Melba Ketchum: Sasquatch DNA Project Update

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on January 2nd, 2012

Melba Ketchum has posted the following update on her Facebook wall this evening.

For everyone that keeps asking for when the paper will be out, please understand that 1) I cannot talk about our data or it will never get published. Those are journal rules. 2) I cannot divulge which journal as that will kill our paper also so speculation is futile. 3) Peer review and publication can take 5 to 26 weeks and then there is the question of revision where they ask you to change or re-write or edit some of the paper. It is a rare paper that is accepted without some revision. I know this because I peer review for some well known scientific journals also. 4) Timing is very difficult to say the least because of #3 and once again, I am sure the journal would reject the paper if I told you exactly when I think the paper would be out. Soon is as much as I can say. I cannot afford to lose all of the exceptionally difficult work that my co-authors and I have put into this project. I am asking you to understand this! Please. 5) I also ask you to understand that I am not trying to be rude or disrespectful to anyone by my silence. I would love nothing better than to scream our results to the world. But, like everything else in the world of Sasquatch, it will NOT prove ANYTHING if the data doesn’t undergo the rigors of peer review in the scientific community. It has to convince the skeptics (or at least skeptical scientists) or it is just another attempt to prove the existence of BF that cannot be substantiated even though we have overkilled the science on this project beyond all realms of reason. So, I guess the question is, do we rush and and fail, or do we play by the rules and prove something once and for all that will vindicate thousands who have had sightings. They are real and most if not all of the people on FB here are believers. Please, let’s do this right so the world will know once and for all that there is a real and illusive creature that is alive and well right here in our own backyards. If I have any news I can share, I will share it here though, OK?Melba Ketchum

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.

22 Responses to “Melba Ketchum: Sasquatch DNA Project Update”

  1. DWA responds:

    To those who think there is something to this, it must feel like Chinese water torture.

  2. Don Schneider via Facebook responds:

    This will cause humanity to rethink their own assumed evolution timeline.

  3. scaryeyes responds:

    Hmm. Though biology is not my area, I do have some experience submitting to academic journals, and while I understand why Dr Ketchum can’t discuss her results before publication, I can’t imagine an otherwise perfectly good paper would be rejected just because the author mentioned what journal they’d submitted it to or speculated on a possible timeframe. If someone who has experience submitting to biological science journals can confirm they really are that strict, I’ll stand corrected, but right now, it’s sounding like a bit of an excuse to me.

  4. muircertach responds:

    This just screams hoax.

  5. Bryan Hayes via Facebook responds:

    can’t wait till this comes out!! i have to ask if they have enough DNA could they clone one!!

  6. Sebastian Wang via Facebook responds:

    Make me laugh when a professional got suck into a project as such (can I say money works its magic?) There is no science in a non-scientific field, particularly the sampling of data is extremely questionable.

  7. Zilla responds:

    I just want this saga to end. Hey, maybe we’ll get some good proof out of it. Still, I feel at least a little hyped for the results of Dr. Ketchum’s paper. It could bring some very interesting proof to study.

  8. Cryptidcrazy responds:

    I hope the Mayans were wrong about 12/21/2012 or else we’re never gonna know the truth, as long as this is taking…….. (sarcasm).

  9. Hapa responds:

    No problem. Science can take a long time, and patience is a virtue. Some findings can take years to be fully revealed. As far as I know there is not yet any major news reported of unusually large skeletons (for the following time period), perhaps remains of the Biblical Rephaim peoples (Giants in the Bible), found at Tell Es sai’dyeh (that most likely is not spelled right ) by Dr Jonathan Tubb, other than a few obscure journal writings and a documentary (very rare) on Goliath (which you can get at Amazon. the skeletons of large size were on average over 6 feet tall, a considerable height for a time period when the average was about 5 and a half or less. 7 feet tall females skeletons were also said to have been found, but these two specimens are even harder to pin down. But it will eventually be disclosed, and unlike that find, you say yours will be soon revealed.

    Take your time. Do it by the book. I pray for your success. 🙂

  10. BunniesLair responds:

    I personally have never published a journal, but I do know it is a quite rigorous process, as I have worked with Universities that have spent years getting one paper published. Once the paper or article was accepted, it took several years for that “accepted article” to be published in the Journal. (My brush with the experience was in the medical area so natural science may be less time consuming?)

