Sasquatch Coffee


Biologists’ Podcast Discussing Ketchum Sasquatch DNA Study

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on February 27th, 2013

Breaking Bio is a new podcast from a group of biologists, about biology, science, the academic life, and any other topic that takes our fancy (which can be a pretty wide list). Having started as a joke on Twitter, we don’t take ourselves too seriously, and we always have fun. So, come join us!

The hosts for this episode:

Steven Hamblin – Postdoc at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. (link, twitter)
Bug Girl – Entomologist and evil administrator at an undisclosed location. (link, twitter)
Morgan Jackson – Fresh-faced Ph.D. student at the University of Guelph, in Ontario, Canada. (link, twitter)
Rafael Maia – Ph.D. student in biology at the University of Akron in Ohio. (link, twitter)
Tom Houslay – Ph.D. student at the University of Stirling in Scotland. (link, twitter)

Guest for this episode:

David Winter – Evolutionary Biologist (link, twitter)

In episode 19, we dissect the Sasquatch genome paper with David Winter (@TheAtavism). Spoiler alert: still not real.

If you have $30 to burn and you just can’t find a lighter, you can purchase the Sasquatch paper yourself. But trust us, it’s not worth it. Someone else did it so that you don’t have to.

Sharon Hill of Doubtful News summarizes David Winter’s conclusions on her blog here: Breaking bio on the Ketchum Sasquatch sequences

So, as Winter notes, he’s not sure if the researchers are inept or deliberate in their interpretation but some of the DNA is perfectly matched to humans and the rest is “crap”. Some of the sequences, he said, were far too short to be the result of hybridization, making Ketchums claim of hybridization from 15,000 years ago not plausible.

Contamination remains the obvious question. It’s not that the samples were contaminated necessarily by the collector but that the sample itself was a mix. So, no matter how careful they were in the lab to prevent investigator contamination (as Ketchum insists), the damage was already done if it was junk to begin with.

Conclusion? Bad.Doubtful News

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.


60 Responses to “Biologists’ Podcast Discussing Ketchum Sasquatch DNA Study”

  1. MR JOSHUA responds:

    Melba Ketchum you made the boldest claim in recent evolutionary history without having a panel of peers review your results. Out of complete arrogance you posted your results on a scientific journal you purchased and demanded federal protection for a new species you claimed to prove. The biggest shame of all is you looked to make a profit. Shame on you!

  2. Goodfoot responds:

    MR JOSHUA: Stop the juvenile finger-wagging; it’s unbecoming. She did nothing to personally affront you.

  3. Sebastian Wang via Facebook responds:

    “My Chromosome 11 is walking in the forest without me” LOL!

  4. MR JOSHUA responds:

    Freedom of Speech my friend. The only juvenille antics around here is dressing up in wookie costumes and creating scientific journals. If you don’t like what I have to say and you upset this study did not prove Bigfoot’s existence I would suggest you try another website.

    Nothing personal but I am not your child so I will speak my mind. Last time I checked this website allows people to have a voice. Sounds like sour grapes on your part that “mostly human” bigfoot was not proven.

  5. Degnostik responds:

    It still doesn’t seem Dr. Ketchum had a panel of peers review her results.

    One of the main accusations by skeptics was that she didn’t make the data freely available. Do these young biologists have it? Did Dr. Ketchum provide it to them? Was it a leak? Is it on GenBank? What data did they analyze? From the paper?

    Didn’t Robert Gibbs say he read the paper and that he would need the raw data to make a conclusion? Actually, he said “is the evidence here compelling? I don’t know” He didn’t know? And these merry students are having trouble breathing due to giggling?

    Did Mr. Winter analyze the data giggling? As for “spent any part on their lifes on this paper” – how much exactly?

    Remember when David H. Swenson publicly endorsed her results and conclusions? He’s a disproportionately more credentialed and experienced scientist, and he said that the project is enormous and it took him to fully grasp it, after analyzing the data provided by Ketchum. How much of his mind and time did Mr. Winter, no job title at the moment, but known on Twitter, gave a snippet of the data? How concentrated was he, with all the giggling?

    Swenson was criticized and dismissed for his endorsement happening on a Facebook page (Google hangout is ok) and for casual wording on scientific matters on his FB wall.

    So “the rest is crap” is suddenly a “panel of peers”? And what does it mean “crap”? Does it mean the GenBank didn’t recognize it, or that it’s a single strand helix, or what? Just crap? Ok.

    To me it seems that this video will one day serve as a textbook example of extremely arrogant bias exercised on a controversial paper, and that these guys will have their place in history as the collective type specimens of skepticism movement at the beginning of the millennium.

    It’s amazing anybody can treat this as a peer panel review.

    Most of them didn’t even read the paper.

    They are heavily uninformed on matters surrounding the paper – which would be ok if they discussed the paper only, but they HAD FUN discussing the matters surrounding the paper.

    This is the skeptics answer to believer’s (to quote odingirl) “tin foil hat fraternity”. The same quantity of real reasoning.
    Move on to other clips of young people having fun.

  6. Degnostik responds:

    RICHARD Gibbs, of course. I guess I should do one thing at a time.

  7. norman-uk responds:

    Interesting ”60 % of the dna samples do not match anything on genbank or on earth”.

    The clever clogs above do not seem to have an explanation for this. Perhaps Melba has ?

    There is ample evidence for the reality of Sasquatch-throughout history- as there is ample evidence of blinkered and unimaginitive deniers.

    What Dr ketchum is about is to find conclusive evidence which added to the body of evidence will take the most of the doubt out of the quest.

    Dr Ketchum should have earned great respect for just trying, everyone else has failed I believe but at least she has moved the science on and even if she doesnt make it someone else will quite soon.

  8. Ninepipes responds:

    I was convinced Ketchum was hoaxing all this until I heard these guys giggling like school girls talking about sex, and ridiculing her for more than her content. If this is the level of competence that Ketchum had to win over, with her peer review process, then I can see why she gave up and took drastic measures to get her findings published. Otherwise, she would not see anything come of her 5 years of work, and her astounding findings, in this lifetime. It seemed obvious these self appointed experts were ridiculing the concept of Sasquatch more than they were scoffing at Ketchum’s paper.

