Tag Archive: Ketchum Study


Bigfoot research over the decades has had its ups and downs. What I love most are the true scientists that come forward to assist us in the daily fight against pseudo-science and at the same time assist us in the fight against the mainstream science which out of many times, opinion discounts what thousands of witnesses have seen over the generations.

 

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(Left): Track found investigating a sighting report in Whitehall, NY 2003, (Right) Track found along the Poultney River, Vermont. (Photo Credit: Steve Kulls)

 

One other double standard was the discovery of the Bili Ape. It began to originate from footprint evidence that there was a different type of primate inhabiting the jungles of Africa. However since day one, science has discounted the numerous tracks found by people, citing hoax or misidentification from minute one.

 

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(Left) Print found in Chautauqua County, NY 2016, (Right) Track-way of the Fort Ann Cast 2006) (Photo Credit: Steve Kulls)

Also misleading are some of the statements made by the skeptical scientists interviewed on some documentaries. They generally state opinion. One skeptical scientist actually stated, “If these things were out here, people would be seeing them.”

WHAT????

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Squatchdetective Field Investigation Team camp shot 2013

 

The sad fact is though with the proliferation of social media, it has become easy for false news stories and junk science to be promoted as fact. And it allows people whom naively follow people without doing their homework.

We have seen this time and time again with some of the folks exposed in the Hall of Shame. They obtain a following and what they say is gospel to the people who blindly accept what they preach. That is usually until they do their own research.

I’ve always said here, “Don’t take my word for it. Do your own research and use what I say as a starting point.”

 

Deflating the Claims of the Ketchum Study

One such scientist that’s on our side, being that he is looking at things from an unbiased point of view is Dr. Haskell V. Hart, who breaks down the nitty-gritty of DNA results and puts them to the test. Particularly Dr. Melba Ketchum’s DNA Study.

The first thing that threw my BS Meter abuzz was the manner in which she released the information.

Many forget about a press release a day or two before the release of the study. This violated the normal standard for scientific studies being released into the public.  Dr. Ketchum was charging $30  for a download of the report the next day. Sounded to me like it was a promotional pitch to increase sales, much the way Apple releases their products.

Now one might say she was trying to recoup what she spent in the study, however she was charging the folks that submitted samples in the study for those costs. Not to mention a draconian non-disclosure agreement. Basically stating they had a right to get the results, but couldn’t talk about it, ever, at all unless Dr. Ketchum herself, gives permission.

All of this sounds highly irregular right? But it goes on.

Ketchum had published the study in a scientific journal called the Denovo Journal, which at the time of release was called the Journal of Advanced Multidisciplinary Exploration in Zoology.

Shortly thereafter, as all skeptical Bigfoot researchers do, dug up the fact she owned the very journal and was purchased very recently to the study being published.

Ketchum stated,

“After this journal agreed to publish the manuscript, their legal counsel advised them not to publish a manuscript on such a controversial subject as it would destroy the editors’ reputations (as it has already done to mine).  I have documentation on all of this drama.  So, rather than spend another five years just trying to find a journal to publish and hoping that decent, open minded reviewers would be chosen, we acquired the rights to this journal and renamed it so we would not lose the passing peer reviews that are expected by the public and the scientific community.  Denovo, the new journal is aimed at offering not only more choices and better service to scientists wanting to submit a manuscript, but also reviewers and editors that will be fair, unlike the treatment we have received.

It has been a long and tedious battle to prove that Sasquatch exists.  We have had the proof for nearly 5 years but building enough data to convince mainstream science has taken a lot of time.  Trying to publish has taken almost two years.  It seems mainstream science just can’t seem to tolerate something controversial, especially from a group of primarily forensic scientists and not “famous academians” aligned with large universities, even though most of our sequencing and analysis was performed at just such facilities.

We encountered the worst scientific bias in the peer review process in recent history.  I am calling it the “Galileo Effect”.  Several journals wouldn’t even read our manuscript when we sent them a pre-submission inquiry.  Another one leaked our peer reviews.  We were even mocked by one reviewer in his peer review.”

 

Did Ketchum realize that Albert Einstein formulated his theory of General Relativity in 1911 and didn’t get it published until 1919?

The process of publishing a scientific paper is grueling and tedious. No doubt she had some push back given what I stated earlier, but patience and perseverance is what normally wins the day.

So this puts the entire publication in doubt, whether it be by misstep or otherwise.

