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Author Topic: Where are the bones found on Niku?  (Read 26496 times)

Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Where are the bones found on Niku?
« on: July 22, 2009, 05:24:26 PM »

A skull and a small collections of bones were found on Gardner Island (now Nikumaroro) in 1940.

The remnants of the skeleton were sent to Suva, Fiji, in 1941 for examination.

The measurements taken by Dr. Hoodless suggested to him that the bones were from a European or half-European male.  When his measurements are run through a modern forensic database, they suggest that the bones were from a European woman of northern European ancestry.

We have the bones file from 1941.  Where are the bones now?
LTM,

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Andreas Badertscher

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Re: Where are the bones found on Niku?
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2010, 05:06:00 AM »

I assume TIGHAR has seen this.
But I'm asking myself, if this could give an indication about the correctnes of the measurements off the bones found on Niku?

http://www.americaslibrary.gov/aa/earhart/aa_earhart_last_2_e.html
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Daniel Paul Cotts

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Re: Where are the bones found on Niku?
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2010, 10:22:45 AM »

I seem to recall a posting or item in TIGHAR referring to bones research where a document was found. IIRC it dated to the time of the bones discovery; but gave no clue to the disposition of the bones. There were two newer number/letter sets on or about the document that may have referenced related documents. The code was not obvious and IIRC no followup was done by the TIGHAR investigator (Marty?). What was significant to me was the writing was reported to be in ball point ink. A quick Google search indicates ball point pens were not available until about 1949 and (I'll guess) not generally available until the mid 1950's. So - those additions were made at a significantly later date. At this point we can only speculate why someone wrote those codes. MY fantasy is they refer to related documents that tell us the disposition of the bones.
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Zach Reed

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Re: Where are the bones found on Niku?
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2010, 11:52:05 AM »

I like Daniel's idea...perhaps there's something there.


Another idea-which I will say upfront is a bit of a longshot-is based on the doctor's suggestion to send the bones to a named anthropologist at a university in Australia, for a more expert opinion. Correct me if I'm wrong, but he made this suggestion twice in the same letter to Gallagher.


Maybe the doctor went ahead and sent them along to the anthropologist, but Gallagher died immediately afterward, the war began to heat up in that region, no one pushed the issue by following up, and the bones have been sitting in a box in basement archives ever since, ala Raiders of the Lost Ark.

It's not probable, but I suppose it is possible.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Where are the bones found on Niku?
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2010, 06:06:22 PM »

I seem to recall a posting or item in TIGHAR referring to bones research where a document was found. IIRC it dated to the time of the bones discovery; but gave no clue to the disposition of the bones.

Check these articles (and links from them) to study the question of documents about the bones:

Quote
There were two newer number/letter sets on or about the document that may have referenced related documents. The code was not obvious and IIRC no followup was done by the TIGHAR investigator (Marty?).

The judgment that the numbers were written in ballpoint was mine.  I'm not an expert, of course.  No ink expert has been called in to look at the numbers.

The archivist at the WPHC did not recognize them as part of a system.  He thought they were graffiti from a careless researcher.  They are written on a bit of a slant.  The numbers are R39 and B946.  It make senses to me that they could correspond to the sextant box and the box of bones.  But they don't fit into any WPHC numbering system with which I'm familiar.

Quote
What was significant to me was the writing was reported to be in ball point ink. A quick Google search indicates ball point pens were not available until about 1949 and (I'll guess) not generally available until the mid 1950's. So - those additions were made at a significantly later date. At this point we can only speculate why someone wrote those codes. MY fantasy is they refer to related documents that tell us the disposition of the bones.

Yes, that is a reasonable guess, since they appear in the section on the folder entitled "Other Connected Papers."
LTM,

           Marty
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« Last Edit: September 22, 2012, 09:27:04 AM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Where are the bones found on Niku?
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2010, 06:26:03 PM »

I like Daniel's idea...perhaps there's something there.

Yes, it's a loose thread.  If you can figure out a way to follow it, more power to you!

Quote
Another idea-which I will say upfront is a bit of a longshot-is based on the doctor's suggestion to send the bones to a named anthropologist at a university in Australia, for a more expert opinion. Correct me if I'm wrong, but he made this suggestion twice in the same letter to Gallagher.

