In The News: Amelia Earhart Found… Again? Multiple mysteries in the disappearance of pilot Amelia Earhart and finally a possible answer.
By Prof. Vejas Liulevicius, Univ. of Tennessee
The famed American pilot Amelia Earhart vanished in 1937 while on an epic flight around the world. This remarkable woman from Kansas had flown across the Atlantic by herself in 1932, but now she and her navigator disappeared in the wide open spaces of the South Pacific, seemingly without a trace. Theories and speculations proliferated about her fate: had she in fact been captured by the Japanese, who might have suspected her of being a spy as she flew near their possessions in the Pacific? Was her disappearance deliberate, an act of escape? Had her Lockheed Electra monoplane been swallowed up by the waves? No one knew.
Yet now, 81 years later, perhaps the mystery has been solved. My colleague here at the University of Tennessee, Professor Emeritus Dr. Richard L. Jantz, at our famed Anthropology Department, reexamined multiple sources of data and concluded that bones and a skull found on the desolate island of Nikumaroro back in 1940 were indeed those of Earhart. In a brilliant act of forensic detective work, Jantz sought out the original measurements of these remains, examined photographs of Earhart to estimate the length of her limbs, and even procured the dimensions of Earhart’s trousers from her archive at Purdue University. He concludes from this evidence that it is highly likely that Earhart perished on this desert isle after the wreck of her plane. Enigmatically, the original bones found on the island of Nikumaroro in 1940 have since been lost, so if they are indeed Earhart’s, this is a double disappearance! The mystery is testimony to a long historical record of the perils of travel, epic journeys, and human exploration.