By Tyler Brooks, staff writer
One of the underlying mysteries of history, the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, stands alongside Roanoke colony and Jesus’s underwear size in its lack of details and unsolvability. From citizen to scientist to Cheeto-soaked hermit, everyone has a favorite explanation: aliens, the Bermuda triangle, bad weather, and Somali pirates. But one crazy theory lies within reason as to why she can’t be found: crabs.
While crabs are better known for being under the sea, there are terrestrial crabs. The largest arthropod (shelled critters like bugs and crustaceans) is a robber crab, a three-foot wide crab, the upper limit for arthropod size. Robber crabs are native to the Indian Ocean where Earhart went missing. Robber crabs are also known as coconut crabs because their claws are strong enough to break coconuts with their claws, which is an incredible feat, as coconuts are close in hardness to bone.
Coconuts aren’t all that these beats eat, as they also enjoy fruits, nuts, rats, crabs, and carcasses. Coconut crabs, with help from other land crabs and the strawberry hermit crab, may have run off with the remains of Miss Earhart, both to scavenge alone and to break the bones and eat the bone marrow. Nikumaroro, an island in the Pacific, would have been seen from the air if Earhart had strayed off course, and is relatively near her intended landing spot, Howland Island.
The body of a person was discovered on Nikumaroro in 1940, but the on-site investigator claimed that “All small bones have been removed by giant coconut crabs which have also damaged larger ones. Difficult to estimate age bones owing to activities of crabs. . .” Robber crabs found the body, probably dead from starvation on the island, and tampered with the body. The huge crabs, over the course of three years, had taken all the meat from the bones and hidden the bones in their burrows. Hence, her remains have never been officially found, and she has remained missing ever since. Case CLOSED! Stop wondering about her, she gone.