They live on Pacific islands and spend most of their days in the shade of the coconut trees, although they’re not particularly fond of the nuts themselves.
Their diet consists mainly of fruit, seeds, and nuts, but they’ll gladly feast on any type of carrion they run into when they have the chance.
They’ll strip the bones clean of any meat in a matter of hours. As to the bones, they’re not equipped to eat those, but experiments have shown they can drag and scatter bones 60 feet away.
In 1940, three years after Amelia Earhart vanished, a group of British settlers on the island discovered 13 human bones, most of them belonging to a skull.
At the time, the bones were presumed to belong to a short, stocky European male, but modern scientists are challenging that hypothesis.
According to Ballard’s team, which included several National Geographic archaeologists, the coconut crab theory explains why only a few bones were ever found.
The rest were scattered by the coconut crabs and might have ended deep in their burrows or the sea.
The Anti-Freckle Cream Clue
How do we even know Amelia Earhart made it to the island? The answer lies in the glass fragments found on the island.
Historian Richard Gillespie has collected several glass fragments and painstakingly put them together to form a container.
Gillespie, who has spent more than 30 years trying to solve the mystery, is optimistic the glass came from an anti-freckle cream trendy at the time.
Amelia Earhart hated her freckles and was known to hide them under a thick layer of “Dr. C H Berry’s Freckle Ointment.”
“It would have worked as it was 80 percent mercury – it was so potent that the mercury had impregnated onto the glass, which is how we know what it was,” Gillespie said in an interview.
He has also recovered a part of a knife, which, according to him, corresponds to one item on the inventory list for the ill-fated journey.
Gillespie also claims to have discovered fragments of a compact powder kit and a hand-lotion very popular at the time.
In his opinion, Amelia Earhart, with or without Fred Noonan, could have survived for a time by fishing and boiling water.
Or by eating coconut crabs, which are considered a delicacy today. However, he disagrees with the theory that the coconut crabs disposed of Earhart’s remains.