Ph.D. Biochemist Supports Ketchum Sasquatch DNA Study

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on February 19th, 2013

Melba Ketchum posted the following quote on facebook, presumably by David H. Swenson, Ph.D.

Brien Foerster, Jeff Kart, and other interested parties. I went over the manuscript by Melba Ketchum on Bigfoot genomics. My desktop had difficulty with a blast analysis of the consensus sequences. It helped me understand more about the project. This collaborative venture has done a huge project that taxes me to fully grasp. I see interesting homology with a standard human sequence with 99% match for mitochondria. From my abbreviated study, the nuclear genome seems to have human and nonhuman sequences.

My opinion of the creature is that it is a hybrid of a human mother and an unknown hominid male, Just as reported. For all practical purposes, it should be treated as human and protected under law.

Brien, selection of Melba’s lab for your studies is a very good call.

Sasquatch is real, as proven by genetic analysis.David H. Swenson, Ph.D.

Tip o’ the hat to Cryptomundian edsbigfoot.

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

35 Responses to “Ph.D. Biochemist Supports Ketchum Sasquatch DNA Study”

  1. Goodfoot responds:

    Either it’s a bum quote, or Melba Ketchum is her own worst enemy. Maybe we will find out which, in time. I’m beginning to suspect the latter. She’s on target, but prone to sabotage herself.

  2. Goodfoot responds:

    “sabotaging”. Eh.

  3. Degnostik responds:

    Nothing “presumable” about it. What she did was re-post what he himself posted on his personal FB page, and explicitly allowed sharing after a public inquiry in the comments.
    Skeptics will probably say FB wall is not really peer reviewed, so it doesn’t count.
    Doubt that Mr Swenson will care.

  4. odingirl responds:

    “Skeptics will probably say FB wall is not really peer reviewed, so it doesn’t count.”
    That woud be correct. Bully for Swenson if he chooses to make his opinion public in that way, but no, this is not the type of peer review that would satisfy those of us waiting for detailed reviews by experienced geneticists. Nor is “My desktop had difficulty with a blast analysis of the consensus sequences” or “This collaborative venture has done a huge project that taxes me to fully grasp” a ringing endorsement.

    “Sasquatch is real, as proven by genetic analysis”? Even if the data seemed more reliable, that’s a ridiculous statement to make. Given that we have no way of confirming where/what the samples came from, he should have stopped at “unknown hominid”.

    When the data has been banked and analyzed by experts in genetics, then we can get a meaningful assessment.

  5. MR JOSHUA responds:

    What is she 16 years old posting on facebook ?? “well Tommy said he thinks I am the smartest girl in class.” The only thing endangered around here is her credibility. Between buying her own journal, posting updates on facebook, and flaunting that breathing afgan she has proven she is nothing more than the “class clown.” Who is more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him ?? The only bigger fools than her are the ones who rush to her defense. You want to believe in Bigfoot so badly you brush aside your commen sense.

  6. DWA responds:

    I’m just not sure how, from reading a paper, a scientist would proclaim “Sasquatch is real” without any questions as to the provenance of the samples.

    If one does not have a specimen, and I don’t mean a steak, or a hank of hair, but an animal, all one has is a “we don’t know what this is.”

  7. whiteriverfisherman responds:

    I will admit I hope this evidence is actually credible evidence and not bunch of crap like I have suspected since the beginning. It has been noted several times that Ms. Ketchum’s choices of releasing information are not considered professional. This alone makes it even more difficult to believe the information is accurate. If she does have what she says she has and it is proven to be correct then I owe her an apology but until that happens, no way! I must say her analysis does make sense to me and is something I had thought about many times. Her samples show a hybrid beast that is both human and primate. If her analysis is correct it opens the door to an endless amount questions that should be answered. What was the original father, Is his species still around or extinct, is the current population of Bigfoot all one hybrid species created by a now extinct primate and a human? This evidence could mean that there are two separate species of giants running around out the there, one hybrid, one not. This could explain several things such as true giants being taller than Bigfoot. For me these are fascinating questions to ponder, of course that’s assuming all this is not a load of BS and so far it has not been proven otherwise. Like I have already stated I will be the first to admit I was wrong and apologize, if I am wrong. For science sake and for Bigfoot sake I hope this all true. Obviously the Bigfoot species will need to be protected and science will need to learn as much as possible about the new species.

