A photo of a woman claimed to be missing US aviator Amelia Earhart is said to be proof that she survived a crash into the Pacific Ocean 80 years ago - but the picture has a major flaw, it can be revealed.
The picture showing a group of people - allegedly showing Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan - on a jetty on a Pacific island back in 1937 is the focus of a sensational TV documentary now being shown in the United States.
But MailOnline had access to this same picture a year ago - and an investigation in the US National Archives established that the photo was among a batch taken after 1940, at least three years after she disappeared.
An investigator who researched the photo for MailOnline firmly believed initially that the figures on the end of the jetty on the island of Jaluit, in the Pacific Marshall Islands, showed Earhart sitting down with her back to the camera, while Fred Noonan was pictured standing.
But when he established that the picture was among others contained in an envelope that clearly identified them as being taken on Jaluit after 1940 - at the very least three years after Earhart disappeared on an attempt to circumnavigate the world - his enthusiasm waned.
"The 1940+ date is probably the most disheartening of all," the investigator told MailOnline, pointing out other discrepancies, among them the body shapes of the figures that are now claimed in the new documentary as being those of Earhart and Noonan.
Now another recognised Earhart investigator, Mike Campbell, has also lashed out at what he described as "bogus photo claims".
Referring to how a number of tv networks were now "breathlessly touting the photo", Campbell said it wasn't evidence of anything except that a Japanese ship, the Koshu Maru - which is rumoured to have taken the Americans to Saipan, an island further north - was once in Jaluit Harbour.
There has been widespread claims down through the decades that because Japanese forces were in the Marshall Islands in July 1937, when Earhart's Lockheed aircraft lost contact and crashed "somewhere", the Japanese believed she was a spy and took her to Saipan where she and Noonan died.
Campbell claims that the photo "does little except discredit the truth".
He says that Earhart and Fred Noonan are "absolutely not in the photo and it's incredible that anyone could believe they are.
"Zoom in and you can see the upper half of a white man with black hair on the far left of the group on the dock," he says, but adds that the features, the nose, the hairline are all wrong "and any intelligent analysis rules him out".
Campbell says that "nobody in the photo remotely resembles Earhart inasmuch as anyone's facial features can be determined at all".
investigation a year ago also concluded that if Earhart and Noonan had been captured by the Japanese after surviving the crash of the Elektra the suspected spies would have been under guard, yet there is no sign of any Japanese soldier on the jetty.
Referring to a woman in a tropical island dress and to other people who are locals, Mr Campbell adds: "The group on the dock appears to be out for a Sunday stroll, or awaiting someone's arrival from one of the ships in the harbour."
A further discrepancy is centered around the actual presence of the two figures on the dock, when descendants of Marshall Islanders who claim to have seen the two Americans, say that once they were escorted onto the Koshu Maru off the island of Milli they were never allowed to leave the vessel at its next stop, Jailuit.
A MailOnline investigation found that one islander, Billion Amaron, was taken onto the vessel to help a doctor treat an injury to an American man's leg. He claimed he had also seen an American woman sitting on the deck.
But if Amaron's account can be believed, it is added evidence that the people on the dock in the Jaluit photo cannot be the fliers - Amaron went onto the Koshu Maru in July 1937 and the photo, according to the date on the envelope containing all pictures from that era, was shot at least three years later.
As the MailOnline's investigator who uncovered the questionable photo notes: "In the archives I found that the envelopes containing the photographs were stamped on the lower rear corner - something that was difficult to notice as they're in a three-ring binder/enclosure.
"The (aerial) surveillance photos in the first few envelopes were dated earlier than the 1940s, but the photos taken from on the island (Jaluit), that were in the latter envelopes, were dated 1940+".