    These giggling ninnies have converted me from hopeful, to skeptic, to on-the-fence now.

  9. bigfootbuster responds:

    Now that the only known potential clear video of a supposed sasquatch (whatever that is) and the “convincing” DNA evidence to back it up has been thoroughly debunked (and not just by these PhD biology students), would Dr. Meldrum, Mr. Coleman, Dr. Bindernagel and others come clean and confess once and for all, just how ridiculous this whole bigfoot charade actually is.

    As a biologist who spent 5 years researching this phenomenon to find out the truth for myself, I can attest that there is not a shred of physical evidence supporting the theory of such a thing and there is good science attesting to the utter ridiculousness of the hypothesis.

    In addition, there is no morphological or behavioral description by any credible scientific study of the supposed beast, unless of course you want to rely upon Dr. Ketchum who apparently says it is…people!

    I do hold out that the Orang pendek, could in fact, be a plausible undiscovered non-human primate, living where such a thing is known to live – tropical forests. However, from descriptions, it in no way resembles the gobbldygook, hodge-podge, description of a 6-9 foot tall hairy North American hominin people refer to as bigfoot.

    Can we all just agree now to just say this thing is finished? Please!!!

  10. Degnostik responds:

    I remember one geologist debating how Atlantis couldn’t possibly have been in the area of Mid-Atlantic ridge, because it would have been extremely UNSTABLE.

    These guys reminded me of that with the thorough debunking by means of Occam’s favorite “just crap” logical argument and “(chuckles) do not match anything on genbank or on earth” – therefore it’s crap. It has to be, right?

    To thoroughly “debunk” something, you have to take it into account first. And actually, nobody debunked anything as of yet, just expressed disbelief or giggled at the DeNovo desperation.

    It’s good Ketchum doesn’t answer. She’s busy with the real experts.

    PS. Not that I think Atlantis existed, but who am I to claim that? Who would have thought a vet from Texas will prove Sasquatch and cause such a mess in the minds of biology students.

  11. Ninepipes responds:

    I found a link on Bigfoot Buzz of Linda Moulton Howe interviewing Melba Ketchum. Ketchum gives her side of the recent developments.

    I’m straddling the fence on this whole thing until the dust settles.

  12. bigfootbuster responds:

    @Degnostic,
    I guess you didn’t either listen or follow the technical genetic arguments being made. In layman’s terms – “it’s crap” – pretty much sums it up.

    I would add a more basic analysis which gets more to the heart of the “paper” which I have read. And by the way, here is a recent and well done example of how you document an otherwise undocumented organism. Found in an open source technical journal by the way (open source meaning free) with real peer review.

    The more basic analysis consists of not what is included, but what has been excluded: no description of the morphology, no description of the range, no description of vocalizations, no description of behavior, no holotype, no diagnosis, no measurements.

    Further, the basic hypothesis is not that a novel species has been discovered, but that the samples (without adequate chain of custody) and collected by others with unknown expertise, are from “elusive hominins in North America”. That is about as descriptive as it gets, unless you count the myriad of times “eyewitness reports” are used as proxies for the things missing above.

    The genetic “data” is just filler and is does not make any rational sense.

    For the non-scientist, if any of this seems in any way too technical, simply compare these two websites and ask yourself which one you would have more confidence in:

    a) Example 1

    or

    b) Example 2

    and be sure to click on the various links including About Us and find out who is on the editorial board, guidelines, contact us, etc. etc. If the differences are not as glaring the full sun on a clear day in sunny south Florida, then there is no hope left for sanity to prevail.

  13. edsbigfoot responds:

    This can certainly hurt ones future career. Its kind of unprofessional and posted on a social network like youtube or twitter, and on a pretty well viewed blog like this, especially for a postdoctoral fellow. Maybe this will make it back to someone’s adviser, or, to some members of a future search committee….those jobs are very competitive and they don’t forget stuff like this….as trivial as it seems, this kind of thing can certainly work against you in those situations. I wouldn’t be surprised if the post doc’s adviser is not contacted about this, as it especially looks bad on the adviser, who are generally the ones funding these post docs. Too bad, this kind of behavior, it’s really too bad.

  14. chewbaccalacca responds:

    Bigfootbuster: you refer to “the gobbldygook, hodge-podge, description of a 6-9 foot tall hairy North American hominin people refer to as bigfoot. Can we all just agree now to just say this thing is finished? Please!!!

    Wow. Your certitude about the non-reality of Bigfoot is surprising, even a bit mystifying. By itself, the Patterson/Gimlin footage is convincing evidence for the presence of an unknown hominid in North America, considering no one has been able to replicate its subtle details, from the sheen of its coat (with female breasts, no less) to the angles of its gait, and so forth. That’s to say nothing of the thousands of eyewitness accounts and footprints. Yet you feel the books should be closed on this subject, and no further research undertaken into it whatsoever? Hmmm… Methinks you doth protest a bit too much…

  15. bigfootbuster responds:

    @Chewbaccalacca,
    My certitude is only outdone by your hollow bravado about physical evidence. First, here are the words of the PGF from two eminent anthropologists at the University of Florida and Duke University: “Based on our analysis of gait and problems inherent in estimating subject dimensions, it is our opinion that it is not possible to evaluate the identity of the film subject with any confidence.” (Daegling & Schmitt). In other words, you can’t use that film to prove bigfoot exists. If you disagree show me your credentials versus theirs.

    Second, eyewitness testimony is inherently flawed and not subject to independent scrutiny or analysis;

    and third, prints have been and continue to be hoaxed by human beings. I have personally documented dozens of prints and trackways of 14-18″ tracks, some approximately 2″ deep in the substrate. Casts revealed human manipulation.

    In other words, if the monkey exists, show me the monkey. Until then the phenomenon is best explained by hoaxes, mis-identification of known animals and other mistaken identities and pareidolia. Legend doesn’t meet science. Science trumps legend.

  16. Ninepipes responds:

    “In other words, you can’t use that film to prove bigfoot exists. If you disagree show me your credentials versus theirs.”

    Why would “Daegling and Schmitt”s credentials come into play, when their evaluation is biased and flawed? It is incomprehensible how they could have failed to find evidence of sasquatch’s existence with the same material others, like Dr. Meldrum, have found irrefutable proof in analysing.