  8. William responds:

    I always find it somewhat amusing when people express that if bigfoot is real they need to be “protected.” When humans, despite concerted efforts using high technology, cannot even get a clear photograph or video of one (PG film the possible exception) it would seem like the are protecting themselves quite well without our intervention!

  9. lancemoody responds:

    DWA is correct above.

    The statement is not scientific and would be embarrassing to any real scientist.

    Such a tawdry sham this all is.

  10. G. de La Hoya responds:

    Hey Mr. Ph.D. Biochemist. Be careful what you ask for. “…it should be treated as human and protected under law.” In many locales, trespassers are shot and that is protected by law.

  11. Degnostik responds:

    All your doubts and questions are intelligent and legitimate (up until the proof demanders say “she’s a fraud”, providing no proof), but it all still only addresses publication issues and wording trivia, not the study.

    Publication issues: from what she said, it’s clear she was forced to publish in a manner reflecting desperation. You are entitled to not believe that, at least until the study itself is proved to be legitimate and its conclusions correct – which is a rising possibility now, after we finally got the FIRST case of a qualified person, someone who actually published in Science, that read the ENTIRE paper AND had the raw data. The first one and – guess what? He supports her conclusions and openly admires her work.

    He’s not a geneticist, some say. As a biochemist with such credentials, he’s surely a safer bet than, for instance, Todd Disotell, simply because the latter admittedly just glimpsed at the paper and we know he didn’t have the data, nevermind the arrogance.

    How come only Swanson has the data, you ask? She said the GenBank asked her which species it was, and after she answered, she wasn’t allowed to upload the data, with a “humorous” note from them that the personal signature of the donor needs to be attached, since it is “human”. Again, you have the right to not believe that, to claim she made it up. Nobody can take that away from you, so far.

    odingirl, haven’t it occurred to you that Swenson never intended his FB wall or his wording to be used as reference in scientific publications, that he will surely have his evaluation and conclusions in another form, when required? He seems to be able to write a proper paper, right? And this is brilliant: “(On his FB page, he) should have stopped at “unknown hominid”? What a…

    Provenance of the samples? What about the provenance of Denisovan DNA? How do we know it’s from a “Denisovan” without a specimen? My god… Someone should have said the natives to stop at “unknown hominid”. Especially on FB. There’s a ring of an uneasy feeling in these arguments. The paper says “hypothesized to be obtained from elusive hominins in North America commonly referred to as Sasquatch” and the title reads, well, “Novel (North American) Hominins”, which is what the DNA itself can be recognized as.

    Judging from the time since (self)publication, Swenson was probably one of the reviewers you don’t believe existed. More to come, surely.

  12. Goodfoot responds:

    Wow. VERY nice. Thanks.

  13. Jim OR responds:

    OK now everybody can we just take some deep breaths and give Melba Ketchum’s study a chance? This scientist seems legitimate and I really liked Richard Gibb’s (from the Human Genome Project) sober and fair first take on the study: “the currency of scientific advancement holds your (innate perhaps) skepticism at bay” (to that effect) – these are the kinds of scientific minds we should listen to as opposed to the knee-jerk conventional wisdom know-it-alls.

    Properly balanced and fiercely held objectivity will advance science and serve mankind the best – real thinking as opposed to egotistical beliefs, scientific dogmas and similar prejudicial filters and emotionalism masquarading as thinking.

    I would direct anyone here who doesn’t have an axe to grind and really wants to see truth and science advance to do the reading on Pons and Flieschmann – two real scientists who discovered a truly inexplicable but extremely important new form of energy production and were literally “burned at the stake” by a combination of vested special interests and “conventional scientists” – do you know that Cold Fusion or Low Energy Nuclear Reactions which they observed have been similarly observed and confirmed by hundreds of scientists around the world since including the US Navy SPAWAR lab?!!! This is true – do the reading – its been published in peer reviewed journals over and over and you can access the papers online.

