NEWS: Skull Sent for DNA Testing Could Belong to Long-Lost Amelia Earhart

People have been trying to solve the mysterious disappearance of Amelia Earhart ever since she vanished over the Pacific Ocean in 1937. Countless theories and investigations have tried to locate her body, her plane, her co-pilot . . . any clue, big or small, that may finally tell us what fate met the famous female pilot in the Pacific. After over 80 years of searching, we may be closer to an answer than ever before.

Following a new expedition led by explorer Robert Ballard - who famously located the wreck of The Titanic - lost bones originally recovered from the island of Nikumaroro (where many believe Earhart may have crashed) have been re-found and sent for DNA testing. Among the bones are skull fragments that Ballard hopes and believes could be Earhart’s. If they are, then the world is several steps nearer to solving the mystery of her disappearance. Check out the developing story below, originally published by The Sun:

MYSTERY SOLVED? Skull thought to belong to doomed pilot Amelia Earhart is sent for DNA testing

The skull of the lost pilot Amelia Earhart may have been found more than 80 years after she mysteriously vanished.

Archaeologists say they found the doomed explorer's remains on a remote Pacific island near where she's presumed to have crash-landed in 1937.

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Amelia vanished alongside navigator Fred Noonan in July 1937 as she sought to take the crown as the first female pilot to circumnavigate the globe.

The pair of Americans had taken off from Papa New Guinea and were headed for nearby Howland Island when their radio went dark, spawning decades of searches and speculation.

Based on their flight path, it's believed Amelia and Fred crashed off an uninhabited atoll called Nikumaroro. They may have survived there for days before dying of thirst or heat exposure.

Now a National Geographic expedition to find out what happened has turfed up skull fragments that experts say may have belonged to Amelia.

Led by Robert Ballard, the deep-sea explorer who famously found the wrecked Titanic, the group say the bones were housed in a museum on the Pacific island of Tarawa.

They're believed to have come from a discovery on Nikumaroro in 1940.

That year, a partial human skeleton believed to be Amelia's was reportedly found by British colonists on the atoll.

The bones – only 13 in total – were sent to Fiji for examination and subsequently lost.

Nat Geo Society archaeologist Fredrik Hierbert claims he tracked down the long lost bones and has sent them for DNA testing.

The results are expected in a couple months.

Forensic anthropologist Erin Kimmerle said the skull, which experts are reconstructing for testing, belonged to an adult female.

"We don’t know if it’s her or not but all lines of evidence point to the 1940 bones being in this museum," she told Nat Geo.

If tests prove the bones belonged to Amelia, the find will mark a huge step in Ballard's quest to solve the mystery.

Ballard, 77, confirmed the team will return to the island should the tests come back positive.

The retired US Navy officer – who is famous for finding high-profile wrecks – is primarily attempting to find Amelia's plane: A twin-engine Lockheed Vega 5B.

His team has used remotely operated underwater vehicles to search the deep ocean around Nikumaroro, which is part of the Phoenix Islands.

An archaeological team has investigated a potential Earhart campsite with search dogs and DNA sampling.

Nat Geo will air a two-hour special on October 20.

Amelia became famous in the 1930s for breaking a number of aviation records, including becoming the first female pilot to make the transatlantic crossing in 1932.

She was 40 years old when she disappeared, and the riddle of exactly what happened to her has never been solved. (Click here to read the remainder of the article.)

Does discovering the fate of the lost Amelia Earhart still has modern-day significance? What do you think happened to the famous pilot and her co-pilot? Share your thoughts in the comments!