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Bones from island tested for Amelia Earhart's DNA

posted 12/18/2010 5:05:15 PM |
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NORMAN, Okla. — Three bone fragments found on a deserted South Pacific island are being analyzed to determine whether they belong to Amelia Earhart — tests that could finally prove she died as a castaway after failing in her 1937 quest to become the first woman to fly around the world.

Scientists at the University of Oklahoma hope to extract DNA from the bones, which were found this year by a Delaware group dedicated to the recovery of historic aircraft.

“There’s no guarantee,” said Ric Gillespie, director of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery in Wilmington, Del. “You only have to say you have a bone that may be human and may be linked to Earhart, and people get excited. But it is true that, if they can get DNA, and if they can match it to Amelia Earhart’s DNA, that’s pretty good.”

Lab officials said results of the tests could take a week or even months.

The remains turned up in May and June at what appeared to be an abandoned campsite near where native workers found skeletal remains in 1940, which have since been lost. The pieces appear to be from a cervical bone, a neck bone and a finger.

But Gillespie warned that the fragments could in fact be from a turtle. They were found near a hollowed-out turtle shell that might have been used to collect rainwater, but no other turtle parts were nearby.

“This site tells the story of how someone or some people attempted to live as castaways,” Gillespie said yesterday, adding that bird and fish carcasses nearby suggested they were eaten by Westerners.

Gillespie, author of Finding Amelia: The True Story of the Earhart Disappearance, has traveled to the site since 1989. But he acknowledges that little progress has been made toward solving the mystery.

Millions of dollars have been spent to figure out what happened to Earhart, who was legally declared dead by a California court in early 1939. Theories have ranged from the official version — that her twin-engine Electra ran out of gas and crashed at sea — to the absurd, including abduction by aliens or Earhart living in New Jersey under an alias.

The Columbus Dispatch

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Dec 18 @ 5:59PM  
I'm sure her descendants would like some closure to this mystery.

Dec 18 @ 6:17PM  
If they are, that's exciting news.

Dec 18 @ 7:00PM  

I personaly think she went down at sea Aliens took her and they will never know.

Dec 18 @ 8:42PM  
Possible bone fragments from Amelia or a turtle- well... THAT narrows it down some!


Dec 18 @ 11:42PM  
Possible bone fragments from Amelia or a turtle- well... THAT narrows it down some!
Now that's funny, Som!

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Bones from island tested for Amelia Earhart's DNA