I was waiting too for something incredible and instead was immediately disappointed.

Soon afterward Dr. Ketchum fell into the category of what some researchers call the “woo.” She began to claim Bigfoot was braiding her horses hair on her ranch, and a very bizarre to say the least Bigfoot encounter.

“She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes

“In shape no bigger than an agate stone…

That plaits the manes of horses in the night

And bakes the elflocks in foul sluttish hairs,

Which once untangled, much misfortune bodes.”

(Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet Act One Scene 4).

An article on Elf and Fairy Knots and lore can be read here. Now we can move those into the Bigfoot column.

Enter Dr. Haskell V. Hart…

image Dr. Haskell V. Hart holds a PhD in chemistry from Harvard University and has a physical, inorganic, and analytical chemistry research background. He was Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, after which he was Senior Staff Research Chemist and Research Manager at Shell Chemicals. At Shell he both conducted analytical research and managed various analytical departments. His research interests have included analytical applications of x-ray diffraction, electron diffraction (two database patents), and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Since his retirement, he has focused on long-range detectors and application of DNA sequencing to species identification, especially relict hominoid candidates. His blog, www.bigfootclaims.blogspot.com, contains over thirty articles on this subject and related issues.

Dr. Hart did a study of his own on the Ketchum Study and came up with some interesting take aways for those who want the science to debunk Ketchum’s rather incredible findings of a new Relic Hominid.

As suspected by this writer, and stated in the past, the problem was the Primer which is used to scan an area for like DNA. They used a Human primer, and not surprisingly we got mostly human results aside from contamination. They did not use a universal primer approach which would have been the appropriate primer to use for an unknown sample. (Hence could be the fitting of evidence to a story rather than fitting the story to the evidence.)

Dr. Hart breaks down the processes and how Ketchum was dealing with either contaminated or degraded DNA samples. And he breaks down some of the Study’s samples into a proper reading in the GenBank. Here’s just some of the highlights:


Further examination of the extra mutations in Table 2 here shows that in S2, S26, S36, S39b, S44 and S46, most of these extra mutations could be attributed to a second haplogroup, i.e. a contamination. However, Ketchum et al., in their paper and publicly, steadfastly deny any contamination in any of their samples…

Clearly, the Ketchum et al. study would have benefitted from this universal primer approach. Sequencing “whole” nDNA genomes of a black bear (S26) and a dog (S140) would have been avoided, and likely many other samples would have shown nonhuman matches by mtDNA sequencing with universal primers. It seems unlikely that all 111 of their study samples collected in the woods would turn out to have human mtDNA as reported, unless, of course, they were contaminated.

 Short Tandem Repeats at Microsatellite Loci… The method is used in criminal forensics and population genetics, and was used by Ketchum et al. (2013). Unfortunately, the method requires that you know what species you are dealing with and what the lagging and leading strand sequences are in order to pick the correct primers to sequence the intervening STRs (number of repeats). The method is not suitable for totally unknown samples.  

Specific Gene Sequencing…In a manner similar to mitochondrial methods, primers can be selected to target a specific portion of a nuclear gene, usually to detect SNPs related to a specific phenotype (gene expression). Ketchum et al. (2013) used this method with several genes, as discussed below. Again, the method requires detailed knowledge of the specific species’ gene sequence to select appropriate primers. The method is not suitable for totally unknown samples.  

 Bead Array Analysis for SNPs…The method is not suitable for totally unknown samples, except as a very expensive and complex way of matching an unknown sample to a very specific known species, with no indication of the species if there is no match.  This was the Ketchum et al. (2013) approach: attempting to match unknown samples to human.  

Use of a reference sequenceUnfortunately, their method used human chromosome 11 as a reference for the sequencing, thereby both greatly reducing the length of the resulting consensus sequences and biasing them toward only highly conserved human genes.

S26… Ketchum et al. concluded that all three sequences were from an unknown male primate/human female hybrid, and that they contained a mosaic of both human and other primate segments.  Sample 26 is a black bear  Ursus americanus). From searches of Genbank with BLAST™, using the whole S26 nDNA sequence as query, it was found that S26  matched  human and other primates only 94-95%, but matched polar bear (Ursus maritimus) about 98-99%. Black bear sequences in GenBank were sparse and relatively short, but matched S26 100%.

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Will someone please feed S26?

S31… Ketchum et al. correctly concluded that S31 is human. Most database hits were 100% ID modern human (Hart, 2016a).