    Eminent English zoologist and botanist, George Shaw, and eminent Scottish zoologist, surgeon, and anatomist, Robert Knox declared the duckbill platypus to be a hoax, also, with the proof of it’s reality right in their hands.

    If anything beyond the scientifically accepted “normal” is nothing more than hoaxes and misidentification, then the scientific community would go into a tailspin if they should ever visit Skinwalker Ranch. Nothing can be scientifically proven there, but a whole lot of strange stuff will definitely be observed.

  17. Degnostik responds:

    True I’m neither a geneticist, but as a psychologist, I’m by no means a layman in the area of “crap”. And I’m certainly knowledgeable of all the problems with witness testimonies, the ways people perceive, think and especially deceive themselves. Actually, I became a “believer” after hearing a testimony. Then I read or heard loads of them, and while they do not constitute a proof (though there is such a thing as “inner consistency” in science), it sure should be enough for the thing to be taken seriously. And actually, because of all this, I’m now certain you’re not a “credible witness” on this topic.

    So it hasn’t been “described”. Well, consider it extinct for a second. Can an extinct species be proven without all the observations on range, diet, measurements etc? Are you claiming it cannot, as an expert? Please answer. Not to me, you don’t really have to. Here I see you are ready to ignore whole chunks of your own knowledge in favor of a point. Just like biased eye witnesses.

    One more thing is obvious here: you fail to see the reality because it doesn’t fit your general reference frame (“board”, “about us”, “layout”, “description”), and replace the observed with a construction of familiar elements.

    You ignore some of the questions, while heavily addressing others. While you’re comparing credentials, please explain away Mr. Swenson first. Stop the typical ignoring of the inconvenient. And please take a look at least at titles of his papers before you say he’s just a biochemist.

    No I haven’t heard the “technical genetic arguments” in this video. Actually there was nothing I didn’t understand, except for the crap thing, which I think I fully understand, but from the perspective described above. I heard much more of “way too technical” from Ketchum and even Swenson in a FB post.

    Should I understand the “DNA is just a filler” statement as “the proof that Ketchum’s DNA data is wrong is in the design, paper appearance, the boards, exclusion of the type specimen, behaviour description and measurements?” Was it a “filler” for the Denisova man, too? Did that come with measurements? You don’t have to be an expert psychologist to see you’re not being fair to your own obvious expertise. “DNA is just a filler” in an exclusively DNA study?

    Sorry, I might have bought the laymen “crap” explanation if there were no chuckling and clear extreme bias, of the same kind present in eyewitness testimonies, ones of the arrogant kind.
    I have just read a recent FB post by Anna Nekaris endorsing this video. She does say it’s a shame they are so frivolous, but agrees with the points. I wonder what she will say if it shows that three different samples from three different individuals analyzed in different labs really show the same “crap that doesn’t make any sense” results.

  18. Degnostik responds:

    “…neither a geneticist OR A BIOLOGIST”. My god. I apologize.

    TO MODERATOR: You don’t have to let this one. I just want to apologize.

  19. Fhqwhgads responds:

    “Found in an open source technical journal by the way (open source meaning free) with real peer review.”

    Not exactly. Open source refers to software for which the source code is publicly available.

    An “open access” journal is one which does not charge subscription or per-paper fees. They are generally intended for increased visibility in parts of the world that cannot afford expensive journal subscriptions. However, any journal has costs. Most journals charge the authors a small amount per page, but in many cases they will still publish even if the charge is not paid; their costs are supported by subscribers. Physical Review B is an example of such a traditional journal. “Open access” journals don’t have that, so they require fairly large payments from submitting authors. Physical Review X is an example of an open access journal.

    By the way, there still seems to be a lot of misunderstanding. A blog is neither a journal nor peer review. A podcast is neither a journal nor a podcast. They may be means by which data or opinions can be communicated, but they’re not the same thing — just like a young man saying “I’m going to join the Marines!” is not the same thing as going down to the recruiting station and taking the oath. The one that really makes things happen, is accompanied by more formality, because it needs to make sure all parties understand real accountability follows.

    Also, even really getting something passed peer review and into a legitimate journal does not mean it represents the best current scientific understanding of the truth. Remember the “Torah Code”? It was published even though the editors were confident that there must be an error — but statistics can be tricky, and the editors could not find the error. (It was discovered to be a form of cherry-picking, and the results have been duplicated from unlikely sources.) Then there’s my favorite: Alan Sokal’s parody, a deliberately vacuous paper which he got published in a “prestigious” journal of postmodern cultural studies and so touched off the “science wars”.

    Heck, look at the debate over whether Homo floresiensis is really a separate species — still not completely resolved. Whatever is cool about Bigfoot is also cool about H. floresiensis, but Mike Morwood published his results the right way, in a real journal that he had no control over, and the existence of a type specimen is not in question. Publication was not a golden key to universal acceptance; it just started the debate.

  20. Fhqwhgads responds:

    Ugh. “A podcast is neither a journal nor a podcast.” –> “A podcast is neither a journal nor a peer review.”

  21. bigfootbuster responds:

    You guys win. Bigfoot is real. Sorry.

  22. bigfootbuster responds:

    Oh, and thanks for the correction about open access vs. open source, Fhqwhgads. My bad.

  23. Degnostik responds:

    bigfootbuster: In my country, there’s a saying: “Now I don’t want it even the way I want it!”.

    So, I strongly disagree with you that it’s real! Not really proven yet! :)

  24. chewbaccalacca responds:

    Bigfootbuster: “You guys win. Bigfoot is real. Sorry.”

    Cheap shot. Not saying it’s “real”, just that the evidence for it is compelling enough to keep looking, as respected academics like Jeff Meldrum have argued. (Men and women have been sentenced to death on less, rest assured). Yet you feel it’s time to close up shop entirely and stop looking? Curious, indeed.

  25. samk responds:

    Everybody to the limit!

  26. DWA responds:

    bigfootbuster:

    We may disagree on the reality of sasquatch, a reality to which, by the way, the evidence clearly points.

    (That “cannot be determined with any confidence” review is the closest anyone has gotten to showing that P/G isn’t what P and G said it was. Of course one can’t identify it with confidence, if it is a species science hasn’t acknowledged yet. Duh.)

