Advanced search  
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5   Go Down

Author Topic: New light on the study of the Nikumaroro bones by Dr Hoodless  (Read 65245 times)

Matt Revington

  • TIGHAR member
  • *
  • Posts: 398
  • member #4155
Re: New light on the study of the Nikumaroro bones by Dr Hoodless
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2015, 07:44:01 PM »

As an author of the paper it was certainly kind of you to bring this to the attention of this forum.  I do note that you have been promoting this elsewhere as conclusive proof that the bones did not belong to AE. 
http://expeditionwriter.com/confirmed-nikumaroro-bones-not-amelia-earhart/

The fact is Dr Burns used the best software available in 1998 to come to her conclusions and you have used a newer version that comes to slightly different conclusions.

This forum has never been about any disrespect toward Dr Hoodless who went to heroic lengths to establish a medical school in Fiji. 
Logged

Hal Beck

  • T1
  • *
  • Posts: 30
Re: New light on the study of the Nikumaroro bones by Dr Hoodless
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2015, 07:52:59 AM »


The fact is Dr Burns used the best software available in 1998 to come to her conclusions and you have used a newer version that comes to slightly different conclusions.


A paper in Biology Letters by Elliot and Collard (Biol Lett. 2009 Dec 23; 5(6): 849–852.) suggests that the way Fordisc was used by Burns and Jantz was flawed. The abstract reads:

Determining the ancestry of unidentified human remains is a major task for bioarchaeologists and forensic anthropologists. Here, we report an assessment of the computer program that has become the main tool for accomplishing this task. Called Fordisc, the program determines ancestry through discriminant function analysis of cranial measurements. We evaluated the utility of Fordisc with 200 specimens of known ancestry. We ran the analyses with and without the test specimen's source population included in the program's reference sample, and with and without specifying the sex of the test specimen. We also controlled for the possibility that the number of variables employed affects the program's ability to attribute ancestry. The results of the analyses suggest that Fordisc's utility in research and medico-legal contexts is limited. Fordisc will only return a correct ancestry attribution when an unidentified specimen is more or less complete, and belongs to one of the populations represented in the program's reference samples. Even then Fordisc can be expected to classify no more than 1 per cent of specimens with confidence.


« Last Edit: June 20, 2015, 08:01:31 AM by Hal Beck »
Logged

Monty Fowler

  • T5
  • *****
  • Posts: 1078
  • "The real answer is always the right answer."
Re: New light on the study of the Nikumaroro bones by Dr Hoodless
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2015, 11:54:26 AM »

Sigh ...

LTM, who is going back to his morning coffee now,
Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 ECSP
Ex-TIGHAR member No. 2189 E C R SP, 1998-2016
 
Logged

Richard Wright

  • T1
  • *
  • Posts: 3
Re: New light on the study of the Nikumaroro bones by Dr Hoodless
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2015, 08:04:46 PM »

As an author of the paper it was certainly kind of you to bring this to the attention of this forum.  I do note that you have been promoting this elsewhere as conclusive proof that the bones did not belong to AE. 
http://expeditionwriter.com/confirmed-nikumaroro-bones-not-amelia-earhart/


Promoting elsewhere? You are wrong. I have had nothing to do with that blog. What gave you that idea?

We deal with probabilities, not conclusive proof.

One of our conclusions was that the four cranial measurements gave meaninglessly low probabilities when trying to ascertain ancestry.

However, it is primarily the sex and body build of the bones that tell strongly against their being those of Amelia Earhart.

I have never thought that the forum was about disrespect to Dr Hoodless.
Logged

Monty Fowler

  • T5
  • *****
  • Posts: 1078
  • "The real answer is always the right answer."
Re: New light on the study of the Nikumaroro bones by Dr Hoodless
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2015, 03:13:57 PM »

One of the cornerstones of TIGHAR is embracing the scientific method - we propose a hypothesis, or guess, about a certain event, item, etc., and then see if the data supports it. If different data comes along, the hypothesis is modified accordingly. That will be the case here.

I'm pleased that someone of Dr. Wright's academic stature, along with co-author Pamela Cross, was sufficiently intrigued with the Amelia Earhart mystery to apply new techniques to old data.

This isn't a competition, people. There will be more than enough accolades to go around when Amelia and Fred are at last found.