 

 

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That’s not quite what we expected!!! 100% Modern Human???

S140… Sample 140 is a dog (Canis lupus familiaris) or less likely a wolf or coyote, not a sasquatch. Since there is a wealth of dog DNA in GenBank, no other source was queried.  Hits averaged 99% ID match to dog compared to 94% for both human and other primates (Hart, 2016a).

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Here’s what S140 is… (I knew I would work a way to get Watson on the blog!!)

Source: Research Article:  DNA AS EVIDENCE FOR THE EXISTENCE OF RELICT HOMINOIDS  by Haskell V. Hart Ph.D

Dr. Haskell outlines the proper DNA sequencing of unknown subjects at the end of his report as well. A great guideline for future DNA studies.

Dr. Hart’s report can be found at:

 http://www2.isu.edu/rhi/pdf/HART-DNA-Evidence.pdf


So there we have it. It would appear that the Ketchum Study had a theory prior to testing, and went with it.

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Picture on Dr. Ketchum’s site… wow.

The results for them were either one pointing to what they wanted to believe, versus what it was actually.  Her bias, I cannot prove, but in my opinion it was there. And now, there seems to be some science behind that opinion. 

Well at least that’s how I see it.

 

Now onto some hope…

I always love when things are found. In one case the Sea Blob was finally photographed after not being seen for over 100 years. The Bathochordaeus charon, not seen in 100 years was photographed in Monterey Bay, California.

 

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The Bathochordaeus charon. (Credit: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.)

And in other exciting news scientists have found dinosaur feathers (that’s right feathers) embedded in amber.

 

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(Source: Current Biology)

The Scientist.com writes:

The feathered tail of a 99-million-year-old dinosaur, complete with eight vertebral segments as well as evidence of soft tissue and blood, has been found in Cretaceous amber, according to a December 8 study in Current Biology. The 1.4-inch segment likely came from a coelurosaur about the size of a sparrow, the authors wrote in their paper.

New discoveries and rediscovered animals, motivates me as we still know very little about what has inhabited, or continues to inhabit, this planet!

Till Next Time

Squatch-D

Being steeped in reality is what we all need to be sometimes. Sometimes we need to listen to the “old timers,” and put ego aside, self included.

In other cases we need to stop becoming “dreamers.”

Sometimes we even stop being fair, or nice and become investigators. Verify.


Sierra Kills and Dr. Brian Sykes

This week we’ve had some major developments in Bigfoot body cases, the first via Dr. Brian Sykes, NatGeo Channel concerning the alleged Sierra Kills shooter Justin Smeja.

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Justin Smeja…DNA all bear.  

Turns out everything is bear or nothing…the steak (which we knew from other DNA tests) and of course now the bloody boot which turned up no useable DNA. Hence no Squatch.

All we have is a video via a FLIR device by veteran researcher Bart Cutino that may or may not substantiate Sasquatch activity in the area the kill had allegedly occurred.

Still I must say that at least in those cases physical evidence was turned over to scientists for analysis, giving me the leeway to at least stay on the fence and have some hope.

But, as a friend said to me the other day, “Hope is for suckers.” Show me something concrete.

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, the Sierra Kills now becomes that of Bigfoot Legend and Lore and much debate for the future generations of those who want to mix it up and fight over the topic, the same as the Ketchum Study, the PG Film, The Massacre Debate and so on and so forth.


MiB’s and Rick Dyer… AGAIN! 

It should come as no surprise that a person so angered over the Sierra Kill has been one Rick Dyer.

See many folks think that the major motivation was money. Wrong, not at first. It is no coincidence that He really started making the rounds again right after the announcement of the Sierra Kill. He publicly called Smeja a hoaxer, but claimed himself to be truthful.

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Rick Dyer…”MiB’s took my Bigfoot…AGAIN!”

I mean how can you be the “Best Bigfoot Tracker in the World,” if someone else brought one down or in before you?

Let’s not forget, just how angry Dyer was with the old Team Tazer. He bought all the domain names he could with the name Team Tazer.

Then he tries to call out his enemies, when one or more (me) calls him out and actually goes to Los Angeles, he tries in vain to hurt me by attempting me to spend hundreds of dollars on a cab ride, which he claimed he would pay. Luckily it did not work out that way. Click here to read about the LA trip.

 

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(From Left to Right) Plane Tic to LAX, LAX and the “No Show Party!” with Bugs Mitchell.