    But this I can buy:

    “The more basic analysis consists of not what is included, but what has been excluded: no description of the morphology, no description of the range, no description of vocalizations, no description of behavior, no holotype, no diagnosis, no measurements.

    “Further, the basic hypothesis is not that a novel species has been discovered, but that the samples (without adequate chain of custody) and collected by others with unknown expertise, are from “elusive hominins in North America”. That is about as descriptive as it gets, unless you count the myriad of times “eyewitness reports” are used as proxies for the things missing above.”

    If the provenance of the samples is not indisputable – hey, we got it from that big guy over there, go have a check, tell me that’s a guy in a suit – then we don’t have anything.

    The eyewitness testimony – to anyone who has done a serious job of reading it and thinking about it – is far more compelling than any DNA string that you can’t point to the animal it came from, on a slab or otherwise. Then you have the thousands of trackways on top of that, but I digress.

    From day one, Ketchum has meant not a thing to me (except to point out why she doesn’t) with regard to this question. In fact, were P/G shown to be Bob Hieronymous tomorrow, my mind wouldn’t change a bit.

    THAT much evidence, more than science has for anything it has not confirmed – and far more than it has for many things it has.

  27. whiteriverfisherman responds:

    What is this a vocabulary test? Obviously many of you believe your intelligence is far superior than it actually is. Basically we are still at square one on the subject of Bigfoot, no proof, none. Dr. Ketchum is just that, a Dr. How many of you fancy word slingers can say the same? Making an ass out of yourself here isn’t changing anything but how good you feel about your false sense of intelligence. So you can continue to play the charade game of wits and I will read about this subject in a forum with actual intelligent people commenting, not ones that do their best to seem that way. Some of you do make good points but others are merely speaking out of their asses about a subject they are not even qualified to comment on.

  28. Alamo responds:

    Hey Degnostik,

    This would interest you as a psychologist. Check out Surowiecki’s ‘The Wisdom of Crowds’. It makes a convincing argument that, when meeting certain conditions and taken in aggregate (think BFRO database), the observations of ordinary eyewitnesses can trump that of experts.

  29. Goodfoot responds:

    bigfootbuster: Time to call you out, my friend. You read the paper and analyzed it. But you don’t establish any bonafides, which I’m sure is just an oversight on your part.

    More importantly, how could a reasonable person – and I’m sure you are – expect to extract data on range, vocalizations, behavior, and measurements, etc. – from a piece of DNA?

    Seriously. You’re all hat and no cattle.

  30. DWA responds:

    Goodfoot: actually he’s right on.

    The precise problem with this is that none of that can be taken from a string of DNA.

    In other words: what is bigfoot?

    Um, er, it’s this stuff [looks in microscope]

    From a zoological standpoint: somewhat lacking. So.

    What does it, you know, look like?

    NO WAY TO DETERMINE that. Or anything else.

  31. Cryptoraptor responds:

    No matter what the seeming complexity of Bigfoot matters appear to be, ninety nine percent of bigfoot credibility boils down to the 1967 Patterson/Gimlin film. That is the credibility linchpin. Personal accounts, plaster casts, books, theatrical movies, shaky videos, tv shows, blogs, caps, t-shirts, statues, action figures, suspect DNA tests linked to wookie videos, etc… are not what bigfoot enthusiasts hang their hats on. Bigfoot enthusiasts need to believe that Patterson and Gimlin were not hoaxers.

  32. bigfootbuster responds:

    @Goodfoot,
    You cut me to the quick, my friend! Saying I am all bluster. And no bonafides? What sayest thou?

    And thanks for making the point for me. Couldn’t have framed it better myself!

    The old politician”s trick of avoiding the real question by seemingly answering another -that is the heart of the issue of the “scientific paper”. Can’t get close enough to get good photographic evidence, no bones or fossil evidence, and of course, no physical remains (dead body), BUT, I know it is hard to believe, just happen to have 110 pieces of it’s blood, saliva, hair, skin and muscle (oh, I forgot those last two were bear)! But since next to no one who reads this paper will understand all this highly technical genetic data and analysis, and certainly not question its thoroughly vetted interpretations and conclusions, what the heck, it will sure seem like bigfoot has been discovered. And the faithful will defend it with a vengeance as it provides validation of their vacuous claims.

    And oh, by the way, the photographic evidence included in the “scientific paper” just happens to be a fake fur suit. Kudos, to my friend Bill Munns! But of course, hoaxing within the paper itself wouldn’t be relevant to this discussion at all, now would it?

    And @DWA – you don’t have to cover for me. I know who you are from the BFF. I spent 5 long years gathering a ton of data and speaking to multitudes of people about their experiences and evidence. Didn’t find one piece of hard data that could be validated to be from a novel species so described. I should have talked to you – could have saved so much time and effort!

    “THAT much evidence, more than science has for anything it has not confirmed – and far more than it has for many things it has.”

    DWA, please, can you send me or get me in touch with the person holding just one tangible piece of this “evidence”. Forget the questionable stuff – just get me the best one. I guarantee you I will have the best research University in the world to analyze it after I review it and am convinced it is from a novel species. Thanks.

  33. DWA responds:

    bigfootbuster: first you have to know how to bust.

    “No proof” has been consistently judged Weakest Sauce Planetwide by the International Chefs Association.

    You should be bugging the scientific mainstream. They are the ones responsible for proof in the society; this is their job. They aren’t doing it.

  34. DWA responds:

    Cryptoraptor:

    If P/G were proven a guy in a suit tomorrow, or ever, it would be one of the most exciting, intriguing, and improbable stories – of any kind – in American history.

    And after really enjoying the heck out of the read, I would come back here, my mind totally unchanged on the evidence.

    P/G is essentially disposable. Once it’s disposed of, there is a huge amount left to discuss. You can’t toss it. You would turn in your scientist badge by so doing.

  35. bigfootbuster responds:

    @DWA,
    Excuse me. I am in the mainstream. You are the one claiming to have knowledge of the goods. I would like to see what you have and see if it can pass some basic scientific tests of being novel, and not originating or being produced by human manipulation. Fairly simple really.

