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, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

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

  1. 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:


    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.


    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.


    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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.


  4. Craig Woolheater responds:


    Personal attacks = attacks on a personal level.

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

    Thanks, Craig

  5. bigfootbuster responds:

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. DWA responds:



    Only I’m right.

    Prove it.

    Follow the evidence.

    (Acquaintance required.)

  8. DWA responds:



    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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.


    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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