Then doesn’t show. Claims a great victory, leaving many of his followers stunned and saying, “What the ^&#*@?” The next day all but a small handful of his followers are left. In following weeks, more jump ship.

Little obsessed? You bet!!!

The Ketchum Study build up was at it’s peak as well. That became a bust for most over the course of the last year, as it has not been accepted by science.

Now that the Sierra Kill DNA is bear, and the Syke’s Study has made no significant Bigfoot breakthrough, it does not surprise me, in the least, that Dyer has bowed out and has been leading up to this since coincidentally with the announcement of the NatGeo show that would reveal the samples authenticity or not.

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(Left) HotDocs in Toronto in April..decent turnout. (Right: Courtesy of Joe Mastroianni) the NY showing in November and post the calling Dyer’s bluff in LA in August… theater very empty.

 

MiB’s took his Bigfoot. Zero for originality, as he used that excuse in 2011 already. Sounds like someone is “selling their cabbages twice,” as my father used to say.

However, I don’t think for one second, this is the last of seeing Rick Dyer.

Unless the Feds get him this time.

Dyer’s website as of this morning has this message. Gone are the memberships, he was once selling.

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Message on Dyer’s web site this morning, blog has been silent since Nov. 17th, 2013

But if there is someone claiming to bring one in or has bagged one, be certain Dyer will be there with another “Hank.”

If Dyer has any more supporters, then they need a severe reality check, as most did in August after I and some others called Dyer’s bluff in California. That sent a full house


The Aftermath

Why can’t some of us let this go…

well there is something teachable in everything here.

1. The No-Brainer: Some people are just liars…

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(Left to Right) Famous Fibbers: Tom Biscardi (I saw it, I touched it, I smelled it), Allen (Musky Allen) Issleb (It was partially embalmed), Ricky Dyer (I am the best Bigfoot Tracker in the world), Linda Newton-Perry (If the photo of “Big Clyde” is a fake I will shut down Bigfoot Ballyhoo.)

Especially when they have a track record of it, making grandiose claims not attempting to support it with any evidence. Or the evidence upon closer inspection is doctored or misrepresented.

All, in my opinion seem to suffer some sort of defect, making up lies about people to further their cause or make them sound like the victim.

There is a commonality about all of them.

2. The Unfortunate Part: Some people are naïve, even if they are super intelligent. And sometimes play into the hoaxer’s plan.

Consequences

Some of the more notable willing victims, Vermont researcher Chris Noel, and the Facebook FindBigfoot Team, who still had trouble coming to grips with the truth even after L.A.

Doesn’t make them evil, just makes them unreliable if they don’t change their methodology and trains of thought. I hope for their sake they do. I don’t like seeing anyone fail that had only good intentions and their mistake was believing in Dyer.

We are only human.

Unfortunately one of those human qualities is pride and ego.

Facebook FindBigfoot did make the statement of getting out of the game if this turned sour. And it did. So it is hard to say what the future holds for them. If they back out on it, will the world hold them to their feet to the fire like I did Linda Newton-Perry two years ago?

Difference there is Perry wasn’t a victim, she was the source of all the hoaxes on her site. FB/FB were approached by Dyer and believed him. The Issleb involvement cemented  their belief. So can we forgive them? I think so, but only if their work going forward is a little more objective.

They need to learn to listen to those who are in the know.

Example: I wrote a book on this Dyer guy as well as a few of his co-conspirators from 2008 since I was at ground zero…and they ignored everything I said for a majority of the time about the truth of this man… they were his victims.

And as true to life, some victims start off by being willing victims.

Too important of a lesson should be learned here by the the majority of the researchers that were naïve to believe in Dyer’s lies, were that they were only in research post Body Hoax 2008.

They wanted to give Dyer a pass on his previous actions. For some reason they forgot all his other lies between then and now, like another body, oh and the how the MiB’s got that one too.

But for the Naïve: Don’t want to believe me? Proceed at your own risk.


In Summary

We can let go of the parties responsible and ignore them.

But we should never forget them.

To forget them, we would end up forgetting the lesson.

And we as a race, do that all too often.

So it actually looks like we might start off 2014 with new business instead of all this unresolved stuff like Ketchum, Sykes, Smeja, Dyer, Smith… etc.

Till Next Time,

Squatch-D

Well here goes a blog, I’ve had to think out a while. Last week I highlighted an article in this blog where Houston Chronicle science reporter, Eric Berger, belittles Dr. Ketchum using an anonymous geneticist who wishes to remain out of the fray for the sake of ridicule. 

