Amelia Earhart’s Plane Found?

DNA from the Island where Earhart Crashed May Lead to Answers

(July 28th) – Members of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery or TIGHAR are scheduled to arrive on Nikamaroro Island in the spring of 2010. Next May or June the team is going to re-excavate the former crash site in efforts to collect DNA. If recovered, these artifacts may finally be able to prove where Earhart’s plane went down in the summer of 1937, ABC News reported.

Amelia Earhart and One of Her Many Planes

“We think we will be able to come back with DNA,” TIGHAR Executive Director Ric Gillespie told ABC. The group has been doing archeological diggs on the island since 2001. Last summer the group un-earthed 20th centrury makeup and two pieces of broken glass, but the findings were contaminated during the collection process. Gillespie says only 5 percent of the island has been excavated. This added with new collection protocol has created a new wave of enthusiasm and confidence in hopes of unmasking this 72 year old mystery.

The DNA evidence if found, would be compared to a sample taken from a direct living relative of Earhart, who has chosen to remain anonymous. They have taken mitochondrial DNA in order to prove that Amelia Earhart did in fact live on the island after her plane went down. By using mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA, the chances of finding a link is more likely. Archeologists are using such samples because the mtDNA holds together over time better than chromosome DNA which is most commonly used in forensic research.

This of course is all relevant only if this theory is the correct one; many theories on what actually happened to Earhart are still on the table. The TIGHAR team believes that her plane went down near what is now Nikamuroro Island located 1,800 miles south of Hawaii. There were no inhabitants of the 3 mile island until 1938, a year after Earharts disappearance. Being a British colony, a team of 8 men were sent to clear the land for village and coconut plantation. In 1940, during this process the island’s overseer came across a campsite and human bones. This is the main reason TIGHAR believes this is the site of Earharts last days.

There are other theories that challenge TIGHAR. Some think Earhart did survive on this island due to her ability to concour all things women were not encouraged to part take in at the time. Earhart was famous for writing in Cosmopolitan and supporting all women of the early 1900’s who challenged the sexists quo. Because of this and her hunting hobbies, many believe she could easily have built a campsite and found food. Many though believe she survived until the second world war, where she was then taken captive by the Japanese. Others believe she went down near Samoa or the Marshall islands due to radio data. Then there are those who believe it was all a hoax and that Earhart’s crash was purposefullly left without answers in order to get out of the stardom she had become.

For more read the full story at ABC News.