    Your evasion on this issue is the typical response I get from people claiming there is all this evidence when in fact the only evidence are tracks which can and have and are being faked and obscure hair samples from known animals that are simply difficult to identify.

  36. Degnostik responds:

    Now here’s an interesting post from Ketchum, obviously aimed at the merry students:

    Posted by Melba Ketchum
    There are so many arm chair scientists out there criticizing everything so I thought I would address one of the more serious accusations….that of other species contaminating our samples. With a novel species, random sequence will sometimes be obtained with primers meant to amplify a certain locus in a known species (since that locus may not have the same flanking sequences in the novel species). This can either yield “junk DNA” or a coding sequence elsewhere in the unknown species’ genome. When you then BLAST this novel sequence, it can BLAST as similar to some known species, especially if what you have ended up amplifying is not a coding region. This is also true when it comes to human whole genomes. If you just take a random sequence from the raw sequences obtained by next generation sequencing, that very well may be “junk DNA” rather than a coding region and you can get all kinds of other species coming up in the BLAST. Folks should learn their genomics prior to criticizing.

    Anybody understands anything other then “There are so many arm chair scientists” and “prior to criticizing”? To me it seems this accounts for the “crap”.

  37. dconstrukt responds:

    @ bigfootbuster…. very interesting to hear… agree with you mostly… thank god I’m not the only one here saying most of the evidence of bigfoot is crap. lol (I get flamed all the time)

    but there has to be something to it, no? there’s too many ‘sightings’ and reports…

    and PG is fake? tell me it isnt so….

    btw DWA is usually on the money too. :)

  38. edsbigfoot responds:

    Posted by Dr. Ketchm today on her FB page:

    Posted by Melba Ketchum
    There are so many arm chair scientists out there criticizing everything so I thought I would address one of the more serious accusations….that of other species contaminating our samples. With a novel species, random sequence will sometimes be obtained with primers meant to amplify a certain locus in a known species (since that locus may not have the same flanking sequences in the novel species). This can either yield “junk DNA” or a coding sequence elsewhere in the unknown species’ genome. When you then BLAST this novel sequence, it can BLAST as similar to some known species, especially if what you have ended up amplifying is not a coding region. This is also true when it comes to human whole genomes. If you just take a random sequence from the raw sequences obtained by next generation sequencing, that very well may be “junk DNA” rather than a coding region and you can get all kinds of other species coming up in the BLAST. Folks should learn their genomics prior to criticizing.

  39. edsbigfoot responds:

    Also from her FB page, she re-posted what someone posted on her ‘wall’, read it thru please moderator, I thought it was interesting, but I understand if it being sort of “second hand” meaning not originally by Dr. Ketchum herself, may not be permissable. Fun anyway:)

    This was posted on Melbas fb Wall by Timothy Collins. My question is this. If he can figure this out why cant so many others.

    This is what I have found so far and I’m just looking for answers to some basic questions like everyone else from your 5 year study and press release.

    Prior to Dr. Ketchum’s release of the 5 year study, people on both sides of the issue “Is Sasquatch / Bigfoot Real”,were unloading opinions before the ink on the paper was dry.

    People were jumping to conclusions because they had made up there collective minds without giving the study a chance to present the “FACTS” and “RESULTS” found.

    I was looking for any information I could find on the study once released. I’m still looking for a free copy or any real researchers review of the study and will welcome any reference to that data as we all are.

    Melba did give a press review of some of the content from that study out of self defense because the paper was being held up by main stream peer-reviewed journals and the reason for that was “The Subject Content” …. I did talk personally with Melba about this (in FB). My understanding was that the paper was not analyzed, and not reviewed because of the subject matter and tossed in the round file without proper consideration and usually without even reading the document a few pages let alone cover to cover.

    So far not much information available, so I checked into what Melba said in the press release about the “Next Generation Sequencing capabilities “and the “Quality Scores” provided by the Illumina HiSeq 2000 sequencing platforms… because any one can check into that and get quality answers to some questions.

    I used “FACTS” gleaned from a few people such as Melba Ketchum, Beckman Coulter, Illumina, Scott Carpenter, GenBank, NCBI and others.

    I’m NOT qualified as a lay person to discuss the implications of the tests or procedures but I can give information about the instruments used for the results.

    This is what I found: 110 samples (tested) were collected from 14 States & 2 Provinces and accepted for the DNA study.

    Tests were run on Illumina HiSeq 2000 sequencing platforms and these are “Whole Genome Tests” using extracted DNA.

    This sequencing experiment consists of a series of discrete steps that uniquely contribute to the overall quality of a data set.
    Sequencing quality provides important information about the accuracy of each step in the process such as “Base Calling”.

    “Bass Calling” accuracy, measured by the Phred Quality Score (“Q Score” and this is extremely important to remember), is the most common measure used to access the “ACCURAY OF A SEQUENCING PLATFORM” making it the quality SCORING STANDARD for commercial sequencing technologies.

    “Q Scores” are defined as a property that is related to the “ERROR PROBILITIES” (logarithmically based) .

    In other words “how good is your data” was there any errors, any contamination?

    These statements are directly from the manufacturer and any one can check my accuracy by going to the Illumina web site.

    For example, if Phred assigns a Q Score of 30 (Q30) to a base, this is equivalent to the probability of an incorrect base call 1 in 1000 times or the accuracy of 99.9%.

    AND guess what this is the exact data base, Q30 that Melba was referring to in her study in the press release….THERE WAS NO CONTANAMATION PEOPLE.

    OK so how do we know that? Illumina states and I quote “When sequencing quality reaches Q30, virtually all of the reads will be perfect, having zero errors and ambiguities. This is why Q30 is considered a benchmark for quality in next-generation sequencing” end of quote!!!!

    The Q30 for the three genomes MK tested were 88.6, 88.4 & 88.7 and according to Illumina a pure sample will have a Q30 score of 80 or more with a average of 85 AND if contamination is present in the sample, the Q30 decreases dramatically as they compete against one another causing the contaminated sample to register a Q30 score of 40 to 50 and considered poor.

    With the Q30 scores for the MK genomes sequenced & tested bosted Q30 scores of 88.6, 88.4 & 88.7 therefore rank far above the average using the Illumina HiSeq 2000 Next Generation Sequencing Platform and again I will state there was no contanamation in the MK sampels tested.