 

 

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Houston Chronicle science reporter Eric Berger.

 

Some have criticized the fact that the source was from an anonymous source. I won’t hold that against the scientist, because how many times have we kept a witness confidential?

Would it be fair to discount the encounter reports by witnesses wishing to remain anonymous?

Obviously no.

But on the other hand, was it fair for this reporter to just state the results were this without any factual basis to back it up to be verified by the public?

Absolutely not.

(Why am I maintaining my source’s anonymity? Because some of his peers would question his engagement on such a topic, believing it unworthy of valuable research time. But make no mistake, he is a top-notch scientist at the top of his field.)

                                                                                             -Eric Berger, 7/1/13

What the journalist is asking us is to trust him, rather than trust Melba. He said she said…

Sorry, I call shenanigans.

More matter of fact, we reached out to Berger for him to come on the radio show and explain how his test came about, how the samples were provided what types of testing were done, insuring the anonymity of his source, and answer other questions. Of course our inquiries were not answered at all.

What does Mr. Berger have to hide? Why the professional discourtesy? A week is enough time to at least answer the request.

In my opinion an ethical journalist would find a source that would go on record and test the sample data, and provide some documentation in the article that condemns another scientist’s work. Not a “trust me” demeanor.

Even as a “mere little blogger and podcaster,” my ethics would have only allowed information with that standard to be allowed on my media outlets.

Since Berger’s article lacks that, is mere here say.

However…

Does the Ketchum Study reveal all the scientists and labs that worked on the samples? Could there be some equal ethical consideration on that side as well?

If not, it’s shenanigans as well. What’s good for the goose IS good for the gander as well. And I say to the proponents of the study, you can’t have it both ways.

There was one scientist more recently, who took to task the Ketchum study, not testing a sample from the project but rather reading the report itself and finding flaw with it.

Perhaps if Dr. Ketchum feels this scientist is in error she can send him a sample.

Thanks to Matt Knapp over at Bigfoot Crossroads, in this blog he highlights the Ars Technica website and a scientist who has written a rather lengthy article, technical, yet enough in layman’s terms to be understood, as he breaks down everything for us.

To me it is the best breakdown to date, why myself and many of my colleagues feel the study went askew.

The scientist, is Ph.D in Molecular and Cell Biology, Dr. John Timmer, not just a science reporter like Berger.

His bio is rather quite impressive, from his online bio:

John-TimmerJohn (Timmer) is Ars Technica’s science editor. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. John has done over a decade’s worth of research in genetics and developmental biology at places like Cornell Medical College and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He’s been a speaker at the annual meeting of the National Association of Science Writers and the Science Online meetings, and he’s one of the organizers of the Science Online NYC discussion series. In addition to being Ars’ science content wrangler, John still teaches at Cornell and does freelance writing, editing, and programming.

What we have is a breakdown by a science writer. who is credentialed, perhaps even more so in genetics than Dr. Ketchum, who’s doctorate is in veterinarian medicine. 

Here is one such sample from the article condemning the study to turning a blind eye to the truth, for a more romantic idea, which is the summation (not that we’ve seen that in the Bigfoot community over the years..ha..ha) :

If the DNA was human and had not degraded much during its time in the environment, then most of these reactions should produce a clear, human-like signal. The same would be true if, as Ketchum concluded, the samples contained DNA from a close relative of humans (remember, chimps’ DNA is over 95 percent identical to ours). If the animal were more distantly related, you might expect some reactions to work and some to fail, with the percentage of failures going up as the degree of relatedness fell. In some cases, you might expect the reactions to produce a PCR product that was the wrong size due to changes in DNA content that occur during evolution.

But you can’t necessarily expect the DNA to sit outdoors and remain intact. DNA tends to break into fragments, with the size of the fragments shrinking over time. Depending on how degraded the sample is, you might see more or fewer reactions failing.

What they saw was a chaotic mix of things. As Ketchum herself put it, "We would get these crazy different variants of sequence. We would get these things that were novel in genbank. We would get a lot of failure, and we’d get some that would have regular human sequence," Ketchum said. "We could not account for this, and it was repeatable."

All of which suggested that there was likely to be DNA present that was only distantly related to humans; anything that was from a human or close relative was probably seriously degraded…

…So all the initial data suggested that the DNA was badly preserved and probably contaminated. Which in turn suggests that whatever techniques they used to get DNA from a single, uncontaminated source just wasn’t sufficient for the samples they were working with. But instead of reaching that conclusion, the bigfoot team had an alternative: their technique worked perfectly fine. It was the sample that was unusual.