"If such a detailed report is required the obvious course to adopt would be to submit these bones to the Anthropological Dept of the Sydney University where Professor Elkin would be only too pleased to make a further report" ("Bones found on Nikumaroro").

Quote
Maybe the doctor went ahead and sent them along to the anthropologist, but Gallagher died immediately afterward, the war began to heat up in that region, no one pushed the issue by following up, and the bones have been sitting in a box in basement archives ever since, ala Raiders of the Lost Ark.

It's not probable, but I suppose it is possible.

The Raiders of the Lost Ark hypothesis is our best bet for ever finding the bones.

The Australian Dictionary of Biography has an article on Elkin.  His papers are at the University, it seems.

This has come up in the Forum before:


Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2002 09:04:12 EDT
From: Ross Devitt
Subject: A (very) Long Shot

Something has been niggling at the back of my mind for a few years but I
could never remember what it was.

Has the the forum ever considered the possibility that the bones somehow did
find their way to Professor Elkin?   Tighar has looked just about everywhere
else.

Th' WOMBAT
**********************************************************************
From Ric

We did check.  No joy.


As the song says, "If you've got the money, honey, I've got the time."  I'm ready to go to Australia to check things out.   :D
LTM,

           Marty
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Where are the bones found on Niku?
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2012, 05:55:32 PM »

Quote from: Joshua Chaires
All we can do is keep trying and hopefully at some point someone will come forward and reveal whether the bones were buried somewhere on Fiji, shipped to somewhere else, or hopefully not destroyed after the 1940 Hoodless examination.

Yes.  There is no reason why the bones (and sextant box) can't still be in existence and turn up eventually.

Quote
Do you think it's possible that the remains of Fred Noonan could have been buried by Amelia and be still somewhere on Nikumaroro/Gardner Island? If the plane was on the reef and the man Mrs. Brown heard was badly injured it could suggested he might have passed away first.

Many things are possible.  I doubt that under the best of conditions AE could have dug much of a grave.  It would be prohibitively time consuming, and therefore very expensive, to search every inch of Niku and dig up everything that looks like it could be a grave.

LTM,

           Marty
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tom howard

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Re: Where are the bones found on Niku?
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2012, 07:46:04 PM »

Reading the memos from the first doctor who examined them, it sounded like he was afraid of infection and shut down the port when the bones arrived. Maybe the second dr.named hoodless?,( unsure of speliing),  felt the same and destroyed them. Fear of disease might have overcome his desire to hold onto them.
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Where are the bones found on Niku?
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2012, 02:06:21 AM »

In my opinion, there are only a few "evidentiary" things that allow themselves to be followed up on. These are items that remain after the loss of AE and FN. They are factual and/or tangible. The photos of the Bevington object are a good example. I believe the post loss radio signals are another. Whether you believe the signals originated from the Electra or from another source, no one, I believe, is disputing that the signals existed and were received by professional operators. 
The items found on Nikumororo through traditional archeology are yet others.   

These are items that can be traced as to origins and history.

The bones, to me, fall into a second category.  There are reports they existed, how they were discovered and of their analysis.  But we can't do anymore than read about them from these historical documents. In effect, a dead end. 

Finding them would elevate them into the more tangible category. But would having them in our possession change anything?  Would they carry DNA?  Would a new analysis change any of the historical information?  I suggest that, while having the bones in our hands/museum would be nice, it wouldn't change the history, unless they yielded DNA of AE or FN.

Does anyone doubt that bones were found in the manner, date and time that the history suggests?  Hard to do so when you have anecdotal stories corroborated by official government communications. That they existed is hard to dispute. That they belonged to AE or FN is hard to prove.

A new DNA analysis may prove the bones belonged to AE or FN but you have to actually find the bones first.  We need to elevate this evidentiary thread from their current "dead end" status to the more tangible status of "smoking gun".

So while we should probably increase the search activity for the bones we can't lose sight of their current importance to the hypothesis.

But....

I am trying to convey the message that only a few threads exist which can help prove the hypothesis.  Evidence of the Electra being found at Nikumororo or DNA from the lost bones does this. Possible evidence, as yet uncovered on Nikumororo, "may" yield something but would it/could it be of the "smoking gun" category like the Electra remains or DNA? Unknown.