    Of the papers that this university submitted that I was aware of, only about 10% actually make it past the peer review. Those that did pass peer review still had rewrites that had to be submitted. They (the Uni) said it was par for the course.

    This may seem like its an excuse or a hoax to some, but if we want the science community to take this seriously, it really does need to go through the rigors of this process. If all goes well, and it does pass on the first attempt (which I doubt) you are still looking at late 2013 or 2014 before its out. If there is a rewrite, (which I suspect) push that date by a year.

  11. todreynard responds:


    Your common sense is just that. Scientists present their data at conferences all the time before the data are submitted or released in publication. If they feel particularly competitive and fear they may get scooped by colleagues in their field, they may not reveal much to their peers before they can confirm their paper’s acceptance.

    Now, it may be that the journal has admonished the team not to discuss, because there is concern that too much hoopla might undermine the peer review process. Ketchum’s statements appear to be “dumbed down” considerably for a lay audience.

  12. scaryeyes responds:

    BunniesLair – it’s not the existence of a process that makes me think of an excuse; I’m fully aware of there is a process of peer review etc. It’s Dr Ketchum’s apparent belief that her paper will be automatically rejected if she so much as mentions who she submitted it to that is puzzling me. I’ve never come across a process so rigorous you’re not even allowed to tell people which journal you’ve submitted to. The only explanation I can think of is she’s submitted to multiple journals simultaneously, and doesn’t want that to come out, since that might well be contrary to submission guidelines (and is not generally considered good practise). That actually could well lead a journal to reject her paper on that grounds – but I can’t quite believe she’d be foolish enough to risk having her paper nixed by deliberately breaching submission guidelines when she emphasises herself how important the validation of following the proper process is.

    I suppose it’s also possible that when she says the paper won’t be published if she names the journal, she’s talking about sod’s law rather than actual journal policy. But there is a semantic difference between preferring not to say and not being able to say. Either way, it feels like something’s amiss. At the very least, it sounds like she’s having a lot of trouble finding this paper a home, which doesn’t inspire confidence.

  13. scaryeyes responds:

    @ todreynard I did already say I understood her reluctance to discuss her actual data before publication. You may be right that given the extraordinary subject matter the journal in question has asked her to say nothing, but if so, she would be doing herself a favour if she were slightly more clear about her reason for silence, rather than making vague and ambiguous statements. The latter just calls into doubt that there’s anything concrete here at all.

    Ulimately, though, this is all just speculation, and time will tell. I’ll leave it at that.

  14. midwest mimi responds:

    I think her comments in the last couple of paragraphs pretty much says it all, folks. She would not want to “scream her results to the world” if they didn’t provide proof. Nor did she say it MAY be a real creature. She comes right out and says its real, something I doubt she’d do if the results came back that it was a known species. You can wait for the boring scientific journal if you want, but I think she tipped her hand.

  15. BunniesLair responds:

    Hi scaryeyes – I do know that there are some medical journals (perhaps not all) that will decline a submission if they find out it has been sent to another journal. I believe, (could be wrong) it is called ‘triage’. Where a small panel looks over what is available for review and they decline the majority for a myriad of reasons; one such reason being that another journal is looking at it. Basically the peer review is a lot of work for the reviewers (and reviewers are paid); why would a journal send a paper out for peer review when another journal may review it? They would not, they would save the expense. They would cut if the from the list to free the space for another paper. So, if it is known the paper has been ‘shopped’ so to speak, they decline it.

  16. mandors responds:

    Considering the controversial nature of the subject, I could see how a “legitimate” journal would want to know the results prior to publication, i.e., that the results are completely accurate and done within the boundaries of science.

    That said, is this the DNA sample that supposedly came from that hunter guy who supposedly shot a mother bigfoot in front of the babies?

  17. norman-uk responds:

    This may be an example of what Dr Ketchum has signed up for. This is an example from Jeff Meldrum’s relic hominoid journal.

    Authors are to submit their manuscripts to the Editor-in-Chief, preferably via email. The following items are required: a cover letter with a brief introduction describing the author’s qualifications, and a statement that the submission has not been previously published in another journal, and will not be simultaneously submitted or published elsewhere; an original manuscript (including the text, tables, and figures), two clean hard copies, and a CD (or discs) containing the manuscript and figures. Label the CD with the name of the file(s) and date. Microsoft Word format is required. Make sure your word processing program’s “fast save” feature is turned off. Do not deliver files that contain hidden text. For example, do not use your word processor’s automated features to create footnotes or reference lists.