    I’d be willing to bet the majority of people here and certainly in the general public still believe those two scientific heros were quacks – but they weren’t – they just ran into the awesome and sophisticated denial regime – maybe Melba Ketchum has too. Its possible right? Ask yourself this – why wouldn’t the better known journals publish her study and let the chips fall as they may? Why? This is clearly a matter of great interest and potential import for mankind – can’t we get our day in court? Who are these people who say “NO” and why don’t they have to account to us for their decision?

    I know, the Messanger always gets shot – always. Let’s not eat our own just yet OK? There is plenty of time for that after the smoke clears and the data and procedures have been digested.

  14. Degnostik responds:

    Well said.

  15. DWA responds:

    Jim OR:

    Here’s the quote from Gibbs (haha, Bing’d your excerpt and it took me straight to Cryptomundo! Different thread, though). Kudos for making me interested enough to look:

    “As a scientist I would consider anything.The currency of scientific advance is keeping your skepticism at bay. You have to approach these things incredibly agnostically. As I read the paper I asked, is the evidence here compelling? I don’t know. Is there clear evidence of fraud? That’s not apparent. It’s an intriguing hypothesis. One would need to view more sequencing information before supporting the conclusions.”

    Most scientists don’t understand this thinking, one of the most fundamental things about the practice of science.

    You tell me mummies walk at night. I say to you:

    Show me your evidence.

    That – not “Oh come on!” – is science.

  16. edsbigfoot responds:

    After reading the last few posts, I figured I should listen to Dr. Ketchum’s coast to coast interview again, and, I thought it was good. I am not a scientist, but, she did discuss how samples were obtained, how they were “cleaned”, what kind of “numbers” would come up if they were contaminated, “apparently” those numbers were to high for contamination, and she supposedly even spoke with the manufacturers of the machines that were used….she discussed the issues with genbank, and what the real goals of the paper were….I certainly don’t understand the science, I bought the paper, and it has all the results along with the “genbank”? generated “trees” etc….but, I have to say, I am glad that because I was skeptical, and read some posts here….I at least felt obliged to go back with an open mind and hear her explain things in her own words. I decided to hear her out… in her words. George Knapp brought up a lot of the skeptical points out there on blogs etc and I felt she addressed them. George Knapp also confirmed that she has sent him a paper trail of emails about the reviews etc…all a bit hard for me to follow:) Again, I am not a scientist, and would love to hear what some folks with that background think of her points in the interview…I mean her scientific points about the paper, the purchasing of the web site journal, the genomes, the sequencing etc….she did talk about all of it….wish I understood it better, but, since my doctorate isn’t in that field, I don’t, its interesting anyway. I just figured, what the heck, I should at least hear what she has to say in her own words, I’m glad I did.

  17. odingirl responds:

    Sorry to have pushed your buttons, Degnostik. Obviously you’re right, if someone posts something in social media that appears to cast doubt on their ability to remain objective, it should give no one pause. *chuckle*

    I’ll wait patiently for Swenson’s official endorsement in a ‘proper paper’, which I’m sure is right around the proverbial corner.

  18. norman-uk responds:

    Dr. Ketchum has been studying sasquatch DNA for 5 years so she is now the pre-eminent expert in that field and as she is so far out in front she must be presenting a challenge!

    Prior to her emergence the pre-eminent expert in the public eye was Tod Disotell a self revealed scoffing sceptic without respect for saquatch DNA studies. He failed to find any Sasquatch DNA over a period of something like 18 years (?) and was respected for this.

    My opinion for all sorts of reasons is Sasquatch is real so by now there should be ample physical evidence. Certainly this should include DNA evidence. I commend Dr ketcham for getting to a point where she can state she has that evidence and joy, is making it public. For whatever faults are found in the way she is breaking this news to the world I thinks this beats what went before, failure, which looked likely to continue, wrapped up in what passed for correct scientific protocol.

    I am very optimistic that within all the work she has done in the 5 years there will be found at least some treasure that many of us have been waiting to be revealed this many years.

  19. norman-uk responds:

    Jim Or

    I am glad you brought up Pons and Fleischmann (again) and it makes a good point!

