Ketchum Sasquatch DNA Study Self-Published?

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on February 19th, 2013

One of the questions about the study, and refuted by Ketchum, is that she self published the study.

She says:

One thing I want to make ABUNDANTLY clear. I did not self publish, but acquired the other journal. I have had and still have NOTHING to do with any publishing, editing or peer reviewing for Denovo. That was all completed prior to the acquisition of Denovo.Melba Ketchum

The previous name of the Denovo Journal was: Journal of Advanced Multidisciplinary Exploration in Zoology or JAMEZ.

I wasn’t able to find much online about the journal, but I did find this:

JAMEZ 2013 : Journal of Advanced Zoological Exploration in Zoology

Link: (dead link)

When N/A
Where N/A
Submission Deadline TBD
Final Version Due Jan 11, 2013

Call For Papers

The Journal of Advanced Zoological Exploration in Zoology (JAMEZ) is seeking new and innovative studies from the up and coming academics and scientists in the world of Zoology. Our newly redesigned platform utilizes online access for authors to easily and efficiently submit manuscripts, facilitate peer review, manage with a dynamic editorial advisory board, and publish through an open access model. We also encourage pre-published manuscripts and commentaries.

Specific areas of interest for our 1st quarter issue include:

What can new technology provide in the 21st century, like Next Generation Sequencing, to open the phylogenetic trees of newly discovered living species?

This quarter’s issue we will look at opportunities and new development in the exploration of zoology through whole genomic next generation sequencing.

Please submit your papers electronically for the following Author options:

1) Open Peer Review
2) Single Blinded Peer Review
3) Double Blinded Peer Review
4) Triple Blinded Peer Review

(Note: the higher the peer review model- the great the impact score of your manuscript).

Please email to submit a manuscript or visit us at scholastica and submit your manuscript online: (dead link)

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.

16 Responses to “Ketchum Sasquatch DNA Study Self-Published?”

  1. PoeticsOfBigfoot responds:

    Too funny. Tailor written for her own farcical paper. Go back to treating cats for ringworm, “Dr.”

  2. Cryptoraptor responds:


    Why so skeptical and sarcastic about this but so gullible and defensive about a shaky, grainy 1967 film showing a man walking in an ape suit? Have you made similar comments against Patterson?

  3. odingirl responds:

    I have to admit, that is pretty appalling. It’s hard to believe that Dr. Ketchum seriously thought that would appear coincidental and just wonderfully fortuitous. Her entire approach to this resembles more and more the actions of an incredibly narcissistic personality. I feel sorry for future researchers in this field who will have to shed the weight of this fiasco to be taken even remotely seriously.

  4. MR JOSHUA responds:

    @Crytoraptor – Melba Ketchum’s results were rejected by Peers in a matter of days who provided insight as to how her evidence could have easily been contaminated. Lets not get started on that hair covered blow up doll she is also stating is real. 44 years later and nobody has replicated PG film. Apples and oranges. Plus its a free country, people can be as smug on here as they want. At least they are honest with themselves that all signs are pointing to Ketchum’s study being garbage.

  5. hoodoorocket responds:

    @ cryptoraptor- gosh, if one was not careful, they might infer from your many one-note comments that you think the Patterson-Gimlin film is possibly a hoax, lol.

    Care to list any critical points of appraisal to support your theory? Because the brief broad-brush statements you make on Cryptomundo don’t hold water. Have you even seen the footage in question in a high definition format?

    I don’t know if bigfoot exists, but I consider the Patterson film to be the single most compelling argument for its existence.

    It remains the high water mark for moving image evidence. If you could put aside your pre-judgement of it, the actual film holds many many points of interest that could be debated by intelligent individuals on both sides of the “belief” issue.


