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Amelia Earhart Cadaver Dogs Bark Up Wrong Tree?

Image: Amelia Earhart Cadaver Dogs Bark Up Wrong Tree?
Piper, one of four forensic dogs that searched for Amelia Earhart's remains. (NatGeo Twitter post screengrab)

By    |   Tuesday, 11 Jul 2017 05:55 AM

Amelia Earhart's disappearance 80 years ago recently has had two competing twists: 1) that she was captured by the Japanese or 2) that her remains are still on remote Nikumaroro Island in the Pacific; however, it looks like cadaver dogs searching there last week were barking up the wrong tree.

The cadaver dogs searched Nikumaroro as part of an expedition sponsored by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery and the National Geographic Society which hoped to confirm Earhart made it to the island with navigator Fred Noonan, said NatGeo.

Earhart was on her final leg in her attempt to fly around the world solo when she and Noonan disappeared on July 2, 1937 on their way to the isolated Howland Island. One of TIGHAR's long-held theories was that they could not locate Howland and landed on Nikumaroro's reef during low tide.

During last week's Nikumaroro expedition, the dogs were attracted to the base of a ren tree, "alerting" their handler that they detected a scent of human remains there, said NatGeo.

No bones were found but archaeologist Dawn Johnson and physician Kim Zimmerman collected soil from around the tree to be tested in a German DNA lab for any sign of human remains.

Fred Hiebert, National Geographic's archaeologist-in-residence, told the magazine that while Neanderthal DNA had been successfully extracted from soil dug from a French cave, finding DNA in a tropical environment like Nikumaroro was a long shot.

"If we were pushing the ticket by sending forensic dogs to this island, we'll really be pushing it with this DNA," Hiebert said, noted National Geographic.

While the expedition was taking place, the other Earhart wrinkle emerged with the discovery of a black-and-white photograph with a figure that looked like Earhart and Noonan at an atoll near the Marshall Islands in 1937, according to The Washington Post.

The photo was found in a forgotten file in the National Archives and is now part of the new History Channel special, "Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence," that aired Sunday, said NBC News.

The investigative team connected with History Channel special believes the photo may have been taken by someone who was spying for the U.S. on Japanese military activity in the Pacific.

"(The photo) clearly indicates that Earhart was captured by the Japanese," Les Kinney, a retired government investigator who has looked at Earhart clues for the past 15 years, told NBC News.

Japan said, though, that it has no record of Earhart of Noonan ever being held in custody by its military.

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Amelia Earhart's disappearance 80 years ago recently has had two competing twists: 1) that she was captured by the Japanese or 2) that her remains are still on remote Nikumaroro Island in the Pacific; however, it looks like cadaver dogs searching there last week were barking up the wrong tree.
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2017-55-11
Tuesday, 11 Jul 2017 05:55 AM
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