The disappearance of Amelia Earhart on her flight to circle the globe in 1937 is one of those great mysteries that have captured imaginations and curiosities for almost a century now. From an expedition 5 years ago led with the support of then Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, to updates about new evidence, it’s a case that’s puzzled and mystified experts. Could it be what we were missing these 80 years were … dogs?
National Geographic thinks that may be the case, as a new expedition organized by the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) embarks on a journey to Nikumaroro, an island near Fiji, with four forensic border collies on June 24th. The team is working with the “Nikumaroro hypothesis” which suggests that Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan could not find their original destination of Howland Island and went there instead. Bones previously found on the island (which were unfortunately lost), also contribute to this theory. Senior archaeologist Tom King calls it “less of a shot in the dark than any expedition we’ve had.”
Archaeologist in residence at the National Geographic Society Fred Hiebert spoke on the method, asserting that “No other technology is more sophisticated than the dogs. They have a higher rate of success identifying things than ground-penetrating radar.”
These aren’t just your average dogs either. Coming from the Institute for Canine Forensics, Nat Geo points out that these dogs have “nosed out burial sites as deep as nine feet and as old as 1,500 years.” Their names, in case you were curious, are Berkeley, Piper, Marcy, and Kayle. While the temperature may cause some challenges, Hiebert says that if successful, “it will be the discovery of a lifetime.”
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