Ketchum on Disotell

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on October 7th, 2013

“This is Robin posting something I feel is important.

This needs to be said:

To clarify: I do not know Todd Disotell. When Adrian Erickson came to our project, he told me that he had sent an aliquot of the red Sasquatch’s blood to Disotell for testing. AE has results and correspondence as proof. He was extremely upset because Disotell had destroyed the sample. Disotell got human mitochondrial DNA sequence when he tested the sample and didn’t believe that it came from a Sasquatch. He told the PhD on Erickson’s staff that somebody must have hoaxed it. He said this in spite of the fact that the study was well monitored by Dennis Pfohl who is extremely credible was in control of the food trap start to finish. If it was hoaxed, our genetic testing showed the suspect would be a red headed female, which obviously Dennis is not. In addition, the whole genome SNP testing excluded this individual (the red headed female) as being 100% human with results close to 20% below the human threshold.

After Disotell destroyed the DNA (Mr. Erickson’s staff had requested the remaining sample be returned), another aliquot that had been retained by Erickson was sent to Paleo labs in Canada. They also obtained human results on the mitochondrial DNA. Finally, AE sent the remainder of the DNA to our study and had Paleo labs send what they had left also. Our lab also obtained human mitochondrial sequence. These were all independent tests using different laboratories. We then began testing the sample using several platforms to obtain nuclear DNA sequences and profiles. This sample like all of the other samples in the study yielded human sequence as well as unknown sequence.

Disotell specializes in evolution using mitochondrial DNA. He is not qualified to comment on the genomics or other disciplines in this study. Like he said on the Joe Rogan show, our project used “some of the latest cutting edge science” that he is not expert on–he admits “I can’t follow 3/4 of that paper.” The raw data for this paper continues to be available as separate files with the manuscript. He is a perfect example of the scientific bias we have faced”

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.

14 Responses to “Ketchum on Disotell”

  1. NMRNG responds:

    “Disotell specializes in evolution using mitochondrial DNA. He is not qualified to comment on the genomics or other disciplines in this study.”

    Can someone please explain to me how exactly a veterinarian is qualified to do DNA research?

    Also, it has been said that Ketchum has had financial problems (I’ve read that in several comments) and assuming that statement is true, how exactly can she afford the very latest in equipment to perform DNA analysis, which seems like it would cost more than the half-million her project was funded.

  2. Jayross responds:

    But most, if not all of us, are very familiar with the Star Wars franchise – which qualifies us to recognize a wookie costume when we see it.

    Until that matter is explained, everything else surrounding this “project” is suspect at best.

  3. bobhelferstay responds:

    I am trying to keep the video and DNA results apart. Everyone is fast to pick apart Ketchum and her creditials.

  4. NMRNG responds:

    OK Bob – if you think people are being too hasty to question her credentials, than please answer the question I asked above on this exact topic: how is a veterinarian qualified to perform DNA research? I don’t see the connection between being a vet and having the training and background in genetics and DNA research to know her subject. If you have an actual explanation, please provide it.

  5. airforce47 responds:


    I suspect the bottom line for Melba’s study will come out when Professor Sykes publishes his report next month or in Dec. She may have hit the nail on the head or she may be way off base. In either case the Professor will have the final say because this is his field. The only thing that could or would preempt him would be an actual body turned over to science for study.

    Dr Ketchum’s study has some serious problems or it would have been published by a journal. Although the subject is controversial it doesn’t mean that her conclusions are wrong until they’re proven wrong by someone with better credentials and better evidence. That’s coming so I suggest we just wait and find out. My best,

  6. Degnostik responds:


    Melba Ketchum is perfectly qualified to perform DNA research, which would be obvious to you if you saw her resume on Sasquatch Genome project Website.

    Also, professionals in the field seem to also find her perfectly qualified, which would be obvious if you saw her disclosed correspondence with one of the labs, available on the Bigfoot Field Journal blog and other places.

    Now, how exactly are you qualified to ask for proof of someone being qualified or not?


    she certainly had some serious problems publishing in a journal – her correspondence with the Nature magazine, for instance, was also disclosed some days ago, and it showed complete lack of professionalism by the reviewers who asked questions and had requirement that clearly showed they never actually read the paper they were reviewing. So, she was not rejected, not even ignored, but delayed for months, without being rejected nor accepted. It was clearly a sabotage.

  7. NMRNG responds:

    Degnostik, thank you for providing the link to Ketchum’s resume. I suppose I was lazy in not simply doing a Google search for it, as it turned up on the first page of such a search. Her resume does show education and work experience in DNA research.

    Your questioning my qualifications for questioning Ketchum’s qualifications is less apt, though. There is no typical or logical connection between veterinary science and DNA research, so having a D.V.M. hardly equates to experience and education in genetic research at the molecular level.