  6. oldphilosopher responds:

    Suspicions should be arouse by all this, but no conclusions until after the following questions are answered:

    1. Who, exactly, was the person (or were the persons) responsible for creating this online journal (JAMEZ / Denovo)?

    2. What, if any, connections does this person(s) have to Dr. Ketchum, and/or her ardent supporters?

    3. To what degree, if any, was the original establishment of this online journal (JAMEZ / Denovo) motivated by the need or desire of the founder(s) to provide a platform for publication of Dr. Ketchum’s paper?

    Reliable answers to these questions are needed. Soon.

  7. JE_McKellar responds:

    What struck me is the details surrounding her acquisition of the journal. According to Ketchum, her paper had passed peer review, but the Journal’s *lawyers* threatened to leave if the paper was published. So Apparently Ketchum struck some sort of deal with the journal’s previous owners, buying the journal, changing the name, and booting out the lawyers so the paper could get finally published.

    From what I’ve read about the paper, it has some merits and some serious flaws. That means it should be presented in a low-impact, low-prestige journal, along with all the other risky, somewhat flawed research put out by scientists daily. Getting published in a peer-reviewed journal isn’t the end-all and be-all of scientific authority, it’s just the beginning of the conversation. Even stuff published by seasoned researchers in prestigious journals gets criticized, refuted, and even retracted from time to time, that’s just how science works. But having the journal’s lawyers pop up and say you’re not allowed to publish anything about Bigfoot? That’s just insane.

    Ketchum mentioned a series of e-mails that she presented to Noory documenting this whole fiasco; those need to be made public, or at least reviewed in-depth by a third party.

    Frankly, I becoming quite disgusted with the quality of the discussion surrounding the paper. Ketchum’s work needs to be discussed upon the quality of its own merits, not the quality of De Novo’s clip art or even Ketchum’s personality. The only flaws worth talking about now are flaws in methodology and analysis.

  8. Fhqwhgads responds:

    No good. This is like Jerry Jones saying that he has nothing to do with the Cowboys having another disappointing season. It’s just pure coincidence that the only paper published in the journal she has just bought and renamed is hers? Riiiight. She claims to have nothing to do with the editorial process — except, of course, being able to hire and fire the editor (whose name does not appear on the site).

    Another key item missing from the site is any information about the scope of the journal. Real-world journals are very specific about the topics they cover.

    Then there’s this weirdness. “This option is one of DeNovo’s most creative options because it offers authors the ability to submit manuscripts prior to traditional peer review processes. The “Open Peer Review” option allows voluntary referee’s* [sic] to provide anonymous or open identity peer review of the manuscript. The referee comments will be posted as part of the published manuscript.​”

    First of all, EVERYONE submits the manuscript “prior to traditional peer review”, because it is the journal that selects the reviewers. (Some journals do allow the author to make suggestions for reviewers, in light of their expertise, and against others, in light of personal conflicts.) This is like saying De Novo allows authors the ability to submit the manuscript prior to publication. No kidding!

    More problematically, this sounds a lot like a blog. Science blogs are a good thing, but a blog is not a journal, and blog commenters are not submitting scientific peer reviews. After all, all reviewers are “volunteers” (in the sense of not being paid by the journal or author and free to turn down the review opportunity), but they are selected by the journal on account of their published work in related areas. This makes it sound like the “volunteers” are submitting “reviews” with no more influence from the “journal” than Cryptomundo exerts over our comments.

  9. semillama responds:

    So, is she claiming that this other journal, which apparently never published anything before, accepted her paper and got it through peer review, and then she bought it? And she doesn’t think that’s still a clear conflict of interest?

    Who did the peer review?

    I’ll be very interested to see if anyone else is able to test her material and get similar results.

  10. PoeticsOfBigfoot responds:

    Um, yes.

  11. Fhqwhgads responds:

    “Frankly, I becoming quite disgusted with the quality of the discussion surrounding the paper. Ketchum’s work needs to be discussed upon the quality of its own merits, not the quality of De Novo’s clip art or even Ketchum’s personality.”