                                                                                                      Ars Technica, 7/7/13

Too often, as we’ve seen in the field, people get romantic about the existence of the Sasquatch and alleged evidence they have found. And they get dead set on it without stepping out of the area and looking at it without bias.

Bottom line, nobody except a few of you here even care about the truth. Most would rather perpetuate that BF is a myth or an ape.”

                                                                                        – Dr. Melba Ketchum statement

And that is the usual blanket excuse (as well as untrue) of those committed to an opinion rather than to the science and review of such.

Coming from a scientist, who needs to look at their own results without bias, I find the statement disappointing and typical of the same type of witness who insists there blobsquatch is a Bigfoot no matter what inconsistencies you point out.

Usually when the conversation devolves to a statement as such, any debate and constructivism is lost upon the statement maker.

Read Dr. Timmer’s article.

I will let the audience and time to be the judge.

Till next time,

Squatch-D

This just in…

A reporter from The Houston Chronicle states he spoke with Melba for an hour and was allowed for a geneticist friend of his double check one or more of the samples from the Ketchum project which were from a “Novel and Non-Human Species.”

The results were that of an opossum and other mixed species, dealing yet another blow to the long waited for and revered “Ketchum Study.”

The article can be read here:

Back in February I savaged the release of a research paper that claimed to prove the existence of Bigfoot by providing a DNA sequence from the species.

The paper contained details of DNA from the “Sasquatch genomes,” which the authors characterized as novel and non-human.

Following the paper’s publication I solicited the views of several geneticists on the work. From their reading of the scientific paper — published in a journal that had been started just the week before — they said at best the evidence was inconclusive.

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Ketchum

In summarizing my views of the work, led by Nacogdoches geneticist Melba Ketchum, I was blunt and brutal:

If Ketchum really had the goods she would have co-authored the paper with reputable scientists and gotten the work published in a reputable scientific journal. Instead she’s playing to an audience that doesn’t understand how science works, that wants to believe Bigfoot exists and is willing to send her some cash to further their delusions.

A funny thing happened later that week — Ketchum called me. We spoke for nearly an hour, and after the bad things I had written about her research, I was impressed that she bore  no grudge and wanted to nonetheless engage with me. It was a good and constructive conversation.

I am first and foremost a journalist, and I figured if there was even a 1 percent chance that the Bigfoot evidence was real, it was worth my time to check the story out.

So I agreed to be an intermediary between Ketchum and a highly reputable geneticist in Texas, whom I trusted and knew personally. I also knew that this geneticist was first and foremost a scientist, and if there was even a 1 percent chance the Bigfoot evidence was real, he’d want check out the story. I asked, and he was willing to approach the evidence with an open mind.

(Why am I maintaining my source’s anonymity? Because some of his peers would question his engagement on such a topic, believing it unworthy of valuable research time. But make no mistake, he is a top-notch scientist at the top of his field.)

The deal was this: I would hold off writing anything until this geneticist had his lab test the DNA samples obtained by Ketchum that were purportedly a novel and non-human species. If the evidence backed up Ketchum’s claims, I had a blockbuster story. My geneticist source would have a hand in making the scientific discovery of the decade, or perhaps the century. Ketchum would be vindicated.

In short, we would all have been winners.

Alas, I met my geneticist friend this past week and I asked about the Bigfoot DNA. It was, he told me, a mix of opossum and other species. No find of the century.

Source: http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2013/07/i-had-the-bigfoot-dna-tested-in-a-highly-reputable-lab-heres-what-i-found/

Till Next Time,

Squatch-D

In the last few days, Dr. Melba Ketchum has released her five year report so anxiously we were awaiting two years ago. I took some time to let reactions settle in the community and mainstream to make my assessment, as sometimes a pragmatic approach is the best.

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Now my job here is not to slam Dr. Ketchum, but rather take an honest look at what exactly went wrong.

This is a look without basis for motive, or supposition, but rather a dry look at why the Ketchum Study has failed.

Make no mistake, it has failed, as it missed the mark in being published in an established scientific journal with peer review with some degree of scientific acceptance.

As painful as that sounds to many, that is the cold hard fact of the matter, and I won’t pull that punch.

I will comment however that her solution to not being published in an established scientific journal was a rather unique one.

