Last week brought the latest bit of drama surrounding Rick Dyer, Musky Allen, another dead probably fake Bigfoot and a battle of words between Musky Allen and Dr. Jeff Meldrum.
This week offers up the next chapter in the Melba Ketchum drama around the release of her Bigfoot DNA results, Bigfoot Evidence 101 and Dyer go on the attack to try and discredit her as the merry go round comes ’round again to see who will pull the brass ring?
Whoa, getting a little dizzy myself so lets slow it down.
I attended the Pacific Northwest Primal People conference in 2012 where Ketchum was announced to be releasing her results. Instead of those results, Ketchum, who could not be present in person, did a presentation over the phone with accompanying power point on the process that she developed and used to analyze the DNA samples, and gave examples of that process as it has been used and accepted in court. You can review that experience HERE.
In November 2012, results were leaked and a press release made the rounds announcing that Bigfoot was part HUMAN!
Yes, you read that correctly. It has been a theory suggestion that has been passed around the Bigfoot fringe (yes, even the search for Bigfoot has its fringe) and in my opinion raises serious questions, BUT the rock was thrown and the hornets nest was roused, and my opinion is just that, an opinion based upon incomplete information.
You can read that press release HERE.
Oh then Russian Yeti researchers joined the cast of characters and someone opened a bottle of Vodka and memories of the party get a little hazy, but in the morning a lot of people were left with a bad taste in their mouth, a big headache and the nagging feeling in the back of their minds that it was not over yet.
Things got quiet on the Ketchum front. Until yesterday Feb 12, 2013 (what is being called The Year of the Bigfoot). Ketchum made the following post on her Facebook page:
It seems there is to be an announcement that Dr. Ketchum’s results are to be printed in DeNovo Scientific Journal, a publication specializing in Genetics research. According to the DeNovo website:
DeNovo Publishing and Genomics Foundation primarily focuses its research efforts on biology, genetics, science and research.
Referees are a key component to maintaining the integrity of research and publishing.
Sounds good, except. Dr. Ketchum’s paper seems to be the first thing this publication will publish. And that seems odd to quite a few people. Does this discredit her work? Not by itself. If the work is sound and the peer review is legitimate, it is credible. Bigfoot Evidence 101 is making the allegation that Dr. Ketchum is behind DeNovo as a means of self publishing.
Ketchum had this to offer:
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. We did finally pass peer review with a relatively new journal. It took a fresh outlook on the part of the editors… and their careful selection of reviewers with knowledge of next generation whole genome sequencing in order to pass. I have no idea who the reviewers were though I have the reviews. That was kept confidential as is the way journals handle peer reviews. That was only part of the delay and problems associated with publication though. 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. We furthermore have adhered to all of the standards set here in the link below, especially since the entire review and agreement to publish was done at the previous journal:
We do not yet have access to results. However there are going to be serious questions about conflict of interest where Dr. Ketchum admits having a financial interest in the publication of her own work. She also offered a link to a related article. The case made in the excerpt below is NOT to be confused with Dr. Ketchum’s situation expressed above, it is merely another relevant case.
You can read the full article at Publication Ethics
The issue here basically revolves around whether it is acceptable for editors to publish their own work in their journals; if it is, then the review process must be made as transparent and rigorous as possible. Certainly there are examples of editors publishing studies in their own journals, particularly in those circumstances where the choice of journals is limited, as in this case. Provided every effort is made to minimise any bias in the review process by having another associate editor handle the peer review procedure independently of the editor (recognising that it would be impossible to remove bias completely), and the process is absolutely transparent, then this would be the most appropriate route to take. It was suggested that the editor send the article out for review without any names on it, but he said the subject field was so narrow and specialised that any reviewer would know who had written the paper. As an extra precaution, if and when the article in question is published, the editor might like to publish an accompanying commentary showing how transparent the reviewing process had been.
The editor was grateful for the advice which is now journal policy.
Here is the official announcement of publication of the results of the study of DNA from the creature alternatley called Bigfoot, or Sasquatch in North America:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THREE BIGFOOT GENOMES SEQUENCED IN 5-YEAR DNA STUDY
New Research Paper Published Friday Shows Homo Sapiens/Unknown Hominin Hybrid Species Extant in North America
DALLAS, February 10th –A team of scientists will publish their five-year long study of DNA samples from a novel hominin species, commonly known as “Bigfoot” or “Sasquatch,” on Friday February 15th, 2013. The results suggest that the legendary Sasquatch is extant in North America and is a human relative that arose approximately 13,000 years ago as a hybrid cross of modern Homo sapiens with an novel primate species.
