findings revealed that Earhart’s bones were more similar to the bones found on Nikumaroro than “99 (percent)” of individuals in a large reference sample.
“In the case of the Nikumaroro bones, the only documented person to whom they may belong is Amelia Earhart,” Jantz wrote in the study.