    Right. Just the same way I should have been invited to participate in the NBA slam dunk contest; let those overpaid jocks prove on the court that they can dunk better than me! Too bad for me that the price of admission to being taken seriously for the slam dunk contest is to actually get an NBA team to hire me. Too bad for Ketchum that the price of admission for an academic paper being taken seriously is for it to be published by a credible journal.

    This may seem terribly unfair to you, but it’s not. It’s there for two reasons, really.

    (1) Due to lack of resources (notably time), we have to prioritize. It’s not really worthwhile to read all those emails with subject lines like “Cheap Viagra!!!” Getting a paper into a journal is the equivalent of getting the email into the inbox, rather than the spam folder.

    (2) In any article, the issue of trustworthiness arises. If you Google “scientific misconduct”, you’ll see that this trust is indeed sometimes abused. It’s not simply the case that “the only flaws worth talking about now are flaws in methodology and analysis,” we also have to trust that the data are honest. It helps to have an affiliation with a known institution (a university, national lab, industrial lab, etc.) to build this trust — the same way a traveler might prefer to stay at a chain hotel like Holiday Inn instead of Scary Bob’s Discount Motel. It also helps to have the paper published by a reputable and independent journal. Melba Ketchum appears to be accountable for the honesty of this research neither to her employers, nor to a professional society, nor to the publishers and editors of the journal, nor to anyone but herself. A lack of accountability does not PROVE untrustworthiness, but it certainly introduces the doubt.

  12. odingirl responds:

    Bravo Fhgwhgads, beautifully stated.

    The original ‘journal’ title is quite funny, actually: The Journal of Advanced Zoological Exploration in Zoology. It’s as if a high schooler writing a paper wants to sound knowledgable and thinks the way to do this is to come up with “Zoological Exploration” in … wait for it … “Zoology.”

    As for misconduct, Fhgwhgads is spot on. I work in research compliance and one of the more important statements in our misconduct policy is this: “Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences in opinion. Research misconduct is committed intentionally and represents a significant departure from accepted practices of the relevant research community.” No matter how good your data is, if you choose to circumvent the processes that are in place to confirm your findings, you’re risking everything you’ve presumably worked so hard for.

    For those of us who find the possibility of Sasquatch compelling and worthy of exploration, Melba Ketchum has become our nightmare.

  13. DWA responds:

    Um, Melba?

    Way too much talk, way too little, you know, goods.

    This is why you rarely see anything before the paper’s in final. Every time anything has been said about this, doubt has been piled on doubt.

    If it’s the horse I bet, I’m at the ticket window right now. Either start the race, or gimme my %$$#! dough back.

  14. JE_McKellar responds:

    @Fhqwhgads, to use your basketball analogy, it’s like refusing to even watch a single-A basketball game, let alone entertain the idea that the players might have some talent, just because they aren’t playing for the big teams. The hierarchy of journals is there to help people figure out what to take seriously and what to pay attention to, but that hierarchy has a place at the bottom for the risky, slightly flawed, and rough-cut amateurs.

    According to Ketchum, her article passed peer review, before her project acquired the journal. So the basic standards of quality had already been met. With those standards met, it was time for the article to be published, along with the raw sequence data, so that it could be properly evaluated by the larger scientific community. But the lawyers stepped in, and Ketchum had to resort to this maneuver of acquiring the journal to get around them. Since the paper passed peer review, the lawyer’s objections had to be legal, not scientific.

    My best guess is that the legal issues may have had something to do with the classification of the samples as Human, thus giving the paper’s subjects certain legal protections, including the right not to have their DNA sampled without their permission.

    This post highlights legal issues surrounding the the submission of the samples to GenBank, and I assume that the journal’s lawyers had similar reservations.

    You seem to be concerned that Ketchum’s data might be flawed or even faked, but whole-genome sequencing like this is difficult to fake. It really doesn’t matter where the samples came from, as long as they are consistent with a creature that is similar to existing hominins (Great apes, modern humans, and the archaic samples we have), but not exactly matching a known species, then it’s evidence of a new species that needs to be studied. Ketchum, while qualified as a forensic scientist to do the sequencing, isn’t fully qualified to do the needed comparisons, and that’s why it’s important that the data be released so that other scientists can analyze it. Refusing to look at the data is simply close-minded.