    One thing I found interesting is that Ketchum apparently has no further education beyond 2003 in DNA testing, aside from what she may have picked up through reading professional journals. I would have imagined the science in this field has changed rather rapidly over the past decade. I would also imagine that a scientist who is also an academic at a leading national university, whether or not he sports a rather odd hairstyle, would have kept up fairly well on attending various seminars and such on DNA testing. Maybe Dr. Melba is as current as can be and Disotell is venturing outside of his exact field of expertise – I have no way of knowing, as I’m a layperson.

  8. MR JOSHUA responds:

    Nail on the head NMRNG;

    Professor of National University Qualifications trump a “Vet” with some DNA background. If you read complaints against Melba’s company she has botched things as simple as Cat DNA. Don’t believe me check the Better Business Burea. (now watch the Ketchum police discredit BBB, usual tactic) JUNK SCIENCE, bottom line. She needs to go away before she brings more disgrace to this fledgling study of Sasquatch.

  9. Degnostik responds:


    I myself questioned my questioning of your qualifications for questioning Ketchum’s qualifications the moment I posted it. It was not a rational argument, and you’re right, makes no sense.

    I am more inclined to assume she did keep her knowledge sufficiently at the edge, if she’s a pro working on next generation sequencing with these Illumina machines. Although I am an adult person (41, actually), my first thoughts are still that people are honest and know what they are doing and talking about, and wait untill I’m proven wrong, not the other way around. Believe me, it’s faster – foul things get obvious quickly, while the other way keeps you in the dark. History of science is full of examples of manipulation and stolen credits, so you might miss the right thing if your perception and thinking operate in a negative mode. Dealing with frequent disappointments is worth it. As Dr Ian Stevenson once said (not an exact quote): it’s much better to be 51% sure in something important, than 99% sure in something trivial.

    For me, the “Ketchum case” is an excellent example. Over the months and years, I looked at debunking efforts with at least the same skepticism I had for her, and that helped me find out that she always had a perfectly good answer. And then I saw that her answers are being ignored. That’s the moment it becomes clear as day. For me, at least.


  10. Degnostik responds:


    this is what you said: her lab was a subject of some complaints to better BUSINESS bureau (in the worst year of economic crisis, btw), so her SCIENCE is junk…

    Exactly what I was talking about, thanks for a beautiful example.

    …as well as science of many other people, including PhDs, University of Texas lab etc. Well, why we dont ask BBB whether bigfoot exists?

    And yes, she talked about that, also. And yes, BBB is easy to discredit, but that’s NOT RELEVANT.

    You read her resume and all you understood was “a “Vet” with some DNA background”, right?

    And nobody comments the other link? Anybody searched for the Nature correspondence?

    I’m going to sleep – I’m on different continent, and this is futile.

  11. norman-uk responds:

    It seems too me Dr Disotell is best qualified at finding nothing new. Clearly Sasquatch is something extraordinary and this should show up in DNA results. Dr Disotell hasnt found anything new or special in the 17 years (?) hes been at it ! Maybe being an arrogant sceptic as he has demonstrated from his own mouth has something to do with this ? Perversely his failure has enhanced his reputation not called it into question.

    It matters not how qualified Dr disotell is when what is under consideration is the new evidence from Dr Ketchum who has bravely published and even if there is error she has moved the science of bigfoot DNA on, she has broken the log jam. Logically Dr Sykes hasnt come into this matter because he accepts Disotells findings as final, he must have some expectation that Disotell has got it wrong.

    In the difficult area of Sasquatch DNA I doubt Dr Ketcham has got it all right but she is much nearer the truth than Dr Distotell. Good luck to her and congratulations to her !

  12. Goodfoot responds:

    bobhelferstay: So the approach is to take both aspects – Ketchum’s DNA work (if it may be said to be that) and the video “evidence” apart separately, rather than together? I suppose that works about as well.

    The problem I have is that the connection between the two – however much of it is real and however much perception – seems inextricably intertwined at this late date.

    Maybe someone can convince me otherwise, but you’re not gonna use the video evidence to convince me of anything but clumsy fraud.

    That leaves us with the Ketchum DNA work. And that’s still under the table, leaving me with nothing of value.

    I think I’ll have another beer.

  13. DWA responds:


    “…my first thoughts are still that people are honest and know what they are doing and talking about, and wait untill I’m proven wrong, not the other way around. Believe me, it’s faster – foul things get obvious quickly, while the other way keeps you in the dark.”

    If bigfoot skeptics understood this, they’d be a whole lot further along in understanding what’s happening than they are. In fact, all of us pretty much act that way toward most of the people we meet on a daily basis. Or else we’d never get our houses remodeled; our cars fixed; our pizza much past our nose much less our teeth, etc.

  14. Degnostik responds:

    amen to that.

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