LTM,
Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 ECSP

Ex-TIGHAR member No. 2189 E C R SP, 1998-2016
 
Logged

Tim Collins

  • T4
  • ****
  • Posts: 316
Re: New light on the study of the Nikumaroro bones by Dr Hoodless
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2015, 03:27:10 PM »

" In the case of the Nikumaroro bones, the skeletal evidence was lost during World War II. Subsequent attempts to trace the bones indicate that they were moved to Australia, probably Sydney, but no further evidence has been found."

Moved to Sydney? I must have missed that. 
Logged

Chris Murphy

  • T1
  • *
  • Posts: 22
Re: New light on the study of the Nikumaroro bones by Dr Hoodless
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2015, 07:19:46 PM »

I appreciate this study of the bones. Even if the bones ended up belonging to someone other than Earhart, it doesn't diminish the theory that Earhart landed at Nikumaroro. The bones were never "proof" of Earhart's landing. They were just a strange and possibly inexplicable find.

This study is well-written and I look forward to any peer-review and the responses that other experts might offer in regard to the bones. It would be amazing if these bones could be "found" and re-analyzed using modern techniques.
Logged

Martin X. Moleski, SJ

  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 3007
Re: New light on the study of the Nikumaroro bones by Dr Hoodless
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2015, 08:32:26 PM »

" In the case of the Nikumaroro bones, the skeletal evidence was lost during World War II. Subsequent attempts to trace the bones indicate that they were moved to Australia, probably Sydney, but no further evidence has been found."

Moved to Sydney? I must have missed that.

I'm not conscious of any evidence to that effect.

This page tells the bones story and has links to the three (3) TIGHAR expeditions in search of the bones in Fiji.  The local doctor suggested that they might send the bones to Sydney, but I have never seen any evidence that they did so.
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
Logged

JNev

  • T5
  • *****
  • Posts: 778
  • It's a GOOD thing to be in the cornfield...
Re: New light on the study of the Nikumaroro bones by Dr Hoodless
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2015, 06:47:04 AM »

Dr. Wright and Ms. Cross's work is appreciated as a qualified effort in the interest of furthering one of the significant anthropologic/forensic efforts of our time - certainly for those of us who wish to know the fate of Earhart. 

Dr. Kar Burns is highly respected by myself and many far more qualified than myself, of course - and she was in fact a local to my area (Georgia), so I am very proud of her work and hold her in great esteem.  For my part, I do not take this latest work to be an attack on her effort at all, but as the kind of effort that she herself would respect: it is science at its best when the challenge is taken up for further refinement of findings.

That said, 'further refinements' have limits - and the major take-away for me from this latest report is that Hoodless is clearly established as having been quite able for this task and as observant in his time - with the actual bones before his own eyes.  Further, his direct observations emerge as probably more valuable than any latter-day re-analysis of his notes might be: I am left impressed that for reasons of key dimensions and weathering/aging, etc. the bones are not likely Earhart's, as earnestly as I'd like them to be; his observations of a stocky male is very likely more the case.

I further am left believing this poor castaway pre-dated Earhart's time of loss.  The lack of hair found in the area and lack of more directly observable personal artifacts, such as remnants of clothing, etc. seem to add to this IMHO, judging by what the well-qualified observers have shared with us.  What is suggested to me now is that this wretched castaway had been there quite a long time before Earhart's time of loss - as supported by references in the report to taphonomic observations elsewhere in the region: surival of hair for 80 months, etc.

No, the skeleton being apparently not Earhart's (as I see it now) does not be mean absence of Earhart on Niku; but it doesn't support her presence, either.  It is admirable that TIGHAR has attempted to locate the lost bones for further analysis.  That also supports two important points for me: that no matter the latter-day analysis in-hand, there's no substitute for direct observation (as Hoodless was able to do), and that TIGHAR herself is willing to test the Burns' theory in the interest of knowing the truth of what these bones could tell us. 