    I am also heartened by your swipe at scepticism, an attitude nurtured by many with some pride as a means to understand the world and can reach cult like dimensions. I think it can be unhealthy and unproductive and has certainly impeded sasquatch studies. Maybe its rooted in a lack of confidence.

    Perhaps DWA’s ‘agnostic’ is a better way of looking at things for those or when an open mind does not seem appropriate.

  20. edsbigfoot responds:

    Pretty cool post about why Dr. Ketchum’s samples aren’t contaminated and the machines used, I almost understood some of it. 🙂 Worth a gander. 🙂

  21. Fhqwhgads responds:


    “Most scientists don’t understand this thinking, one of the most fundamental things about the practice of science.”

    1. Prove it. If you have taken an extensive poll of working scientists in order to make such a a bold assertion, you should submit it for publication, perhaps in in De Novo.

    2. Pending publication of your poll, let me point out that
    a. It is not the job of the scientist to consider everything. Take, for example, the claim by Catholics that at consecration, the unleavened bread becomes the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ in its essence, but that all of the accidents remain those of bread. This is a real claim, made quite emphatically by Catholics, but completely untestable by science, because observation and experiment deal only with the accidents — size, weight, color, etc. Perhaps it is better to say that a scientist may consider such a claim, but not in the role of scientist. (I offer this only as a concrete example of a claim that cannot be investigated by science. This is not an appropriate forum for religious disputes, and it is not my intention to start such a dispute here.)
    b. I know of no scientist unwilling to admit that any statement that can be tested and (potentially) falsified by observation or experiment using the senses (often through the medium of well-characterized instruments) can be a scientific hypothesis. The hypothesis certainly does not have to have a “scientific” origin. As a result, in each of the 11 sections of Integrated Science 151 I taught between 2001 and 2007, I always specifically mentioned Schliemann’s hypothesis that the clues to Troy’s location were contained in Homer and (usually) Kekulé’s claim to have developed his hypothesis for the structure of benzine from a dream.
    c. Precisely because it is so easy to formulate hypotheses, it is necessary to critically select those worth pursuing. Some of the questions that need to be answered to make the selection are, “How could the hypothesis be tested?” “What is the likelihood that the test is conclusive?” “What costs can be expected for the experiment?” “What are the risks and rewards of knowing whether the hypothesis is true?” The answers to these questions will vary from scientist to scientist, based on individual skills and other circumstances.

  22. odingirl responds:

    I would not put my money on the sincere but misguided rant posted on the Bigfoot Field Journal. The poster is basing their very desperate-sounding observations on yet another blog entry and quotes extensively from the Ketchum paper itself rather than from any 3rd party geneticists verifying the paper’s assertions.

    The BFJ post is centered on the supposed quality of three sequences tested. That’s fine, but doesn’t add anything meaningful to the actual conclusions that can be drawn, which remain to be seen.

    Unfortunately, the emphasis on yet another ‘mainstream’ science conspiracy sounds like the typical tired argument from the tin foil hat fraternity. There’s absolutely no reason to believe that credible science would be anything less than thrilled with definitive evidence of such a long sought-after species, just as the rest of us would. To suggest that proven experts such as Sykes might be a cog in the conspiracy machine, while openly championing individuals with a less than stellar professional reputation, is simply sad.

  23. Goodfoot responds:

    odingirl: Did not know that you’re a DNA expert. And ENOUGH with pejorative “tinfoil hat brigade” bull hockey. You DO realize that just about every Bigfoot believer or sighter is generally, already tarred with that shameless nonsense, RIGHT?

  24. DWA responds:


    Actually I’m not finding anything in what odingirl is saying to disagree with.

    (Give me time on “tinfoil hat brigade.” But they’re out there and they haven’t helped the field.)

    There is no mainstream conspiracy. The mainstream, on this topic, is characterized by laziness, fear, politics, dogma, incredulity, lack of free time for pure science, and just plain disinclination. Not covering themselves with glory. But the worst of it is they’re not even trying.

    (And yes, an active conspiracy would be worse. It’s just not happening.)