    OK so there you have it THERE WAS NO ERRORS OR CONTANAMATION so all the critics have it totally wrong PERIOD…they ether didn’t read the study or didn’t know the quality of the data and expressed an opinion attempting to influence people based on personal bias (this is called conspiring against someone).

    In my opinion there seems to be a “conspiracy” against Melba and the research of “undocumented forest people” for some reason. Someone or a group of people do not want this information out and will do any thing to stop it from happening or maybe they are just having fun at someone else’s expense because there is no bigfoot.
    The question is why, is this for personal gain from another professional who wants the credit for themselves, why are the “peer-reviewed scholarly journals not even reading the document when Q30 proves the science is correct and exact, is the mystique of the “undocumented forest person” too controversial to consider even for GenBank or NCBI? Is the government behind a cover up of some kind or maybe there is no conspiracy at all, just people doing there collective jobs…you decide that one for your self.

    Just remember this…Q30 proves the science is correct and exact… a slam dunk for Melba Ketchum.

  40. edsbigfoot responds:

    Moderator…This first sentence is not from me, its from her FB page, I don’t want people to think its me:) I’m not taking sides, just enjoying the banter:)

    Not edsbigfoot…”This was posted on Melbas fb Wall by Timothy Collins. My question is this. If he can figure this out why cant so many others.”

  41. bigfootbuster responds:

    @dconstrukt,
    Thanks. I think I know something about this phenom. as I got interested, attended a BFRO expedition, became an investigator, and became thoroughly entrenched with a hypothesis at the time something like this may actually exist.

    I set up a web site, received many reports, investigated and conducted eye-witness interviews. Debunked and discovered hoaxes including outing the infamous Enoch book by Autumn Williams, among many others.

    Long and short of it is that there are many people who like to tell tall tales (ever known a hunter or fisherman?), many who get adrenaline rushes on night-time stories, and a number of known animals that make strange calls, etc. I have spoken and met face to face with a number of people who tell me incredible stories…but not so incredible that they cannot be staged…or mistaken.

    After the incredibly detailed and ongoing hoaxing that I witnessed first-hand, I am not surprised by some of these stories. I was able to prove my evidence was all staged by the discovery of human fingerprints embedded within one of the clearest tracks by casting it and then making a latex mothermold in order to see it clearly. After that and having Jeff Meldrum identify the hair samples as bear, the whole thing came crashing down.

    Although my 3 month long encounter was the longest and most elaborate I have witnessed or ever heard about (the details would astound you), the PGF, the Kentucky project and the Ketchum debacle are certainly candidates for nearly identical type of hoaxing.

    I actually feel bad for a guy named Wally Hersom as Matt Moneymaker had Wally on the line with me during the midst of my being hoaxed in 2006 and I communicated with Wally and Matt about the details of our “encounters”. Seems Matt wanted a copy of the booklet my buddy put together with photographic documentation we had obtained of the some of the many (dozens and dozens) of 14-18″ tracks, scat, hair, tree scrappings, etc. but we would not release them to him. As a last ditch effort to provide Wally with some evidence since his BFRO was sorely lacking in it, this conversation apparently helped Wally to decide to fund Matt. Matt promptly booted me out as an investigator of his little eco-tourism business.

    Perhaps Wally will read this. I always wanted to let him know that after several years, I was able to finally put it all to bed as a hoax, although at the time I was pretty convinced it was real. Sorry, Wally, I was duped. It won’t happen again.

    And I say to others who haven’t seen through this shell game, don’t let it happen to you once, or again, either. Don’t get taken in by the hoaxers or the enablers. If bigfoot exists, document it as any other species gets documented. Not by some sleight of hand trick or some back door kind of approach.

    Oh, and by the way, Ketchum – you’re a fraud. Plain and simple.

  42. dconstrukt responds:

    @bigfootbuster…. thanks…. very interesting to hear. i’m sure you were pissed off after going through that much effort.

    my take is that most of the ‘evidence’ produced is so horrible, most ppl would never take it serious (and i’m just an average dude who’s always been fascinated with this stuff). People taking strange sounds, claiming they are bigfoot, without having a professional review (who knows, it could be a normal animal), footprints that can and have been hoaxed… blurry photos (in 2013 lol)….

    i can imagine many of these ‘sightings’ can be chalked up to over excited imaginations, misidentification etc…. but there has to be a small % of them that are real… no?

    in your opinion… could ALL the reports and whatnot be garbage?

    DWA… would love to hear your reply also… you guys have obviously delved much deeper than most with this stuff.

    i’m GENUINELY curious.

  43. chewbaccalacca responds:

    Bigfootbuster: so you’re outright calling Melba Ketchum a “fraud”–meaning you think she is *intentionally* deceiving people with her research?

  44. DWA responds:

    bigfootbuster:

    I’m not evasive on this issue. I am hard-hitting; direct; knowledgeable.

    Unlike mainstream scientists, from whom I hear constant evasion. Here’s a sample:

    “Excuse me. I am in the mainstream. You are the one claiming to have knowledge of the goods. I would like to see what you have and see if it can pass some basic scientific tests of being novel, and not originating or being produced by human manipulation. Fairly simple really.

    “Your evasion on this issue is the typical response I get from people claiming there is all this evidence when in fact the only evidence are tracks which can and have and are being faked and obscure hair samples from known animals that are simply difficult to identify.”

    English translation:

    Unless it’s proven, scientists want nothing to do with it.

    HUNH!??!?!?!

    Hair samples have come back “unknown, primate origin.” Intestinal parasites have been found that are unknown to science (axiom: if the parasite is unknown, so is the host). You’re gonna tell me thousands of people are sufferin’ from somethin’? Your proof, Mr. Scientist; or else, YOU tell us what they are seeing. Thousands of trackways have been found, for many of which Rube Goldberg could not come up with a way a human could have done it.

    FIND OUT WHAT’S CAUSING THIS.

    Contrary to what most scientists seem to have been brought up believing, there is no privileged knowledge in science. Even though proof is the only thing that can overturn a paradigm, investigation of compelling evidence is required. True scientists do not let paradigms sit unchallenged, while evidence builds by the day that the paradigm is wrong.