    It seems essential that details of the submission are not revealed before publication in view of the reception they might get in the media and internet. All the criticisms, distortions and pure bloody mindedness!

    Melba might find herself in a position where her work could be torn to pieces and not be able to answer back. In the process bringing the bigfoot endeavor into disrepute. No she’s best to keep mum!

  18. AreWeThereYeti responds:

    @ norman-uk: You sorta stole my thunder, but I’ll go ahead and say it anyway:

    Isn’t this EXACTLY what Drs.’ Meldrum, Bindernagle, Disotell, Nekaris, et al. “Relict Hominoid Inquiry” Board/Journal was created for?

    Why not submit the paper to the one panel that would not have an a priori bias against the existance of Sasquatch?

    Then again, maybe Dr. Ketchum has done exactly that and even “they” are having problems with her findings…

  19. norman-uk responds:


    You can guarantee that Melba would have problems with that panel because of arch-sceptics on it. You may appreciate that some forms of scepticism in practice may not be reasonable or scientific.

    This is an example from history of what I mean. In the nineteenth century a man (in Edinburgh ?) had a leg painlessly removed under hypnosis. Some scientists couldn’t believe it and said he was pretending!

    Todd Disotell for example is on record as stating that his job as a scientist is not to prove anything but to disprove it.

    I think there there are problems in the subject itself apart from any from rampant scepticism. This does not mean the work is wrong in whats important.

  20. AreWeThereYeti responds:


    I think we may be arguing at cross-purposes here.

    I am well aware of Dr. Disotell’s stance regarding “(dis)proof.” Moreover, I submit that any scientist worth their PhD should tell you the same! Dr. Disotell’s duty, as well as that of the other panel members, should be to attempt to “disprove” Dr. Ketchum’s research. It is only by probing for any/all weaknesses in her methods that her hypotheses can be accepted. If she cannot explain or remedy any resultant flaws, then her claims will have (correctly) failed to “prove” anything.

    Of course none of us have any way of knowing to what Journal Dr. Ketchum submitted her paper. I merely suggested the RHI as its expressed purpose is to “promote research and provide a venue for the dissemination of scholarly peer-reviewed papers evaluating the possible existence and nature of relict hominoid species around the world.” As such I would expect no less than the most rigorous disection of Dr. Ketchum’s submission while at the same time not rejecting her submisson out-of-hand, as other Journals might, as preposterous.

    That it is taking so long for her work to be vetted suggests it is:
    A.) Currently withstanding on-going attempts to disprove her hypotheses; or,
    B.) Being rejected/returned for clarification; or
    C.) Been mercilessly torn to shreds under the unblinking glare of scientific scrutiny.

    Time will tell…

  21. flame821 responds:

    Or it could be that the journal, knowing the media spectacle that this will be, specifically asked her to NOT mention their name to keep things as sane as possible and to prevent their reviewers from being pestered by skeptics and believers alike. Not to mention the possible ‘peer’ pressure regarding legitimizing “Bigfoot” research.

    And yes, decent scientists do try to disprove things, however there is a huge difference between disproving and refusing to see proof. The scientific community, like many others, is sprinkled with both. And I would prefer the journal in question was able to quietly give the article to the reviewers in the appropriate fields of knowledge and let them do their jobs without the added stress of media and peer pressure to influence them one way or another.

  22. BFSleuth responds:

    Regarding the requirements of publications, I would recommend looking for yourself. Here is a link to the Embargo requirements of Nature magazine, for example.

    Note that if you submit a paper and talk to the media about your findings, they will reject the paper. Not until within 7 days of publication can you talk, and generally that will be a press conference if it is a major finding.

    Why do publications do this? Because they are fronting a LOT of money for peer review and editing to get the paper ready to publish. A grandstanding author that talks freely will reduce their return on investment. They have a right to make sure that when they publish a paper that they are the first to market with a readership that supports their investment.

    Of course after publication an author can talk openly.

    Methinks a lot of folks are getting their undies in a bunch over nothing more than the length of time and effort that goes into publication at this level. This is totally expected. I think publication by 2013 or 2014 is plausible, depending on rewrites. If it comes this year that’s a bonus. I look forward to reading her report with great interest.

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