  15. Fhqwhgads responds:


    “According to Ketchum, her article passed peer review, before her project acquired the journal.”

    Several things jump out here. The first is “according to Ketchum”. Such an announcement really needs to come from someone else, someone who is not an employee of hers. If she has any interest in “publishing” this article, as opposed to just posting it on a web page, it means she has a conflict of interest in evaluating the qualification of her own article. Let the former editors, if they have been let go by her, come out and say that her article passed their review.

    Another thing is that her article clearly WAS NOT PUBLISHED IN THE PRE-PURCHASE JOURNAL. That’s just a statement of fact. The journal now has a new name, a new owner, possibly a new scope, probably a new staff. It is actually a different journal than the one to which she submitted. Even if she was accepted for publication in “The Journal of Advanced Zoological Exploration in Zoology” (which indeed does sound like a very minor-league journal), she was actually published in “De Novo”. But reviews are not transferable.

    That is clearly a point that is not coming across; too many people here are talking about “peer review” as though it is a single thing or something magical. Let me be specific, though. The American Physical Society (with a current membership of about 50,000) used to publish a journal called Physical Review. As time went on, it was divided again and again; currently there is Physical Review Letters, Physical Review A–E, and Physical Review X. If I submit a paper to PRE (which includes statistical mechanics) and the editors conclude it is a better fit for PRB (solid-state physics), I have to withdraw it from PRE and submit to a new review by PRB. The PRE reviewers cannot OK it for publication in PRB, even though they are “scientific peers” in the full sense of the term and will have been chosen because they have published in papers in the same general area, and even though PRE and PRB are sister journals owned by the same society. (Incidentally, you might want to visit to see the copious information about the journal, including a description of its scope and sections for contributors and for referees.)

    If you’d rather go back to metaphors, passing peer review is like a guy getting a “yes” when he asks a girl out to the prom. Let’s say her dad’s lawyers say it is a very bad idea to let her go to the prom with the boy, which freaks dad out so much he quits his job, sells the house, and moves the whole family out of state. Another family, also with a daughter his age, moves into the house. Sorry, but that “yes” to the prom date does not automatically carry over to the new girl. He’ll have to ask the new girl. Now, *maybe* the new girl thinks very highly of the earlier girl’s opinion and takes it into consideration, maybe not, but one way or the other, it is the new girl who must accept or decline her invitation.

    “So the basic standards of quality had already been met.”

    Actually, your statement should be, “So, according to Ketchum, the basic standards of quality had already been met.” Can you really not see that someone saying, “I am honest; I am trustworthy,” does not really mean anything? An honest person might say that because it is truthful. A dishonest person would be lying to say that, but a dishonest person would be willing to lie.

    Here is the situation. No one seems to know what the “basic standards of quality” were for the original journal; at least I haven’t been able to find out anything meaningful about it from either Google or It doesn’t seem to have been a journal with any reputation whatsoever — good, bad, or indifferent; it appears to have come and gone leaving a smaller footprint than my personal web page. Likewise, no one seems to know what the “basic standards of quality” are for the new journal; there is nothing on the journal web page to indicate this. Finally, the only assurance we have that this paper met the standards of the old journal is a statement from the author.

    If I were to imagine an amateurish attempt to give the appearance of accountability without exposure to the risk of real accountability, this would be it. She might as well name her journal The Spam Folder.

  16. JE_McKellar responds:

    @Fhqwhgads, I agree that the irregular nature of the publication doesn’t lend Ketchum or DeNovo a whole lot of legitimacy. I am taking her at her word that the article passed peer review before the journal was acquired. Maybe she’s lying, maybe she’s misrepresenting events. At any rate, it’s important that the article, with the attached data, was released, one way or the other.

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