Bigfoot, Screaming Goats & the Ketchum Paper

I’m afraid only Bigfoot fans and diehard skeptics will understand this video.   I cut together comments made by Dr. Ketchum with comments made by David Winters (bonafide geneticist).  The screaming goat perfectly encapsulates my frustration.

This is what I imagine a debate about the Ketchum paper might sound like.

A song for the frustrated Bigfooters

I’ve purposely not commented on Dr. K’s newly released DNA paper because I’m waiting for those with bonafide chops in the study of such things as genetics and other science-e endeavors to weigh in with conclusive opinions. The behavior of some of the individuals publicly involved in the study is leading me down a very cynical path.  To be frank, I don’t like what I’m seeing and it leads me to believe that something less than honorable is afoot.  Let’s call that a suspicion not a indictment.  Suffice it to say, I’m keeping up with the drips and tiny bits of information coming out, and if I feel I need to comment, I will.

For now, here’s an original song by Youtuber mctrmt that sums up how I feel.  I give you Wake Up Matilda.

Dr. Sykes hasn’t even begun DNA testing yet

"Yes, I have no DNA test results."

“Yes, I have no DNA test results.”

A few bloggers are reporting that Dr. Sykes has been getting test results that more or less match Dr. Ketchum’s results.  It’s not true for one very simple reason.  He hasn’t even begun testing samples yet.  The problem with bloggers is we sometimes use other bloggers as sources.  Worse yet, we report the chatter on messageboards as facts.  BAD BLOGGERS!

This is information comes straight from Dr. Jeff Meldrum on Facebook.

Well, I was on the phone with Bryan just a couple of days ago and he had not yet begun testing. When he does, he intends to do the initial screening with mtDNA loci. So the alleged leak story is vacuous.

Everybody just settle down. This will all be over soon. And please remember, soon is a relative term.

There is no Bigfoot…

No-BigfootUPDATE 4:00 – 12/06/20: Dr. Ketchum responded on Facebook to the “rumors.”  I’ve placed her response at the end of this post.

…Paper that is.  Or at least one that will be published anytime soon. Warning: Bitter pills to follow.

News reports are trickling in that Dr. Melba Ketchum’s paper on Sasquatch (hybrid-humans/h-humans) DNA has been rejected.  I gave her the benefit of the doubt last week that she only made an announcement because the journal gave her permission.  It now appears – reading between the lines of the original source that leaked the story – that this may have been a ploy to raise the profile of the paper in order to force the journal’s hand.  If we are to believe previous stories on this topic, the paper has been rejected and rewritten on numerous occasions.

This news will, of course, lead to an uprising of conspiracy theories about the bias of mainstream science.  While I have no doubt that a majority of the scientific community thinks the subject of Bigfoot is silly, no reasonable scientist is biased against solid research based on sound scientific principles.  At this point, we must all assume that the paper is not worthy of publication.

This should also put to rest all the ridiculous claims that there is a body.  There is no body. How do I know?  Because Dr. K would have released photos/video of said body in order to bolster her claims.  And if she’s not in possession of a body, but someone else is, they would certainly have taken the opportunity by now to release evidence that they have a body on a block of ice given the media attention her announcement was given.

Dr. Ketchum also issued a statement that she is in possession of HD quality video of these h-humans that she will release when the paper is published.  Everyone is assuming that this is the famous (or infamous) Erickson footage.  Logic dictates that these images are not game changing images, otherwise, at the very least, a clip or two would have appeared to add credibility to her press release.  Few people have seen the Erickson footage and even fewer still have been impressed by the footage.

It is time for the researchers that submitted samples to the study to step forward and break their non-disclosure agreements.  Thanks to the publicity this stunt generated the paper is most likely DOA, and will never see publication in a reputable journal.  Disclosure cannot damage the paper anymore than it is already damaged.  If you are a contributor to the study, and you contact me, I don’t do the anonymous sources crap.  You contact me, you go on the record.  This community is rife with secrecy that serves no real purpose other than to give cowards cover.  I won’t be a part of it.

Sane people have been witness to something in the woods of North America.  I’m not willing to completely dismiss their accounts.  Statistically speaking it’s much more reasonable to believe something large and unknown is out there than it is to believe they are all simply lying or misidentifying known animals.  However, as of now, there is no proof of Bigfoot, and making claims to the contrary is nonsense.

