Bones found on a remote Pacific island are extremely likely to be those of Amelia Earhart, according to a scientist.
Ms Earhart disappeared on 2 July, 1937, along with her navigator Fred Noonan.
The two had been flying between Papua New Guina and Howland Island in the Pacific as part of a round-the-world flight attempt.
At the time, Ms Earhart – the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic – was a celebrity and her disappearance prompted decades of mystery surrounding her fate.
Three years after she vanished, thirteen bones were found on Nikumaroro, also known as Gardner Island, a coral atoll some 1,200 miles from the Marshall Islands.
The bones were initially studied in 1941 by Dr David Hoodless, from the Central Medical School in Fiji.
He examined the ratio of the femur’s circumference to length, the angle of the femur and pelvis, and the subpubic angle, which is formed between two pelvis bones and is wider in women than in men.
The bones could not be Ms Earhart’s, he concluded. They belonged to a man.
But Richard Jantz, an emeritus anthropology professor at the University of Tennessee, argues that, had Dr Hoodless been able to use more modern scientific techniques, he might have got a different result.
In a study published in the journal Forensic Anthropology, Dr Jantz said Dr Hoodless’s methods were “inadequate to his task; this is particularly the case with his sexing method”.
The most reliable of Dr Hoodless’s criteria was his examination of the subpubic angle, Dr Jantz said.
However, that is still “subject to considerable variation, much of which was little understood in 1941”, he added.
The Nikumaroro bones had long since been lost but Mr Jantz studied the pilot in photos, examined her clothing measurements and compared Mr Hoodless’s measurements to data from 2,776 other people
He said: “Earhart is more similar to the Nikumaroro bones than 99% of individuals in a large reference sample”.
“This strongly supports the conclusion that the Nikumaroro bones belonged to Amelia Earhart.”
Dr Hoodless had described the bones as those of a male around 5ft 5½in but Noonan was 6ft ¼in.
Ms Earhart’s pilot’s licence recorded her height as 5ft 8in and her driver’s licence said 5ft 7in.
Some think Ms Earhart died as a castaway after landing her plane on Nikumaroro, while others suggest she died on the Marshall Islands.