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Modern Mysteries

Was Amelia Earhart really eaten by giant crabs ?

By T.K. Randall
April 22, 2023 · Comment icon 13 comments

Did coconut crabs make off with the evidence ? Image Credit: CC BY 3.0 Anne Sheppard
One enduring theory suggests that the aviator's remains were disposed of by coconut crabs on Nikumaroro.
More than 82 years after Amelia Earhart disappeared over the Pacific Ocean during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe in her Lockheed Model 10 Electra, the question of what happened to her continues to remain one of the biggest unanswered mysteries of the modern age.

In recent years, clues have been found suggesting that Earhart's plane may have gone down somewhere in the remote Pacific atoll of Nikumaroro and that the aviator and her navigator Fred Noonan may have even survived for several days on a small island while awaiting rescue.

If that's true, however, then why have their remains not been found there ?
Interestingly, 13 human bones were actually found on the island in 1940 by British colonial officer Gerard Gallagher, however these have sadly since been lost, making further study impossible.

Some researchers believe that the reason so few bones were found was because Earhart's remains had been devoured or dragged off by coconut crabs which can grow up to 3ft across.

If so, they argue, some of her bones could still be scattered (and possibly buried) across the island.

If it were possible to locate even one such bone, it could help to solve the mystery once and for all.

Source: IFL Science | Comments (13)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #4 Posted by Antigonos 1 year ago
Amelia Earhart, her co-pilot and her plane are currently lying under 16,000 feet of water. I imagine she was eaten by all sorts of things down there, not just crabs.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Bavarian Raven 1 year ago
You cared enough to comment. 
Comment icon #6 Posted by Bavarian Raven 1 year ago
Unless they crashed / ditched near an isolated atoll. 
Comment icon #7 Posted by Antigonos 1 year ago
If that had been the case, the massive air/sea rescue operations launched in the wake of her disappearance would have found them.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Tom1200 1 year ago
Begging for torture to stop isn't the same as caring.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Billyf 1 year ago
You might not care but it's pretty silly to say nobody cares considering this case still captivates millions of people around the world. It's kinda self centered to assume that just because you don't find it interesting, nobody does 
Comment icon #10 Posted by Tom1200 1 year ago
Okay, maybe not nobody, but millions?  I very much doubt that.  And captivated?  By what?  A non-story about someone who crashed her plane into the ocean 80-something years ago leaving no trace.  Now some incredibly pointless speculation about her body being eaten by crabs.  Why not 'plucked from the air by a kraken and swept down to its watery lair', or kidnapped by a UFO?  Some nonsense like that would be far more exciting and equally irrelevant, and just as impossible to prove or disprove.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Billyf 1 year ago
Considering that they are still making documentaries, writing articles and featuring the story on numerous shows, I would say millions is probably an accurate estimate.   It doesn't interest you, I get that but the fact that it's still discussed all these years later proves that it's pretty interesting to a very large number of people. Because it's a plausible explanation for why her remains were never found. I'm not saying that I believe that's what happened. I think they probably ran out of fuel and went down in the Pacific but it is possible that they managed to land on one of the many sm... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by Tom1200 1 year ago
Okay, I accept your point that it's not impossible.  So: come up with some way of testing that hypothesis and I'll take a bit of interest.  Otherwise it's pure speculation, and we could generate a dozen equally likely scenarios if the main criterion is the fringe standard of 'we don't really need evidence; (in fact - no evidence is evidence of a cover-up)'. Here's some suggestions for evidence I would accept (in a vague order of increasing desperation).  I'm sure the millions of people still captivated by this story have many other ideas as well, and you're welcome to share those here. Mayb... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by Trelane 12 months ago
"Was Amelia Earhart really eaten by giant crabs?" God, I hope so.


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