  25. edsbigfoot responds:

    Dr. Ketchum interviewed by Linda Howe for Whitley Strieber’s Dreamland show, available for listen and download later this afternoon or early evening. I don’t think you need to be a subscriber for the regular show, and I think those interviews are usually about 40 minutes long.

  26. odingirl responds:

    Goodfoot, you’re correct, I’m not a DNA expert. Interestingly, I’ve never claimed to be. Of course, neither is the author of the BFG blog post in question, but I shouldn’t have to point that out either.

    “You DO realize that just about every Bigfoot believer or sighter is generally, already tarred with that shameless nonsense, RIGHT?”

    Yes, which is why they should work pretty hard to distance themselves from the hyperbolic and/or paranoid if they’d like the subject to be treated with more respect. Much more sensible to call attention to those who’ve earned that respect, such as the Meldrums and Colemans of the field.

  27. Degnostik responds:

    odingirl: where’s the problem in “quoting extensively (why on earth “extensively”!?!?) from the Ketchum paper itself”? Last time I checked, it was THE paper we were actually discussing. That sentence shows you treat the paper as a convicted criminal, proven to be false, with some (friend and family?) trying to vindicate it. Where is it false? Maybe you have in mind the remarkable observations of highly respected and credentialed experts such as “Zoologist 1” and “Zoologist 2”? In your objectivity book, they are more credible than a known PhD biochemist with more than ample experience in top genetics? (He doesn’t qualify as a 3rd party?). As of yet, no one succeeded in demonstrating the “paper itself” is flawed. The way I see it, it should be up to you to prove the “extensively quoted” statements as false, not the other way around.

    There are absolutely many reasons to expect the mainstream science to not be thrilled, and one clear example is in the comments above. Others are abundant in the history of science. The most recent would be obviously the overthrilled reactions to this particular paper, clearly visible in reading only the abstract and the conclusion. How do you define bias? Well, that was the operational definition.

    “Long sought” would be hypocrisy – long sought by whom?

    And still no talk about the flaws found in the study, samples, etc, while the other side provided many precise, highly technical, best available in the field, reasons to conclude that there are none. Where’s the thrill, again?

    “(…) Openly championing individuals with a less than stellar professional reputation” reveals you are discussing reputations, not science.

    I agree with you on the conspiracy thing. Someone will have to show that she submitted it to “Nature” at all, and after that that they leaked the results to Sykes while stealing time from her. Till then, the fact that he soon called for samples for a very tight scheduled study (it was supposed to be out already, wasn’t it?) – is just a coincidence.

    And I agree completely with your last comment. Just please make a distinction between the “tinfoil hat fraternity” and regular, sober people baffled by something they saw, even if it was probably just a weird bear. For the sake of decency, that’s all.

  28. odingirl responds:

    I don’t believe I equated ‘regular, sober people’ who have seen or otherwise experienced Sasquatch with the tinfoil hat folks in either of my posts. I stated explicitly that investigators wanting to be taken seriously should “work pretty hard to distance themselves from the hyperbolic and/or paranoid if they’d like the subject to be treated with more respect” … making the distinction between the two pretty clear.

    One of the reasons that ‘mainstream science’ has not been happy with this situation may simply be because they expect everyone to have to meet the same basic standards they’re asked to meet every day in their own work. I can’t answer as to where the paper is definitively flawed or patently false, and neither can anyone else at this point, because we don’t have all of the data, period. The data will eventually speak for itself. While there’s been a lot of grumbling among the limited scientists who’ve read the full paper, I don’t know of anyone among them who has dismissed it out of hand.

    You mentioned flaws: The “other side” has “provided many precise, highly technical, best available in the field, reasons to conclude that there are none”? The best available in the field? Has this truly happened at this point? Again, they don’t have all of the data or access to what was tested, but if the best available in the field of genetics have offered their firm opinions, I think Sykes, et al would be pretty surprised to hear that.

  29. Jim OR responds:

    Degnostic, DWA, Edsbigfoot and Norman-UK et al: Thanks for letting me know there are honest-mided thinkers out there still. There is the old saying in computer programming and human mind-set: “garbage in, garbage out”. The way people are deluged everyday by mind-numbing nonsense and political spin bloodsport, it seems everyone has either joined in or tuned out.