I wonder what could be done with a couple of million dollars if used to search for the bones?

This question is not intended to suggest the ROV search was a waste of money. Just to suggest, IMHO, that we shouldn't put blinders on and only focus there.

The "bones" search has been carried out over the years but not to the scale of millions of dollars.
 
I believe that if we did not have the Bevington Object photo to work from to strongly suggest the ROV work should be the highest priority, then the bones would/could/should be the probable focus.  They are important.

This post was intended to just provoke some alternate thinking. Respectfully submitted and not intended to offend or flatter.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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tom howard

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Re: Where are the bones found on Niku?
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2012, 08:37:51 AM »

Irv tighar of course only has limited funds so using it on the rov was the right thing to do. If the bones were destroyed intentionally, and I feel they were due to concern about disease, then no amount of money is going to make them reappear.
Since the rov has produced a debris field it looks like the right choice was made on where to spend limited capital.
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Alan Harris

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Re: Where are the bones found on Niku?
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2012, 02:04:23 PM »

A new DNA analysis may prove the bones belonged to AE or FN but you have to actually find the bones first.  We need to elevate this evidentiary thread from their current "dead end" status to the more tangible status of "smoking gun".

I wonder what could be done with a couple of million dollars if used to search for the bones?

The "bones" search has been carried out over the years but not to the scale of millions of dollars.
 
I believe that if we did not have the Bevington Object photo to work from to strongly suggest the ROV work should be the highest priority, then the bones would/could/should be the probable focus.  They are important.

It's impossible IMO to argue with your logic about the importance of the bones.  But from my reading of the various reports and documents, there has already been an exhaustive search in possible, and even improbable, storage locations.  It is not clear to me what else might be done along those lines even if the millions were devoted to them.  If someone with greater knowledge can make specific suggestions it would be very interesting to hear them.  Meanwhile we know the underwater work will burn up money like it is going out of style, and if it is to continue at all there will be little to spare for other avenues.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2012, 11:42:38 PM by Alan Harris »
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Where are the bones found on Niku?
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2012, 10:58:30 PM »

I appreciate all of your comments. I do believe the money spent on the ROV expedition this summer was money well spent. I just want to make sure we don't forget the other threads available for us to follow. Just in case.

Jeff Glickman, fortunately, has an interest in the TIGHAR hypothesis and the skill set and professionalism to help in a big way. Just as people like Dr. Tom King assists in his valued field.

I think TIGHAR and Ric are fortunate to have these valuable resources available to assist.

The debris field is intriguing.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Vahe Demirjian

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Re: Where are the bones found on Niku?
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2012, 06:41:01 PM »

To make the preparations for Niku VIII easier, it may be best to wait for someone to alert Ric and his team that the castaway bones have been found and are being sent to a lab for DNA analysis.

After the bones are found, DNA should be extracted from the castaway's remains for comparison with relatives of AE. If DNA analysis shows that the castaway is Earhart, then Ric will cheer and the American public will be relieved. Amelia's remains should be placed in a sarcophagus to be sent to her birthplace in Kansas.
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Lauren Palmer

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Re: Where are the bones found on Niku?
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2012, 01:39:37 PM »

To make the preparations for Niku VIII easier, it may be best to wait for someone to alert Ric and his team that the castaway bones have been found and are being sent to a lab for DNA analysis.

After the bones are found, DNA should be extracted from the castaway's remains for comparison with relatives of AE. If DNA analysis shows that the castaway is Earhart, then Ric will cheer and the American public will be relieved. Amelia's remains should be placed in a sarcophagus to be sent to her birthplace in Kansas.

Any further word on being able to extract DNA from that finger they found?  Last I heard, it was too small not to be entirely destroyed during an extraction process ...
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Where are the bones found on Niku?
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2013, 06:19:05 AM »

Michael Elliot-Jones has been following up on long-shot leads from the first three Bones expeditions.

The Fiji-Sun recently carried a long article about his work: "The Search for Amelia Earhart Turns to Fiji."

The article is not a reliable guide to what TIGHAR has found or how TIGHAR reports its findings.  There are probably a dozen corrections that need to be made in it.  I don't have the will to go through the article with a fine-tooth comb myself at present, so let the reader beware!

LTM,

           Marty
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