    But lots of people calling themselves scientists do do that. And it really should stop. I mean, you might make your jobs more fun.

    The argument from authority is getting old. The case for scientific involvement is clear. To everyone, it seems, but to those to whom it should be clearest.

    Nothin’ I can do about that. Way things are.

  45. DWA responds:

    OH.

    Should add.

    Ketchum – the evidence says – IS A FRAUD.

    Nice to see that change. But – the evidence says – it won’t.

    Major wasted bandwidth.

    And meantime – sequester or no – the TBRC could use a MAJOR NSF grant.

    Set to:

    http://www.nsf.gov/

  46. bigfootbuster responds:

    @dconstrukt,
    You actually bring up a very important point. If this was a court of law, the other side’s counsel would be objecting right now on the basis of “leading question your honor”.

    You have inadvertently, I assume, although I could be wrong, raised a question that gets to the heart of the so-called “bigfoot sighting” database. The question has to do with what the database actually represents; how it (they) are constructed and how it (they) are filtered, etc. It is actually very complex, but cutting to the chase for brevity’s sake, let’s make two distinctions.

    First, the issue of quantity. The thought process for those exposed to a particular database (i.e. the BFRO database) without realizing the parameters I mentioned above, tend to look at it based upon their preconceived ideas about the subject in general. But again for brevity, and to illustrate the question and problem you have raised, let’s assume negative bias to the subject and no knowledge about the process of how individual reports get listed.

    Those exposed to the sheer number of reports in a negative bias (as defined above) scenario will react much as you have with your question. “With that many reports, surely some of them are legitimate (versus some that are illegitimate)”. That begs the more basic question of how would you determine if a report portrays an accurate description of what actually transpired? Who is making that judgement? What is their bias? What methods are being employed? How much do they know about the character of the person making the suggestion that what they saw/heard came from an undocumented hairy biped? And on and on.

    Once you start asking some of the basic questions about what the database actually represents, you begin to see, if you are objective, huge red flags and problems.

    That gets us to to the second basic issue – QUALITY. The first is quantity, the second is quality. If you know anything about the scientific method, you know how important quality is with respect to the particular data being analyzed. Garbage in, garbage out.
    If the data is skewed by the process or by the processors or both in order to assure a particular outcome, or if the database has been found to be corrupt (i.e. reports that get listed on the database are later found to be erroneous), then the entire database, just like the entire Ketchum “paper” is suspect.

    So, the appeal to quantity may be made to attempt to confirm the likelihood of the intended result (i.e. bigfoot exists), but as you should plainly see, the operative question should be the appeal to QUALITY.

    Therefore, the more appropriate question you should be asking is “have any of the reports listed in the database been shown to be, or admitted to be by the operators of the database, false?” And a follow up question to that would be “how many have either been shown to be or admitted to be false?” And of course, a more basic question would be how would you determine whether a report is true or false?

    All of this should help you see that the database or sets of databases concerning this subject are all suspect because once you find out the answers to some of these questions like I have, you, if you are objective, will have to admit that scientifically censusing a population to obtain answers about this subject needs to be done in an entirely different manner to have any scientific validity.

    And that is why I can confidently say that there is no scientifically valid argument, to date, that establishes bigfoot as either a documented, or soon to be documented species. BFRO has not done it. Meldrum has not done it. Erickson has not done it. And most certainly, Ketchum has not done it.

    And I will also be interested to see how DWA tackles this question.

  47. bigfootbuster responds:

    @chewbaccalacca,
    If you haven’t been following the latest on the BFF or JREF forums, you should do so. There are several bloggers/journalists/researchers that have exposed tremendous issues with the good Dr. and with great detail.

    The latest is from a guy who sincerely believes in bigfoot, but has done a yeoman’s job of detailing some very specific issues of Ketchum’s handling of the Justin Smeja sample.

    But I would simply defer to what I know to be true: Dr. Ketchum has annihilated the scientific method in her so-called “scientific paper”. That has to be willful. Therefore, she is fraudulently claiming the publishing of a peer-reviewed journal that contains good science establishing bigfoot as a novel species. Absolutely false.

  48. bigfootbuster responds:

    @DWA,

    “English translation:

    Unless it’s proven, scientists want nothing to do with it.”

    I know English, he’s my friend. You, my friend, do not know English.

    The correct “English” translation: unless the evidence can be scientifically validated, it is not evidence.

  49. Craig Woolheater responds:

    Moderator’s Note:

    Please refrain from resorting to personal attacks. Comments containing personal attacks will be moderated, edited, not approved and or deleted to conform to Cryptomundo’s Terms of Use.

  50. Degnostik responds:

    You guys are just hilarious.
    Guys named bigfootbuster, DWA, Cryptoraptor etc, Degnostik included, deciding if someone is going to jail, referencing to similar BFF and JREF cryptoidentities, in several independent threads here ignoring each other.

    Alamo, thanks for the tip.

  51. DWA responds:

    “And that is why I can confidently say that there is no scientifically valid argument, to date, that establishes bigfoot as either a documented, or soon to be documented species. BFRO has not done it. Meldrum has not done it. Erickson has not done it. And most certainly, Ketchum has not done it.

    “And I will also be interested to see how DWA tackles this question.”

    Here’s how I tackle it:

    SHORT FORM:

    The databases are what they are, and compelling for that alone. Their frequency and coherence mark them as worthy of serious scientific attention up front. Period, as eminiently qualified scientists have stated. Unfortunately too few of them.

    LONGER FORM:

    One can’t dismiss evidence based on a stack of specious assumptions. And there’s quite a stack of them up there, all of them resting on this extremely faulty premise:

    All evidence is either proof or garbage.

    Wrong. 99.9999999999999999999999% of all the evidence in scientific history was not proof. But it pointed the way to proving something.

    One cannot say what is behind those reports. I can tell you, though, that if you think Bobo and Cliff are making them up, you might need to think about that more. One cannot – that would be, science would forbid it – dismiss them unless one has compelling evidence, tantamount to proof, that what is causing them is not actual encounters with an unlisted animal, but in fact something else clearly and conclusively identified, in each case (craziness; nustoness; deludedness; swamp gas ohright; Paree doilies, or whatever that psycho-toss-off term for seeing dragons in clouds is, pareidolia ohright; etc. etc. etc.).