Dr. Ketchum’s response – “The paper is still under review and the rumormongering is counterproductive. The science will speak for itself once the manuscript publishes.”

To elaborate on her response, the news of the rejection came from Igor Bustrev, a Russian researcher who types in broken English.  I believe the Ketchum camp is claiming he meant ‘revision’ instead of ‘rejection.’

That being said, Dr. Ketchum is not off the hook.  She would be better served if she released some of the footage that is allegedly high quality HD footage.  I can think of no logical reason to withhold something that would only support the claims she made in her press release.

Everything’s coming up Bigfoot DNA

Paranthropus_boisei_560In answer to those who’ve asked, “Have you heard about the Bigfoot DNA story?”  Yes.  Yes. A thousand times, yes!  My take on it is there’s really nothing new to report other than it’s the first time Dr. Ketchum has publicly stated the findings of her teams study.

Her claim is basically this.  Bigfoot is a species of hominid that came about as a result of hybrid speciation.  What does that mean?  It means some unknown hominid (unknown to the current DNA database) and modern humans got it on about 15,000 years ago in Eastern Europe.  Her team not only reportedly sequenced the mitochondrial DNA of various samples.  They sequenced the nuclear DNA of three samples contributed by three different researchers.  The latter is what is most intriguing to those in the scientific community.  Nuclear DNA testing is far more complicated and harder to dispute.

She is calling her findings novel and unexpected.  The mainstream scientific community is calling her findings unconventional and unlikely.  Now, mind you all this talk stems from a press release by Dr. Ketchum about the findings.  None of it addresses the actual paper because the paper is as yet unpublished.  Dr. Ketchum has stated that it will be published in a matter of weeks.  Again, this is the first time she’s given even a vague timeline, so you have to think she’s gotten confirmation from the journal that it will be released and they’ve lifted any kind of embargo so she could finally address rumors.

Some points to ponder

  • Dr. Ketchum has vehemently denied she ever used the term “angel DNA” to describe the unknown hominid found in the full sequencing of the Nuclear DNA.  Even if she did, I’m not particularly bothered by it because the scientific community uses theological terms to describe scientific findings and studies all the time.  Just ask physicists if they really believe they expect to find traces of God in the “God Particle.”
  • Mainstream scientists aren’t hoping Dr. Ketchum is wrong.  They would love nothing more than for her to be right.  In fact, I’m betting many of them are secretly excited about the possibility of Bigfoot being real.  That they are expressing doubt and skepticism shouldn’t be viewed as them dismissing her findings.  They are all anxious to get their hands on the paper.
  • Dr. Ketchum used a dozen or so independent labs to verify her findings.  The chances that they all got the same results are highly improbable unless they all got the only results that could be found.  In other words, they didn’t all find the same “novel” DNA unless there actually was “novel” DNA.  I think that Dr. Ketchum’s five year study used contaminated samples is unlikely. She’s described the precautions her team took to ensure that no contamination took place.  They took DNA samples from every member of the team and field researchers and tested for contamination.  However, only time will tell if indeed the samples were actually contaminated.
  • Matt Moneymaker is clearly upset by the findings and has been speed-tweeting his dismay.  One must remember that Dr. Ketchum lured Moneymaker’s sugar daddy away from his organization in order to fund the DNA project.  Therefore, we have to take Moneymaker’s claims with a grain of salt.  I’m not saying he’s a dishonest guy.  I simply saying his judgment may be impaired.
  • Hybrid speciation in the animal kingdom does take place in nature a lot.  Polar bears and grizzly bears have produced offspring in the wild.  It’s widely known that different species of primates have and do create offspring frequently.  Some claim that chimps and gorillas have crossbred in Africa which results in a creature called the Koolakamba. And those who think it’s too farfetched to believe modern humans bred with “sub-human” hominids are clearly not familiar with the concept of bestiality.  Humans are freaks!
  • There apparently is substantial physical evidence that was used in this study.  More than a few sources are saying that included in Dr. Ketchum’s study is a sample taken from a 2.5 lbs piece of flesh collected in the Sierra Mountains in 2010.  Two and half pounds of flesh is a hell of a lot of flesh, and I’ve been told samples of it are included in Dr. Syke’s Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project, as well.  In addition, samples from the flesh were submitted to labs outside of both of these studies.  And for what it’s worth, those independent labs have been baffled by their findings.  Beyond that I don’t know what their findings were.