Then charge $30 to get a copy of the paper? (I understand much time effort, blood, sweat, tears and money went into the study, so I understand the reasoning behind it.)

Does it seem dubious? It could be construed as such by some. And that therein lies part of the problem.

I’m not saying it is, but perception is reality.

I’ve been critical of the study for a while now, after first being an ardent supporter, but I do feel a sort of melancholy that this most likely become another facet of Bigfoot Lore. I’m not saying the conclusions in the paper are right or wrong, if they came from a Sasquatch or not, I’m merely saying that in a study of such scientific relevance to the world all your T’s must be crossed and your I’s dotted.

In this case it failed epically, and to me that is the biggest disappointment, because for the last few years some researchers banked that this would be it. 2013 was being billed as the “Year of the Sasquatch.” I too was hopeful and wished it would have succeeded.

In an older blog post, I stated that sometimes we all get caught up in the hypocrisy of it all, even faulting myself for wanting to hear, or Dr. Ketchum to say something as far back as August of 2011 about the study to quell the folks clamoring for more, in true opposition to the scientific process. I also stated that in reflection that I was wrong having that attitude. We must let science take its course.

But in a stunning turn of events, perhaps out of frustration, Dr. Ketchum decided to implement a unique solution, doing a complete 180, which appears to me a fumble, when you’re down by 5 in the red zone with seconds left on the clock.

In retrospect if I looked at this as an outsider, it looks to me as an act of desperation.

By Dr. Ketchum’s own words that may be more fact than speculation.

“Rather than spend another five years just trying to find a journal to publish and hoping that decent, open minded reviewers would be chosen, we acquired the rights to this journal and renamed it so we would not lose the passing peer reviews that are expected by the public and the scientific community. 

DeNovo, the new journal is aimed at offering not only more choices and better service to scientists wanting to submit a manuscript, but also reviewers and editors that will be fair, unlike the treatment we have received.

It has been a long and tedious battle to prove that Sasquatch exists.  We have had the proof for nearly 5 years but building enough data to convince mainstream science has taken a lot of time. 

Trying to publish has taken almost two years.  It seems mainstream science just can’t seem to tolerate something controversial, especially from a group of primarily forensic scientists and not “famous academians” aligned with large universities, even though most of our sequencing and analysis was performed at just such facilities.

We encountered the worst scientific bias in the peer review process in recent history.  I am calling it the “Galileo Effect”.  Several journals wouldn’t even read our manuscript when we sent them a pre-submission inquiry.  Another one leaked our peer reviews.  We were even mocked by one reviewer in his peer review.”                

                                                                          Dr. Melba Ketchum

Source: http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2013/02/like-omg-bigfoot-dna-paper-is-published/

 

Yes as Dr. Ketchum stated, there are people that are known as “scoftics” that exist and that is sad, not less than leaking the peer review. Very sad indeed. And I can understand and sympathize with the feelings associated with that. As researchers and investigators of this mystery we all know the feeling all too well.

But in the true nature of things, patience is a virtue, and it takes a very thick skin, as it took years for even Einstein to prove his law of relativity. One must think, you must pound down doors to get acceptance in science for something as controversial as the Sasquatch.

But do the mainstream skeptics bring up valid points?

As investigators and researchers we have to put aside our bias that the creatures exist, and take value at what some of the scientists are saying.

Gripes about the new journal

TheScientist.com

“However, geneticists who have seen the paper are not impressed. “To state the obvious, no data or analyses are presented that in any way support the claim that their samples come from a new primate or human-primate hybrid," Leonid Kruglyak of Princeton University told the Houston Chronicle. “Instead, analyses either come back as 100 percent human, or fail in ways that suggest technical artifacts.”

The website for the DeNovo Journal of Science was setup on February 4, and there is no indication that Ketchum’s work, the only study it has published, was peer reviewed.”

Source: http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/34395/title/Bigfoot-DNA-is-Bunk/

 

The Mother Nature Network

“DeNovo proclaims itself to be a peer-reviewed journal, but in her commentary, Ketchum says she is using peer reviews from a previous journal that rejected the manuscript.

In another odd twist that differentiates DeNovo from other scientific journals, it claims to be open access — which normally means that a publication’s papers are available to the public for free — yet it charges $30 to read the Sasquatch paper.

The news site Ars Technica paid the $30 fee for a copy of the paper and called it "a mess."