While this is admirable, we also should see that considerable effort has gone into finding these bones.  That perhaps should cause us to also carefully consider whether significantly more effort should go into the bones pursuit, given that we now have three qualified analyses of the bones on hand, two of which essentially disqualify the bones as being those of Earhart - all based on Hoodless' original hands-on analysis.  'Attack' need not be sensed in any of this, it is pure scientific analysis and programmatic common sense, IMO.  Others MMV, of course.
- Jeff Neville

Former Member 3074R
 
« Last Edit: June 22, 2015, 07:35:23 AM by Jeffrey Neville »
Logged

Jennifer Hubbard

  • TIGHAR member
  • *
  • Posts: 38
Re: New light on the study of the Nikumaroro bones by Dr Hoodless
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2015, 06:43:17 PM »

Hoodless drew conclusions about the sex, age, frame, and other characteristics of the person whose bones he examined. We don't know if those conclusions were 100% correct, or some lesser percentage. Burns contended that the information could lead to different conclusions; Wright and Cross disagree and offer persuasive reasons.

We don't have the bones. That is a significant data gap and source of uncertainty.
Logged

Martin X. Moleski, SJ

  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 3007
Re: New light on the study of the Nikumaroro bones by Dr Hoodless
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2015, 07:39:28 PM »

Hoodless drew conclusions about the sex, age, frame, and other characteristics of the person whose bones he examined. We don't know if those conclusions were 100% correct, or some lesser percentage.

If you read Misi Utu, you can calculate how long Hoodless' medical training lasted.

It was highly condensed.

He was not a specialist in forensic pathology.

We know what kind of textbook resources he had available in 1940.  When that topic was discussed in an earlier incarnation of the Forum, it turned out that the formulas he had available were based on roughly 100 specimens.

Quote
Burns contended that the information could lead to different conclusions; Wright and Cross disagree and offer persuasive reasons.

Kar Burns, Ph.D., was a specialist in forensic anthropology and authored Forensic Anthropology Training Manual (1999, 2007).  She, of course, would have liked to have seen the bones for herself, and was on call for us during Bones II.  I think she was reasonably well aware of the limitations of the data she had in hand.  She respectfully disagreed with Hoodless conclusion: "From the half sub-pubic angle of the right innominate bone, the "set" of the two femora, and the ratio of the circumferences of the long bones to their individual lengths it may be definitely stated that the skeleton is that of a MALE."

Even if it was a male, it might have been Noonan's bones.  I have personally read the bones file in Auckland in 2003, and I saw no evidence that the Western Pacific High Commission was aware of his presence on the flight.

Experts tend to disagree.  That's life.  Strange things do happen.  If we had the bones, and if DNA could be extracted from them, it might be possible to definitively show that they were NOT from AE or FN.  That is the great strength of DNA tests.  Even if the bones were from AE or FN, DNA testing could only show that they were a possible, not a definitive source of the skeleton.

 
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
Logged

Chris Murphy

  • T1
  • *
  • Posts: 22
Re: New light on the study of the Nikumaroro bones by Dr Hoodless
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2015, 09:59:04 PM »

It is a shame that no one actually took photographs of these bones.  By 1940, I suspect that cameras (and film) were easily accessible to record such things.

I would also be interested in learning the real height of both Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan (and not simply "professed" or "given" height).  Moreover, there is variation in the length in terms of limbs -- even when comparing two men or women of the same height.  Some men have longer legs and shorter torsos (and vice versa).  For instance, I stand approximately 6'1" in height but wear a size 34 length in pants. My brother-in-law stands at 5'8" and also wears a size 34 in length.  In fact, my wife passes along some of my jeans and pants to her brother  and he .

What am I saying?  I wonder just how "exact" the estimation of height can be when measuring bones for forensic purposes. 

In addition, I have always been puzzled by the shoe that was found next to the remains.  Gallagher seemed convinced that this was a woman because of the sole of the shoe.  Gallagher said, "Only experienced man could state sex from available bones; my conclusion based on sole of shoe which is almost certainly a woman's." 

While the bones are lost (I would guess in the possession of Hoodless), I have wondered about the whereabouts of the shoe/sole.  Has anyone contacted the Central Medical School/Fiji School of Medicine in an effort to see if they had any photos of the bones or the shoe/sole?  If I was Hoodless and helped found such a school, I would have left those items with the school.  If Hoodless truly believed that the bones were of a man from Fiji, would they bury them in a Fiji tradition?