    Odingirl: why do you think Bigfoot witnesses, believers, open-minders are under an obligation to go out of their way to somehow prove they aren’t nuts? Why is it worth your time and energy to disparage them and call them names? If they are as far out as you profess, why do you bother? Just wondering. What does it say about self proclaimed skeptics that they identify themselves as such? Isn’t that the same as “believers” in terms of taking sides on unsettled issues?

  30. Degnostik responds:

    odingirl: in your response to Goodfoot, you quoted, quote: “…every Bigfoot believer or sighter…” so I thought what followed included them. Why would a sighter “work hard to distance himself” from anything? He’s a citizen and a taxpayer and scientists are obliged to take into account his experience as – genuine experience. Not more, not less. Why call him a crackpot? For that matter, even “crackpots” are our fellow citizens, and psychologists usually call them by their names, and have other words for their conditions.
    Anyway, I said I agreed with you on that.

    How does not allowing upload to GenBank correspond to “meeting the same basic standards they’re asked to meet every day in their own work”? Wasn’t it said that “GenBank does that – no problem?” We would have all the data, period. After that, it’s still rather easy: contact her, introduce yourself as a credentialed scientist, and you will have the damn data. Oh, I forgot – she made it all up.

    Anyway, this is pointless. I acknowledge that Ketchum’s claims are too extraordinary to be accepted without evaluation by loads of 3rd parties. At the same time, the vulgar uninformed mockery does “push my button”, since she did offer perfectly believable explanations for all the “unprofessionalism” and “mishandlings”, including press releases and (self)publishing, and no one actually even denied them, let alone proved them false. Well, don’t you agree?

  31. Goodfoot responds:

    Degnostik: just to clear matters, “…every Bigfoot believer or sighter…” originated with me. I realize you know this, but it might confuse someone else.

    She blew off my criticism of “tinfoil hat brigade”, such words are a form of weaponized language, intended to discredit ANY whiff of the dreaded “conspiracy theory”, which also is weaponized language, and everyone uses weaponized language at times, often without realizing so.

    I tend to respond to “conspiracy theory” with, “so I’m guessing you’re a coincidence theorist?”

  32. Goodfoot responds:

    “… BUT such words”. Not my best day. Didn’t get enough sleep, I suppose.

  33. Degnostik responds:

    “Coincidence theorist” – I just love it. Will take the liberty of using it, with credit where due.

  34. DWA responds:


    “Most scientists don’t understand this thinking, one of the most fundamental things about the practice of science.”

    1. Prove it. …”

    Why should I have to? Bigfoot skeptics don’t have to prove anything. All they have to do is toss crap at a wall and see what sticks. Bring a mainstream scientist on here and show me that his negative pronouncement on the evidence displays understanding of this thinking. Then let me ask him a few questions.

    That this thinking NOT being present in most of the scientific mainstream – at least not as demonstrated by the mainstream’s attitude toward new thinking – has repeatedly delayed scientific advance is one of the most extensively-documented facts in the history of science. Max Planck could tell you one or two things about that.

    Now this is a red herring:

    “a. It is not the job of the scientist to consider everything. Take, for example, the claim by Catholics…”

    No one has said here more times than I have said it that many things cannot be tested by mainstream science at this point, and oh boy are religious claims one of them, and that asking science to test them, without proposing a testable method, may be, at least at this point, a waste of time.

    (Short form: tell me that bigfoot shape-shift, and you better show me one doing it, in person.)

    It however, IS the job of every scientist not to hoot down testable propositions, e.g., this is an animal that a lot of evidence shows is real.

    And yes, much of the stuff that got Planck so upset amounts to hooting down.

  35. Goodfoot responds:

    G. de La Hoya: Are you suggesting Bigfoots are subject to human law? I’m pretty sure that’s covered by law. For instance, I don’t think you could kill an elephant or giraffe just because it’s “trespassing” on your property. It’s wanton destruction of animals’ life/rights.

    Maybe I misunderstood you.

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