Earhart Project Research Bulletin #78
October 22, 2016
NEW DISCOVERY

Comparing Earhart to the Bones on Nikumaroro

There is a newly discovered similarity between Amelia Earhart and the castaway whose partial skeleton was found on Nikumaroro in 1940.

The bones, suspected by their discoverer of being Earhart’s, were dismissed by British authorities after a doctor judged them to be male. The bones were subsequently lost and the entire incident forgotten until TIGHAR discovered the original British files in 1998, including the skeletal measurements the doctor made. An evaluation of those measurements by forensic anthropologists Karen Burns, Ph.D. and Richard Jantz, Ph.D. led to the conclusion that “the morphology of the recovered bones, insofar as we can tell by applying contemporary forensic methods to measurements taken at the time, appears consistent with a female of Earhart’s height and ethnic origin.” (See Bones & Shoes.)

That was eighteen years ago. Recently, in preparing an updated evaluation of the bone measurements, Dr. Jantz noticed a peculiarity. Among the bones recovered was a humerus (upper arm bone) and a radius (lower arm bone). In the British doctor’s notes, the humerus was reported to be 32.4 centimeters long. The radius was 24.5 centimeters – a ratio of 0.756 to the length of the humerus. Statistically, women born in the late 19th century (Earhart was born in 1897) had an average radius to humerus ratio of 0.73. In other words, if the castaway was a middle-aged, ethnically European woman, she had forearms considerably longer than average. Dr. Jantz wondered if Amelia may have had similarly longer than average forearms.

To answer that question we called on forensic imaging specialist Jeff Glickman. Selecting an historical photo of Amelia where her bare arms were clearly visible, and working with Dr. Jantz to identify the correct points on the shoulder, elbow and wrist for comparing bone length, Jeff found that Earhart’s humerus to radius ratio was 0.76 – virtually identical to the castaway’s. Click HERE for Jeff Glickman’s full forensic report.

The match does not, of course, prove that the castaway was Amelia Earhart but it is a significant new data point that tips the scales further in that direction.

More reading on this subject:

The Castaway of Gardner Island
Skullduggery
DNA Research
Earhart’s Height

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