Source: http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/research-innovations/stories/bigfoot-evidence-conclusive-says-scientifically-dubious

The science of the report

ArsTechnica.com known for breaking down scientific papers had the following analysis, breaking down why the study may have failed the peer review process to me what may be more indicative why than just bias or controversy alone:

“To begin with, the mitochondrial DNA of the samples (when it can be isolated) clusters with that of modern humans. That isn’t itself a problem if we assume that those doing the interbreeding were human females, but the DNA sequences come from a variety of different humans—16 in total. And most of these were "European or Middle Eastern in origin" with a few "African and American Indian haplotypes." Given the timing of the interbreeding, we should only be seeing Native American sequences here. The authors speculate that some humans may have walked across the ice through Greenland during the last glaciation, but there’s absolutely no evidence for that. The best explanation here is contamination.

As far as the nuclear genome is concerned, the results are a mess. Sometimes the tests picked up human DNA. Other times, they didn’t. Sometimes the tests failed entirely. The products of the DNA amplifications performed on the samples look about like what you’d expect when the reaction didn’t amplify the intended sequence. And electron micrographs of the DNA isolated from these samples show patches of double- and single-stranded DNA intermixed. This is what you might expect if two distantly related species had their DNA mixed—the protein-coding sequences would hybridize, and the intervening sections wouldn’t. All of this suggests modern human DNA intermingled with some other contaminant.

The authors’ description of the sequence suggests that it’s human DNA interspersed with sequence from some other primate—hence the interbreeding idea. But the best way to analyze this would be to isolate the individual segments of non-human DNA and see what species those best align with.

If the authors have done that, they don’t say. They also don’t mention how long the typical segment of non-human DNA is. Assuming interbreeding took place as the authors surmise, these segments should be quite long, since there hasn’t been that much time to recombine. The fact that the authors don’t mention this at all is pretty problematic.”

Source: http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/02/bigfoot-genome-paper-conclusively-proves-that-sasquatch-is-real/

 

The Houston Chronicle spoke with two geneticists.

KRUGLYAK2

 

 

Dr. Leonid Kruglyak, (Kruglyak Lab, Princeton University)

“To state the obvious, no data or analyses are presented that in any way support the claim that their samples come from a new primate or human-primate hybrid. Instead, analyses either come back as 100% human, or fail in ways that suggest technical artifacts.

They make the bizarre claim that the failures might be caused by novel, nonstandard structure of the DNA (“Electron micrographs of the DNA revealed unusual double strand – single strand – double strand transitions which may have contributed to the failure to amplify during PCR.”) which would mean this DNA was different from DNA in all other known species.

There’s also the strange statement they couldn’t deposit sequences in GenBank because it’s a new/unknown taxon — GenBank does that no problem.

The tree in Fig 16 is inconsistent with known primate phylogeny and generally makes no sense.”

 Figure 16, of the report. Source: http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/files/2013/02/Figure16.jpg

 

trd Dr. Todd Disotell, (SUNY at Syracuse, Geneticist) well known for his attempts at sequencing possible Bigfoot DNA, and MonsterQuest alumni, also has these stinging words to say,

“It’s clearly a fake Vanity Journal with lots of ShutterStock pictures, misspellings and it was only created on 2/4/13. I’ve only read the abstract and conclusion and neither makes any sense.”

Given these statements, I with a heavy heart say, it has to be time to go back to the drawing board on this one.

And I know, personally, several of the contributors with skin in the game, that by me saying this, it may hurt their feelings. My purpose here is not to hurt anyone’s feelings, or any of the contributors for that matter, but rather understand the shortcomings and hopefully in turn will motivate you to move on with a new course, and new attitude and to continue the hard work that brought us this far to date. At least there was an attempt. 

And while I think it was a noble and righteous attempt, it fell far short of hitting the mark, so what can we harbor from this as a teachable moment? 

  • Better collection and evidence gathering techniques. If researchers and investigators enter the forests, and you wish to collect forensic materials, be prepared and familiar yourself with good evidence collection procedures.
  • Document, Document, Document. I cannot emphasize that more. Be prepared to take plenty of pictures and video as well of the sample pre-collection post collection. Write an evidence log with time, date and location, GPS coordinates if not exactly sure where you are.
  • Finally, a brief synopsis on what brought you there to collect the evidence, witness sighting, history of sighting reports, anything to substantiate the claim that the sample may have come from a Sasquatch.

Till Next Time,

Squatch-D

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