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EXPEDITION NEWS REPORTS COCONUT CRABS MAY
CRACK AMELIA EARHART MYSTERY
DARIEN, Conn. (Apr. 15, 2007) â€“ This year marks the 70th anniversary of the disappearance of famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart. In July, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) will conduct its ninth archaeological expedition to Nikumaroro (formerly known as Gardner Island), an uninhabited atoll in the Republic of Kiribati, where Earhart and her navigator are believed to have landed and died as castaways.
According to a story in this month’s Expedition News, from July 19 to Aug. 4, the TIGHAR team will search for the partial skeleton remains first found on the island in 1940 at an unknown castaway’s campsite and believed to be that of Earhart or her navigator.
TIGHAR’s executive director Ric Gillespie, based in Wilmington, Dela., is certain that if the rest of the skeleton can be found (the original bones were lost in the 1940s), mitochondrial DNA matched to a niece still alive in New Hampshire will help answer one of the 20th century’s coldest of all cold cases.
Gillespie believes Earhart’s bones may have been squirreled by coconut crabs (aka â€œrobberâ€ crabs) known to return to their underground burrows with food. The crabs have been known to live up to 70 years. â€œIf we can find the bones that the crabs took, we may have our â€˜smoking gun,’â€ Gillespie tells Expedition News. He plans to look for large well-established crab burrows and perhaps for the actual crabs, or their relatives, who were alive in the late 1930s.
The full story is in the April issue of Expedition News posted to www.expeditionnews.com. Also in Expedition News this month: a study of high altitude sickness on Mt. Everest; an amputee’s planned attempt to bicycle around the world;
and news about an unpiloted full-size alpine rescue helicopter â€“ the Alpine Wasp â€“ which will soon operate safely and autonomously in the Himalayas at altitudes over 30,000 feet.
Expedition News is a monthly publication that covers significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. Readers include media representatives, corporate sponsors, educators, research librarians, explorers, environmentalists and outdoor enthusiasts. This insider’s look at the expedition field was founded in October 1994 by Jeff Blumenfeld, editor and publisher, a member of The Explorers Club and American Alpine Club, and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. (www.expeditionnews.com, 203 655 1600, firstname.lastname@example.org).
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