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Bone Fragment May Solve Earhart Mystery

Amelia Earhart

December 16, 2010 — Aviation’s most enduring unsolved mystery may be on the verge of being solved, as researchers at the University of Oklahoma’s Molecular Anthropology Laboratories examine a bone fragment found on the remote Pacific atoll Nikumaroro by the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), reports The Telegraph. Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, famously vanished 73 years ago while flying a Lockheed Model 10E Special “Electra” around the world. TIGHAR found the bone, said to possibly be a phalanx from a human finger - but also may be from the flipper of a turtle - at the site of a castaway’s encampment on the uninhabited island, part of the republic of Kiribati.

TIGHAR found the bone last summer along with a number of other interesting items at an apparent human campsite: remains of a 1930s woman’s compact; a small bottle made in New Jersey in 1933 with the remnants of what appears to be hand lotion; a mid-1930s zipper made in Pennsylvania (of a design that was never exported); and a broken pocket knife of the same brand listed in Earhart’s aircraft inventory.

“We should have the results in a few weeks, but if the results are positive we won’t announce anything until the test is duplicated by another lab,” TIGHAR executive director Ric Gillespie told The Telegraph. “If human DNA is extracted, it will be sequenced to Earhart’s DNA.”

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