Scientists Try to Solve Amelia Earhart Mystery Through Her Saliva

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Amelia Earhart stands June 14, 1928 in front of her bi-plane called "Friendship" in Newfoundland (Getty)

Scientists are attempting to create a genetic profile for Amelia Earhart through her saliva — taken from letter seals — to determine if a bone fragment found in 2009 does belong to the missing aviator.

In July 1937, Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, vanished over the Pacific Ocean. Using the Equator, they were attempting to fly around the world, one of the longest routes around the Earth. She was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

(More on See 10 famous disappearances.)

About two years ago, researchers found a bone fragment on the South Pacific island of Nikumaroro. They believe it might have came from one of Earhart’s fingers, but there has been no surefire way to prove if it belonged to her or even possibly another animal.

(More on NewsFeed: Read about the bone sliver found in the Pacific Ocean.)

All possible traces of Earhart’s DNA, on clothing or locks of hair, have long since dried up or is considered unreliable. Instead scientists are relying on personal letters to family that Earhart would most have likely written herself. And they’re in luck: during that time, most people used letter openers from the side so the original seals remain intact.

(More on See more on Hollywood’s biopic on the aviator.)

The project will compare DNA from the samples against her living relatives to determine if it’s a match. It’s expected to take a few months to build a profile. If it succeeds, either the mystery of Amelia Earhart will be unraveled – or the hunt will be still on for what actually happened to Amelia.