The study, “Novel North American Hominins, Next Generation Sequencing of Three Whole Genomes and Associated Studies,” was conducted by a team of experts in genetics, forensics, imaging and pathology. The team, led by Dr. Melba Ketchum of DNA Diagnostics in Nacogdoches, TX, included Dr. Pat Wojtkiecicz, Director of the North Louisiana Criminalistics Laboratory; Ms. Aliece Watts of Integrated Forensic Laboratories in Euless, TX; Mr. David Spence, Trace Evidence Supervisor at Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences; Dr. Andreas K. Holzenburg, Director of the Microscopy & Imaging Center at Texas A&M University; Dr. Douglas G. Toler of Huguley Pathology Consultants in Fort Worth, TX; Dr. Thomas M. Prychitko of Wayne State University in Michigan; Dr. Fan Zhang of the University of North Texas Health Science Center; and Sarah Bollinger, Ray Shoulders, and Ryan Smith of DNA Diagnostics.
In total, 110 specimens of purported Sasquatch hair, blood, skin, and other tissue types were analyzed for the study. Samples were submitted by individuals and groups at 34 different hominin research sites in 14 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. Ketchum’s team sequenced 20 whole and 10 partial mitochondrial genomes, as well as 3 whole nuclear genomes, from the samples.
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) comes from mitochondria, energy-producing organelles in the cellular cytoplasm, and is passed down on the maternal lineage across generations. Nuclear DNA (nuDNA) is the genetic information contained in the cell nucleus and is the equal combination of DNA from the parents of an individual.
Initially a skeptic, Ketchum implemented strict protocols to ensure the scientific integrity of the study. DNA samples from submitters and scientists working with study specimens were obtained for use as controls. DNA was extracted from samples using forensic procedures to prevent contamination. Forensics experts examined the morphology of the submitted hair samples against known human and animal samples before beginning DNA testing. “We soon discovered that certain hair samples–which we would later identify as purported Sasquatch samples–had unique morphology distinguishing them from typical human and animal samples,” says Ketchum. “Those hair samples that could not be identified as known animal or human were subsequently screened using DNA testing, beginning with sequencing of mitochondrial DNA followed by sequencing nuclear DNA to determine where these individuals fit in the ‘tree of life.’”
After extensive forensic controls to prevent contamination, mtDNA testing of the Sasquatch samples yielded fully modern human profiles. Sixteen haplotypes indicating 100% homology with modern human mtDNA sequences were observed from 20 completed whole and 10 partial mitochondrial genomes. The human mtDNA results are consistent with prior, unrelated mtDNA tests of purported Sasquatch samples from other laboratories.
Next-generation whole genome sequencing with the HiSeq 2000 platform by Illumina was performed at the University of Texas, Southwestern on one tissue sample, a saliva sample and one blood sample to produce 3 whole genomes. In contrast to the mtDNA which was unambiguously modern human, the Sasquatch nuDNA results were a mosaic of novel primate and human sequence.
“While the three Sasquatch nuclear genomes aligned well with one another and showed significant homology to human chromosome 11 which is highly conserved in primates, the Sasquatch genomes were novel and fell well outside of known ancient hominin as well as ape sequences,” explains Ketchum. “Because some of the mtDNA haplogroups found in our Sasquatch samples originated as late as 13,000 years ago, we are hypothesizing that the Sasquatch are human hybrids, the result of males of an unknown hominin species crossing with female Homo sapiens.”
Hominins are members of the taxonomic grouping Hominini, which includes all members of the genus Homo.
“Novel North American Hominins, Next Generation Sequencing of Three Whole Genomes and Associated Studies.”
Authors: Ketchum MS, Wojtkiewicz PW, Watts AB, Spence DW, Holzenburg AK, Toler DG, Prychitko TM, Zhang F, Bollinger S, Shoulders R, Smith R.
Journal of Advanced Multidisciplinary Exploration in Zoology. 11 January 2013.
Specimens yielding DNA were obtained, purportedly from elusive hominins in North America called Sasquatch. Sequencing and genotyping were performed in addition to histopathologic and electron microscopic examination of a large tissue sample.
Novel North American Hominins, Next Generation Sequencing of Three Whole Genomes and Associated Studies
Ketchum, M. S., Wojtkiewicz, P. W., Watts, A. B., Spence, D. W., Holzenburg, A. K., Toler, D. G., Prychitko, T. M., Zhang, F., Bollinger, S., Shoulders, R., Smith, R. (2013)
Keywords: Species Identification, Human DNA Identification, Forensic Hair Analysis, Electron Microscopy, Next Generation Whole Genome Sequencing, Mitochondrial DNA
If you would like to get the official 63 page report you can do so for $30 at the Denovo Journal Website.
Along side this story is the release of video of an immature female named Mathilda who was found sleeping. In this video there is clear sign that the creature is breathing.
This video is shown with permission of and under copyright to Sasquatch Genome Project
Some days it just does not get easier to bring stories of the unexplained
It is going to get a whole lot weirder before anything is settled.