In the end, none of this is more than speculation until Dr. Ketchum’s team’s study is released, and other scientists have had an opportunity to do their own tests to either verify or eviscerate her findings.  I will say this.  If Dr. Ketchum is proven to be wrong, either because she’s incompetent or deceitful, her career is over.

Why Dr. Ketchum’s paper is taking so long

For those of you keeping up with Dr. K’s paper and hoping for its publication any day now, I found this little tidbit of information in Nature today that may answer why the process is taking so long.

Considerable hard data have emerged on the scale of misconduct. A metastudy (D. Fanelli PLoS ONE 4, e5738; 2009) and a detailed screening of all images in papers accepted by The Journal of Cell Biology (M. Rossner The Scientist 20 (3), 24; 2006) each suggest that roughly 1% of published papers are fraudulent. That would be about 20,000 papers worldwide each year.

Considering the subject of Dr. K’s paper, I imagine unprecedented caution is being taken, especially given the fact that 20,000 papers on so-called mainstream topics are “fraudulent.”  It’s bad enough to be fooled on a “legitimate” topic. It would be journalistic suicide to be fooled on a “fringe” topic.  I’m not saying Dr. K would commit fraud.  I’m just saying the journal that’s publishing her paper is making damn sure everything’s in order before they proceed with publication.

You can read the entire Nature article here –  The time is right to confront misconduct: After a generation of denial, research leaders are finally treating scientific fraud with the seriousness it deserves, says  Colin Macilwain.

What makes Homo sapiens human?

Is this a human?

The debate continues in the Bigfoot community over the as yet revealed unrevealed results of Dr. Melba Ketchum’s DNA study. Most of the participants in the debate have no idea what Dr. K’s paper will reveal, yet through various fruitful and fruitless sleuthing techniques they believe they have uncovered what the study will conclude, Bigfoot is almost human. They, of course, have come up with more precise scientific jargon to express what that means in the world of lab coats and test tubes, but for those of us that don’t have letters after our names that is essentially what they are saying; Bigfoot differs from Homo sapiens in only the slightest way, genetically speaking.

Whether or not Dr. K’s study will stand up to scientific scrutiny remains to be seen. In fact, whether or not Dr. K’s study concludes the above even remains to be seen. The quality and conclusion of the paper can’t be debated with any degree of intelligence because no one outside of a handful of people has seen it. But that doesn’t mean this discussion has been all for naught. On the contrary, I think something very important has come out of the guessing and wishing surrounding Dr. K’s unpublished paper. What does being human really mean?

Not everyone is buying into the “almost human” moniker. Old schoolers insist we are dealing with a bipedal ape. They argue that we are simply looking at a highly intelligent animal that walks like us. Nothing more. That is where we find ourselves today on the issue of Bigfoot. There are three fairly reasonable sides to consider.

    • Bigfoot does not exist
    • Bigfoot is human
    • Bigfoot is an ape

Discounting the “Bigfoot does not exist” crowd for a moment, the divide between the two latter sides is so slim it’s hard to see. Let’s forget the DNA study for this discussion. From a moral perspective, we have to decide amongst ourselves what being human means before we can decide whether something is human or not.

As a society, we have decided that medical testing on Chimpanzees is morally acceptable because they are so genetically similar to us we can save our species  by sacrificing members of theirs. Think about it. We are knowingly killing and causing harm to something we’ve deemed an animal because its genetic structure is dissimilar to ours in the smallest degrees. Why aren’t Chimps, Gorillas and Orangutans considered human? Because they aren’t Homo sapiens? What if Neanderthals had survived and lived in our mountainous regions today? Would they be humans? Their scientific identification is Homo sapiens neanderthalensis or Homo neanderthalensis depending on who you ask. They are almost like us. More similar to us than our great ape brethren. Would it be morally acceptable to conduct medical testing on Neanderthals if they lived today?

What is it that strips something of its rights? Is it lack of language? It can’t be stated with any kind of scientific certainty that Neanderthals had language. Some of the genetic markers for speech have been discovered, so the scientific community is leaning towards the use of language by Neanderthals. So let’s pretend that language is where we draw the line in the sand. Whales and dolphins demonstrate a highly sophisticated form of sounds that some have interpreted as language. Yet, we allow countries like Japan to hunt whales for food. Koko the gorilla has demonstrated the capacity to learn and use American Sign Language, but she is not considered human. Legally, the argument could be made that we could conduct medical experiments on her despite her ability to communicate outside of her species. In fact, some would even say that teaching research apes sign language could be beneficial because they could actually describe how they are feeling. The mental state of the animal could be more accurately monitored and as a result we Homo sapiens could avoid the same kind of mental anguish.

