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Search for Amelia Earhart Continues at OU (Mar 03, 2011)

NORMAN - Researchers at the University of Oklahoma are trying to help solve the case of Amelia Earhart, one of the greatest aviation disappearances of all time.

A laboratory that extracts DNA from ancient remains has been working to determine if a small piece of bone from an island in the pacific could belong to the famous aviatrix.

Cecil Lewis heads up the lab at OU working on the fragment. He said the tests they’ve completed so far can’t say if the bone is human or not.

“Unfortunately, at this time it’s inconclusive,” Lewis said. “We have a little bit of bone left. And I don’t feel that it’s appropriate to destroy this bone, the little bit that’s left, for further analysis. It might be better to save it for maybe future technologies, future innovations; future opportunities. So we decided to stop the research on the bone sample at this time.”

Lewis said he’s been surprised by the intense interest in the case, which has just started.

“So again, when we’re talking about ‘is it exciting to be part of history?’ Absolutely,” Lewis said. “But we don’t know if this is a part of history yet. This is simply the beginning of an investigation.”

The OU lab is continuing to work on other material related to the site where the bone was discovered. Next year marks the 75th anniversary of Earhart's disappearance during and attempt to fly around the world.

by Kurt Gwartney

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