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Dr. Melba Ketchum Uses Robots to Extract Bigfoot DNA from Teeth and Bones

Posted by: Guy Edwards on March 30th, 2013

Bigfoot Lunch Club


Dr. Melba Kecthum is excited about new DNA extraction techniques

First thing first, although the headline of this post says Bigfoot DNA, obviously it is possible Bigfoot DNA. I always get emails about that, and while I appreciate that Bigfoot is an uncertainty to the world at large, which makes anything related to Bigfoot even more uncertain, it is a headline and all that uncertainty is implied by the very topic itself.

More to the point, Dr. Melba Ketchum announced she will be working on teeth and bone samples in pursuit of Bigfoot DNA. The technique she will be using is a technique taught to her from a Dr. Pat. According to Dr. Ketchum, Dr. Pat has never failed at getting DNA from bone and has developed the extraction techniques that have identified people for the military, including the soldiers buried in the Tomb of the Unknown.

She is even using robots! Read her announcement below:

We are working on teeth and bones….can’t wait to see if we hit pay dirt so to speak!!! Have a variety of samples…we shall see what we get….. Dr. Pat, my second author is amazing. Even the Armed Forces lab was using his extraction techniques last time I heard (You know, they identify bones from MIAs and other lost servicemen and even identified the person in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from the Vietnam War). He taught me the technique, but he has the wonderful robots that make extractions more perfect than I could ever do manually. He has never failed to get DNA from bone. Even manually his techniques are SO fantastic that I was able to get usable DNA from cremated remains in two separate cases (one cat and one human) and I never thought we could do that, especially without robots. We recently extracted DNA from some 2000 year old tissue and hair and got good results (DNA profiles) using these extraction methods without having to amplify the DNA (WGA) or make a “library” like they did for the Neandertal and Denisovan hominins prior to sequencing. We have one sample that is highly degraded bone and it will be interesting if this will be the first time this extraction technique fails. I am betting on getting DNA though. The academics could sure learn a few things from forensic scientists about extracting good DNA from minimal samples and also how to determine if there is really contamination other than just assuming that there is… It is so awesome! I gotta love science!!!!Dr. Melba Ketchum

On a side note, the whole point of the Tomb of the Unknown is the anonymous soldiers represent any soldier that has died for us. For symbolic reasons we want them unknown. However there is a reason to identify them and the Washington Post does a good job explaining it.

Dr. Melba Ketchum has an interesting commentary regarding the distinction between forensic scientist and academic scientists. You can read her full announcement as well as short videos about one of the tooth samples at Bigfoot Lunch Club.

Guy Edwards About Guy Edwards
Psychology reduces to biology, all biology to chemistry, chemistry to physics, and finally physics to mathematical logic. Guy Edwards is host of the Portland, OR event HopsSquatch.com.


7 Responses to “Dr. Melba Ketchum Uses Robots to Extract Bigfoot DNA from Teeth and Bones”

  1. darthstinger responds:

    1- There are teeth and bones people have that they have connected to bigfoot, yet most of the evidence people mention is videos and footprints. What the heck. That’s the kind of physical evidence that’s wanted, why are they not mentioned as much as the PG film?

    2- Where are the teeth/bones coming from? I don’t mean people’s names, I’m talking provenance. What is the context in which they were found? As most anthropologists and many paleontologists will you, context is EXTREMELY important in analyzing material. In this case especially, as there are potential legal issues that can arise (see 3). Using unprovenanced materials is a problem because they lack context, and so are worth little more than as a paper weight to scientific analysis. The one tooth apparently does have (limited) provenance, so that’s good.

    3- The legal issues can arise if the bones/teeth were collected from federal or state land without the proper permits. The people who are providing the bones/teeth may face fines or jail time, depending on what type of land they collected the material from, what type of permit they had (if any) and what the permit allowed, and if the material is human. If the material turns out to be human rather than bigfoot people will be in a world of hurt.
    4- Ketchum’s previous research make the conclusion that bigfoot are a type of humans, and so should be treated as indigenous people. That would mean the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) would be applied. It would also mean the communities should be at least consulted. And not just bigfoot communities, people local to the area the bones were found, people who have historical connections to the area, other bigfoot researchers, etc.

    Yet “using robots to get DNA!” is what is being focused on here. Really for me the biggest issue is the possibility these are not bigfoot bones but human bones, or if bigfoot is a type of human. Just because the mainstream scientific Western culture may be okay with testing remains, doesn’t mean all are, and those who don’t want the remains of their friends, family, ancestors, or fellow culture members tested should be respected. If Ketchum is arguing for bigfoot to be treated as indigenous people she should recognize that fact, not be all “robots and forensics, YAY SCIENCE!”

  2. semillama responds:

    Did anyone else flash to this image upon reading the headline?

    Seriously, though, darthstinger raises some good points, and I’d like to add that given the controversy swirling around Ketchum, it would be in the best interest of scientific investigations into the question of bigfoot if someone else were to do the analysis. In addition, the samples should be closely examined by experts in primate biology and evolution, and for good measure should be scanned in three dimensions before any destructive testing is done.

    One other thing that darthstinger brought up that I would add a caveat to, and this speaks to provenience: NAGPRA does not come into play if the samples were obtained from private land. If they were taken from Federal land without some sort of permit, then the samples would definitely need to be examined to rule out their being human remains (should be done anyway). If ancient, then the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) comes into play. If recent, then local law enforcement should be involved.

  3. Goodfoot responds:

    How come everybody has a robot but me?

  4. edsbigfoot responds:

    Thought this Harvard Gazette article on DNA robots was pretty darn cool.

  5. asecretcountry responds:

    And will this new “research” be accompanied by another new pay per view video of a human inside a suit lying on the ground?

    You know how she previously released that lame fake video(which had already appeared previously) to strengthen a lame pr campaign to strengthen a lame paper.

    Because that’s what anyone normal and sane would do right?

    Will we see some new fake footage and the same dodgy “science” journal being used…again?

    The mea culpa from Ketchum’s three ? under age supporters online must still be coming…

    Beyond parody, as usual…

  6. shownuff responds:

    @ asecretcountry.

    IDk why you have to be so negative. I am not under age. And I like her work. A lot of funny things happened in the whole scandal. Most of it from listening to her C2C interview sounded sincere. She explained how everything went down. She did not lie about anything. Your a smart one, Your asking questions but in a sarcastic way. so you can say you were not insulting her at all. Your entitled to write whatever your heart desires. BUT, Do not make stuff up. What she is doing is cool. And, has got other scientist now trying to get stuff done as well. Before her no Genetic lab was or is taking it serious. So I say, let her do her thing. If people are sheep they will follow. But if all of this comes out true. Then my friend just chill out and drink a beer. and say…”dam.!” lol

  7. Dufusyte responds:

    Melba, you go girl! The evidence is on your side, and I’m super happy you keep firing out the proof(s) like a rapid fire machine gun, cutting down the nay sayers.

    Robots, “Fire away!”



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