I know that TIGHAR's wiki page includes the following: "Hoodless' daughter, Margaret Guthrie, has been asked about the box of bones. She does not know anything about them. They were not in her father's estate. She says she is familiar with his papers and that there are no references in them, either."

BTW, I do think that the TIGHAR discovery of a shoe in the 1990's gives credibility to a 1930's era woman on the island.

http://tighar.org/Publications/TTracks/14_2/14-2Bones.html

« Last Edit: June 22, 2015, 10:04:57 PM by Chris Murphy »
Logged

Martin X. Moleski, SJ

  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 3007
Re: New light on the study of the Nikumaroro bones by Dr Hoodless
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2015, 10:18:01 PM »

I would also be interested in learning the real height of both Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan (and not simply "professed" or "given" height).  Moreover, there is variation in the length in terms of limbs -- even when comparing two men or women of the same height.  Some men have longer legs and shorter torsos (and vice versa).  For instance, I stand approximately 6'1" in height but wear a size 34 length in pants. My brother-in-law stands at 5'8" and also wears a size 34 in length.  In fact, my wife passes along some of my jeans and pants to her brother  and he .

Interesting!

Quote
Has anyone contacted the Central Medical School/Fiji School of Medicine in an effort to see if they had any photos of the bones or the shoe/sole? 

Yes, many times--all three bone expeditions.  See "B" in the "Expeditions" category.

Quote
If I was Hoodless and helped found such a school, I would have left those items with the school.  If Hoodless truly believed that the bones were of a man from Fiji, would they bury them in a Fiji tradition?

Roger Kelley searched all of the records of cremations and burials in Suva from 1937 to 2003.

<sigh>
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
Logged

Jon Romig

  • TIGHAR member
  • *
  • Posts: 102
Re: New light on the study of the Nikumaroro bones by Dr Hoodless
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2015, 07:28:43 PM »

From the new paper: "Given Hoodless' experience in the Fiji area, which included an intimate knowledge of local body types, his opinion that he could identify and discount accurately in this instance that the individual was not completely native South Seas seems a reasonable one."

Hoodless recognized that the bones belonged to an individual who's ancestry was uncertain but he was reasonably certain this individual's ancestry was not of the type with which he was most familiar, 100% native South Seas. There must have been features on the skeleton that were unfamiliar to him, and some that were familiar. I am skeptical that the features familiar to Hoodless could have been definitive in concluding partial South Seas ancestry. Only 5 years out of an abbreviated medical training, how many non-South Seas skeletons would Hoodless have had the opportunity to examine?

I am assuming that there was a somewhat segregated society in Fiji at that time, and that the number if Europeans was low, based in part upon the photo of the doctors in training at the school, where only one of about 20 appears to be European. In that case it is quite likely that the vast majority of the bodies available for dissection were NOT European - upper classes are generally far less likely to depart from their normal burial or cremation practices. Even now in medical schools, many of the bodies used in anatomy studies are from poor or underprivileged populations. Thus Hoodless' exposure to non-South Seas skeletons was likely extremely limited. So I think it is entirely reasonable to doubt Dr. Hoodless' characterization of the skeleton as being partial South Seas in ancestry. He saw some unfamiliar features (possibly European), and some familiar features, which may in fact have been feature common to any human population, not just those of South Seas ancestry.

In conclusion we have the skeleton of a non-native South Seas person, found unburied (thus lost to his or her culture - an important point) on a remote island where there is an overwhelming likelihood that the skeleton should have been that of a native South Seas person, but Hoodless concludes (correctly) that it was not.

Jon
Jon Romig 3562R
 
« Last Edit: June 25, 2015, 07:33:26 PM by Jon Romig »
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5   Go Up
 

Copyright 2024 by TIGHAR, a non-profit foundation. No portion of the TIGHAR Website may be reproduced by xerographic, photographic, digital or any other means for any purpose. No portion of the TIGHAR Website may be stored in a retrieval system, copied, transmitted or transferred in any form or by any means, whether electronic, mechanical, digital, photographic, magnetic or otherwise, for any purpose without the express, written permission of TIGHAR. All rights reserved.

Contact us at: info@tighar.org • Phone: 610-467-1937 • Membership formwebmaster@tighar.org

Powered by MySQL SMF 2.0.18 | SMF © 2021, Simple Machines Powered by PHP