The 39-year-old’s plane vanished when she was trying to fly around the world in 1937.
The aviation pioneer had already become the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean five year earlier.
It was believed she had crashed into the sea after her pane Electra developed engine problems.
But now experts have re-examined bones first discovered in 1940 after they were washed up on the tiny atoll of Nikumaroro part of the nation of Kiribati.
And they think Mrs Earhart lived out her final days as a castaway stranded in the middle of the Pacific.
The International Group for Historic Aircraft Discovery based in Philadelphia has been trying to prove the bones uncovered belong to the American pilot since 1998, and how they “appear consistent with a female of Earhart’s height and ethnic origin”.
The bones had been previously confirmed to have belonged to a castaway, and not the victim of a plane crash. A comprehensive study of the Nikumaroro area showed bonfires had been lit and fish bones left around by someone living on the atoll.
“There is an entire final chapter of Earhart’s life that people don’t know about. She spent days – maybe months – heroically struggling to survive as a castaway,” Ric Gillespie, who led the study said.
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