    One does not have that. And yes one needs that.

    Thus, dismissing the report databases wholesale – and using a bunch of four-dollar words in one’s dismissal – is simply doing what it makes one comfortable to do. Science is not, sorry to say, usally a totally comfortable process.

    Their frequency and coherence – alone – make the reports worthy of concerted scientific scrutiny, and sorry, I take the credentials of those who say that at far greater value than the credentials of those who say otherwise.

    Why?

    Compelling evidence, tantamount to proof, that the former are actually using those credentials, and that the latter are merely hiding behind them.

    The argument from authority is forbidden in science. Sorry. Way it is.

    You can’t prove – I said PROVE – what the witness was suffering from, in each and oh yes every case? Really?

    Allow me the English translation:

    I must bow out at this point, and sincerely join the chorus asking for serious scientific involvement in this question.

    Sorry. Way it is.

  52. DWA responds:

    “The correct “English” translation: unless the evidence can be scientifically validated, it is not evidence.”

    The evidence *can* be scientifically validated, by scientists going into what is called in four-dollar terms “the field” to validate it. Which has never required proof to do. It is, however, how, you know, the proof gets secured.

    Touche. Science: not an armchair deal.

  53. Goodfoot responds:

    Craig: with all due respect, I think it would be helpful if you would delineate, briefly, what a “personal attack” is, or is not.

    Thanks.

  54. Craig Woolheater responds:

    Goodfoot,

    Personal attacks = attacks on a personal level.

    Read the site’s terms of use linked in my comment above for further info.

    Thanks, Craig

  55. bigfootbuster responds:

    DWA,
    I will have to leave it. I have laid out the science. You have for some unknown reason to me (I can’t decide nor do I wish to pass judgment since I consider this a friendly debate we are having), choose to dismiss, mischaracterize or fail to comprehend the basic scientific issues.

    Your dialogue seems filled with contempt for science and you criticize mainstream science for things like not going out in the field. I am a field biologist. I go in the field. I have plenty of other colleagues who regularly go out in the field. If any of them, including me, would find evidence of a novel species, what on earth would motivate them (including me) to dismiss it?

    I have colleagues that have their names on the friggin’ creatures (you know, genus, species) – their last name has been “Latinized”. This is a big deal, particularly to them!

    It would be huge to have your name behind a discovery of this magnitude. So, though for some reason, you do not want to believe me, I can attest to you that mainstream science is not ducking for cover. They, including me, do not want to be disgraced like so many before have done by buying into mistaken identities or outright hoaxes. They want to be certain.

    Gee, I hope this in some way helps.

  56. Goodfoot responds:

    bigfootbuster: FINALLY, your credentials! That was like pulling teeth. Now you’ve established a baseline for yourself.

    But this “friendly debate” schtick? PUH-LEEZE. The venom’s still not dry.

  57. DWA responds:

    bigfootbuster:

    Backatcha.

    Only I’m right.

    Prove it.

    Follow the evidence.

    (Acquaintance required.)

  58. DWA responds:

    Oh.

    Forgot.

    See a bigfoot out there sometime (yep, they never think they will…) then run back to your office and try to Latinize that.

    Uh huh.

  59. DWA responds:

    (I keep thinking, that’s enough, they won’t need any more help; but they ALWAYS need the help.)

    You know what I’m saying, right? You honestly think that if you or one of your Latinizin’ buddies saw a sasquatch in the field, we’d be on our way to case closed?

    You don’t. Because you know you will never see a sasquatch in the field, no way, not gonna happen, and neither will they. The databases are full of folks like that, my friend; the typical bigfoot eyewitness was a scoffer. Then they saw one.

    (No, I’m right. One of the many bennies of acquaintance with evidence.)

    So you can keep saying things that show you are in denial about this, because you know – but you don’t, but you do – that if you saw something like this you’d be facing the most serious career crisis of your life. Woohoo, let’s go back to the office and tell everybody I just confirmed sasquatch? Oh yeah. I’d pay for a ticket.

    The mainstream’s very attitude toward this topic “seems filled with contempt for science.” They presume presume presume; say there’s no need to do anything because this isn’t proven; [poopie]can thousands of eyewitnesses because, well, we’re better than them; and say My Degrees Are My Shield! Um, against information, apparently.

    My contempt is for scientists whose very attitude shows that they are not scientists, but mere technicians. And then choose to throw their degrees around and belittle those who …well, honestly, who see the situation on the ground far better than they do, because the degrees and the peer sneer don’t get in the way with us.

    You haven’t “laid out the science.” You have laid out something else, though. And it doesn’t speak well for the scientific mainstream. Which isn’t paying, when it comes to certain things, so much as lip service to real science, which carries an ever-open mind toward the unknown.

    Sorry, way it is. Evidence is like that.

    Oh. Jeff Meldrum – a guy who’s using those degrees, not hiding behind them – is putting out a sasquatch field guide next month. Do yourself and your Latin Club a favor. Pick a few up.

    Never know when you’ll need one.

  60. dconstrukt responds:

    i think the thing thats lost here with ya’ll arguing is this. (its actually kinda refreshing that I’m not the one arguing for once here LOL)

    we are talking about an “animal” that should not exist.

    an animal that for who knows how long has been called ‘the missing link’.

    and for this, we need extraordinary levels of proof.

    I keep saying this over and over… and all the while the proof coming out is comical at best, its no wonder most people have a difficult time taking this seriously… this community does more self inflicted harm to itself, its crazy.

    make it EASY for someone to believe. Give them SOLID proof.

    the wookie “breathing”… the “steaks”…. the “blurry” photos/video…. the sightings… the footprints…

    all of this has either been previously hoaxed or is hoax-able…. so with this in mind, you MUST take more precautions when looking at this type of evidence in the future because ALL have been proven to be hoax able and with willing people out there doing it.

    with that in mind… to me, bigfootbuster has a very valid point:

    unless the evidence can be scientifically validated, it is not evidence.

    we are looking for REAL validated evidence… not someone thinking they have recorded sounds of a bigfoot because they have no clue what the sound is.

    VALIDATED.

    Remember folks, we’re talking about an unknown animal that should not exist.

    not a new type of owl or dog. :-)



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