Clearly language is not enough to consider something human. Is it culture? Is it intelligence? Is it tool us? Is it belief in a higher being? I submit that none of these are factors in determining if something is human or not. There are animals that demonstrate a cultural structure. There are highly intelligent animals. There are animals that use tools on a regular basis. And, there are Homo sapiens who do not believe in a higher being. I would even go further and say that we do not use genetics to determine if something is human or not. We decided Homo sapiens were human long before the field of genetic study even existed.

As far as I can tell, as a society we decide if something is human or not purely based on physical attributes alone. If something isn’t bipedal, it’s not human. If something is covered in hair or fur or feathers or scales, it’s not human. There are anomalies within our species that are exceptions to those rules, but overall that’s the way we’ve come to the moral determination that something is human or not. Based on those two criteria, Bigfoot puts us in a tough spot being a hairy biped.

I’ve said all that to say this. I believe debating whether Bigfoot is ape or human is putting the cart before the horse. We have to first determine what makes something human and leave genetics out of the discussion. Does something that doesn’t quite look like us deserve the same rights as we do? We may find that Bigfoot is governed by their own set of laws. They may have a language. They may even have little inside jokes about the hairless creatures that roam their forests with guns and cameras. It’s not even outside of the realm of possibility that they believe in a higher being and have communal rituals they perform in observance of their higher being. We don’t know enough to know what we don’t know.

Now you may be one of those on the third side of this issue and can’t believe for a second that Bigfoot exists. In which case, you are probably having a good chuckle right about now. Consider this. Something left behind DNA samples to be included in that study. The study revealed something that merits publication in a scientific journal. There is something out there. What it is may bring Homo sapiens to a cross roads. We may have to decide if something outside our species or something that is defined as a Homo sapiens subspecies can be considered human.

Ketchum on Erickson

Dr. K just posted the following on FB:

For all of the people speculating on the Erickson project, Adrian and I have agreed to set aside the NDA to tell you that his group is a successful participant in this project. His research project to obtain the DNA samples is separate from us. His samples will be in the paper along with all of the successful submitters. And, yes, his great footage will come out so lets let all of the rumors go, OK? And once again, please know that we are at the mercy of the journal as to when we can announce. Thanks!

The NABS’ role in the ongoing Sasquatch DNA study

Founded in 2004

I realize it’s been Bigfoot central around here lately, but all signs are pointing to a major roll out of information over the coming weeks, and rumors, intrigue, speculation, etc. are at an all time high.  I’ve never seen a frenzy like this before.

A few days ago, I emailed the North American Bigfoot Search (NABS) about their director’s, David Paulides, upcoming appearance at the Honobia Bigfoot Festival and Conference.  I knew he had close ties to Dr. Ketchum and has even handled inquiries for her about the DNA analysis she’s doing (or has done depending on who you ask).  So, I asked point blank what they plan to talk about. You can read their answer here: Updateon Dr. Ketchum’s scheduled appearance at Honobia Bigfoot Festival andConference.

In addition to that particular answer they included the following information:

In a past blog you had used the word “Erickson Project.” For clarity purposes, North America Bigfoot search did a due diligence search and found Dr. Ketchum and utilized her to start a DNA project for us. We worked with her for many months on several specimens, she was not working with anyone else at that time. Dr. Ketchum and NABS decided we wanted a cross section of samples from North America and David Paulides and Dr. Ketchum went onto Coast to Coast radio and solicited others who had bigfoot samples to participate in our study at no cost to them. Erickson along with dozens of others (Individuals and Research Groups) listened to that show and started to participate.

I had actually recognized my mistake on that particular issue a couple of weeks ago, and wrote a blog post about it (The Ketchum Report). To be frank, I’ve noticed a subtle effort on the part of the Ketchum camp to distance themselves from the Erickson Project.  I don’t know why exactly, but I’ve seen it noted and corrected a few times that The Ketchum Report and the Erickson Project are two separate entities.  I would go so far as to say that point has been stressed on a number of occasions.

Since I had the ear of the NABS, I decided to ask them a few questions I had on my mind.  Nothing too probing, just stuff I’ve been thinking about. Here are those questions and answers for your own edification.

