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October 26, 2005

Scientists Begin Identification of Frozen Airman

- Scientists in Hawaii could be getting closer to uncovering the true identity of the airman found frozen in our local mountains.

The body arrived at the J.P.A.C. lab in Honolulu Monday.

Scientists are now using dental charting to try to narrow down the body's identity. They may even progress to DNA analysis.

But they emphasize the clues are more than skin deep.

"If you think of how we recognize someone walking down the street, or a friend of ours, we recognize them because we know the color of their hair, their eyebrows, the color of their eyes, their face, how tall they are, their mannerisms ... and a lot of those features that you see on the soft tissue, some of those features are reflected in the skeleton underneath," said anthropologist Bob Mann.

The J.P.A.C. lab is currently working to identify about 1,000 people from past wars, including two from the Civil War.

The lab's success rate is impressive. The staff positively identifies two remains each week.

Once the local airman is identified, he will be returned to his family and receive full military honors.


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