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Bones found on western Pacific Ocean island likely to be Amelia Earhart's

Bones found on western Pacific Ocean island likely to be Amelia Earhart's

He says they are convinced a woman of European descent was on Nikumaroro Island at the time Earhart disappeared.

As well as the bones, the 1940 search party found a woman's shoe, a navigational instrument called a sextant and a bottle of Benadictine, which Ms Earhart was known to carry. After analyzing and measuring the bones in 1940, physician D. W. Hoodless determined they belonged to a man and nixed the idea.

But the new study contends that when Hoodless looked at the bones the science of forensic pathology was not as advanced as it is now - and that this could have affected his analysis.

The undated black-and-white photo is of a group of people standing on a dock on Jaluit Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

A researcher believes the lingering mystery of Amelia Earhart's disappearance has been solved.

"The data revealed that the bones have more similarity to Earhart than to 99 percent of individuals in a large reference sample", the statement said.

It is this last theory that the new analysis by Jantz, a professor emeritus of anthropology and director emeritus of the University of Tennessee's Forensic Anthropology Center, supports. The mystery of what happened to her and her navigator has captivated the public for decades. On her way from Lae, Papua New Guinea, to Howland Island, Earhart's signal was lost.

Many assumed Earhart crashed into the ocean and drowned, but Jantz and others suggest she died stranded on the island of Nikumaroro.

Indeed, much of Jantz's analysis sounds circumstantial, and without access to the Nikumaroro bones we can't ever be 100 per cent certain they belonged to Earhart.

Earhart's plane went missing during her 1937 attempt to circumnavigate the globe.

He said his study analysed "Earhart's body size and shape to determine whether they fit the meager evidence at hand".

Jantz also considered the possibility that the Nikumaroro bones may have belonged to one of 11 men presumably killed near the island during a British shipwreck in 1929, or that they could have been the bones of a Pacific Islander. Jantz measured an inseam length and waist circumference from a pair of Earhart's trousers. "The Rosetta Stone that broke it open was our ability to actually measure Amelia Earhart's bones from photographs and from her pants", Jantz said.

At the time, the remains were thought to possibly be the remains of Amelia Earhart. She set other records and wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences before setting off, aged 39, from California in May 1937 with navigator Fred Noonan in a Lockheed Model 10-E Electra twin-engine airliner to fly around the world. But the research made clear, he said, that Earhart died on Nikumaroro.