1. Generic DNA question: Is it your understanding that DNA without a living specimen is enough for the scientific community to recognize the existence of a species?

DNA is the fingerprint of life, it is what identifies species. If DNA has been generally accepted by science as being the key identification factor of any species, why wouldn’t this be enough….If the DNA in this study is unique…

2. From an outsider looking in, there appears to be a high degree of mudslinging and discontent among a few of the Bigfoot organizations and personalities.  Would you agree and if so, what do you think accounts for this behavior?

NABS will not and has not slung any dirt, we won’t participate in that behavior.  If you look at the history of bigfoot research going back 50 years almost all of the major books had “ape” in the title. What happens to the level of sales of those books if the DNA comes back as some type of human? Most of the “Big-Name” researchers from the last 50 years have bought into bigfoot being an ape and have leveraged sales of their books, websites, TV appearances and lectures on the ape theory, what happens to their ability to generate income if bigfoot DNA comes back as some type of human? We believe that many of these researchers are quite nervous about their position going forward if their hypothesis is proven wrong. NABS does not understand why these same researchers have completely ignored what Native Americans and First Nations People have stated, bigfoot is human and it is another tribe…David Paulides went into this topic and explained our hypothesis very thoroughly in “The Hoopa Project” and Tribal Bigfoot”.

3. Some in the community have expressed concerns over the NDA issue.  There are those who have experience submitting peer reviewed material and say NDAs were never a part of their process.  I’m wondering if you can address the need for NDAs concerning this DNA study?  In particular, people have commented that this is an attempt to control the purse strings and keep all the profits.  Do you anticipate that the study will lead to opportunities to make money or is that even a concern?

Prior to coming into bigfoot research David Paulides came from a technology background. All technology projects are covered by NDA’s, they are all considered intellectual property and all have value. The bigfoot DNA project has value as hundreds of thousands of dollars has been committed to the project. The people who committed to the project have the right to control whatever portion of the information they deem necessary. The reality, when scientists deliver white papers to science journals, these papers will not get peer reviewed unless the scientists reviewing the document have the first look at the facts behind science. If people are talking about the reality and facts behind the study, then those scientists don’t have the first look and peer review does not occur. Dr. Ketchum wants scientists who are not involved in this project to give the study their stamp of scientific approval (peer review) as this will quell much of the attacks the fringe element has tried to generate.

We have all seen fiasco’s occur in the way crypto research has been handled in the past, the bigfoot DNA project will not follow that path, it will follow protocol established in the scientific community.

4. Whenever contacted about his documentary, Adrian Erickson’s response has been that he won’t release the video until the DNA is released. Given that it was the NABS that initially brought Dr. Ketchum into the project and started the DNA analysis, can you confirm that there is no contractual link between the Erickson project and the Ketchum DNA report?

We have no idea if a relationship exists or what therelationship is between Dr Ketchum and Mr. Erickson.

5. The DNA study aside, there have been a number of eyewitnesses that attribute very human-like behavior to Sasquatch.  If it is true that these creatures are more human than ape, yet not totally human, how do you think we should proceed as a society in dealing with their rights?  One would think that habitat preservation won’t be enough.  Won’t we have to take steps to ensure that their culture is preserved, as well?

We will go back to “The Hoopa Project” and “Tribal Bigfoot”. Witnesses signed affidavits to what they viewed and their signtings were recorded in Mr. Paulides’ books. The best law enforcement forensic artist in the world, Harvey Pratt was brought in by NABS to meet with witnesses and draw what they observed, it was shocking to us at the time. Witnesses described a very human looking biped, that is what Mr. Pratt drew and all of the witnesses validated the sketches in the books as what they observed. We will acknowledge that bigfoot has physical differences to the point that humans are different. If you were from a jungle tribe in the Amazon and were put in a room with an NBA player, then a first Nations person, a Chinese person and a Norwegian, the tribal member would be in total shock at the physical differences, these are the same differences you will see in bigfoot, again explained in Mr. paulides’ books.

If bigfoot has DNA confirmed as Homo Sapiens, laws are in place to protect the biped, nothing needs to be done.

If bigfoot DNA comes back as something different then us, then laws have to be written protecting the species from us….

And scene.  I appreciate the NABS for taking the time to answer my questions.  And now to step away from all things Bigfoot and get back to writing Book Five of the Oz Chronicles.