by team uab, lsw
A research team from the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) is en route to the South Pacific island of Nikumaroro, where some believe Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan may have become stranded in 1937:
|Once at the 2 1/2-mile-long island, the group was to spend 17 days searching for human bones, aircraft parts and any other evidence to try to show that Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, reached the island on July 2, 1937, crashed on a reef at low tide and made it to shore, where they possibly lived for months as castaways, written off by the world as lost at sea.|
The team is hoping to build upon previous discoveries on this island, like airplane parts consistent with (but not specifically identifiable as) Earhart's plane. This sounds like fun, BUT...
|The conditions during the search will be punishing, with the explorers forced to contend with dense jungle vegetation, 100-degree heat, sharks that reside in a lagoon in the middle of the island and voracious crabs that make it necessary to wear shoes at all times.|
However, the crabs, when supplied with pig bones, may actually help the search:
|Kar Burns, one of two anthropologists on the team, hopes coconut crabs native to the island — some as big as 2 1/2 feet across — will carry the pig bones to wherever human bones might have been taken by crabs. DNA from human bones could help solve the mystery, [TIGHAR director] Gillespie said.|
It's hard to deny that a lot of people still want to know what happened to Earhart. I was wondering how this type of research--which has got to be expensive--gets funded. On its website, TIGHAR states that it is a non-profit organization which relies upon "corporate and individual sponsors". The site has a lot of info, and appears to be worth a look.