Dr. Brian Sykes and Dr. Anna Nekaris announce that they will examine Dr. Melba Ketchum’s Bigfoot DNA study! Excellent news. I do not know if these two are the scientists that Ketchum referred to in this statement:
I have independent analysis of our data going on. If the outcome of what we are doing supports our analysis, then we are vindicated. If not, then I will announce that also. It involves top level scientists that have volunteered after I released the paper. If their findings are the same, they will go public. So, please be patient. They also will assure upload to GenBank and they can make that happen.
However, Nekaris and Sykes are definitely going to be looking over her data.
Sykes backs out of Western Bigfoot Society meeting in Oregon. Sykes said his travel agent was unable to change Sykes’ plans for that week to he could go to the USA, so he will not be appearing at that meeting. A disappointment.
Video investigates Rick Dyer Bigfoot shooting.
In this video, a man investigates the Rick Dyer Bigfoot shooting. The area is indeed forested. I had no idea that Texas had such think, nearly tropical, forests! He finds a young homeless man who lives in the forest. The man says that Dyer was indeed in the area camping for one week in September along with a film crew. Also there were two large SUV’s present. Incredibly, the man also says that gunshots were heard in the area during that time.
Large piles of scat that look almost like cow pies are seen in the area, however, there are no cows, and it’s too large to be mountain lion scat. Also there are the remains of a couple of killed turkeys in the area.However, the man says he has never seen a Bigfoot in the area. Very interesting video!
Shout out to 2 women in Bigfoot Forums. Very quickly after the Rick Dyer story broke on Bigfoot Forums (and I am the one who broke that story) 2 women on the forum, JackiLB and VioletX, quickly decided that there was something to the story and that Dyer had indeed shot a Bigfoot. They have held to their conviction through 312 pages of threads, enduring quite a bit of bashing in the process.
I don’t know how they decided that the story was true. Possibly pure female intuition. This is one of the things I love about women – the near psychic nature of their intuitive senses. Men are so often caught up in the logic trap that they can’t think from the seat of their pants, from their guts or straight from their hearts.
One way to look at this thinking is to call it the Gestalt. The Gestalt is “I know it when I see it.” It’s where the total is greater than the sum of its parts.
In bird watching for instance, sometimes I see a bird and I just know that it is a such and such species, even if I catch it only for a glance. If you asked me how I arrived at that conclusion, I probably could hardly even tell you! I arrived at that conclusion through some sum total of everything that I had known and learned about the bird via books, observation, discussion and whatnot. But I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly it was that drove me to that conclusion. It was more of a “I know it when I see it” type thing. The bird simply gave off the “smell,” “vibe” or “feeling” of being a such and such species.
This is the way intuition operates. Detectives use their intuition all the time. So do investigative reporters and investigators of all types. Maybe we need more female detectives.
Anyway, shout out to Violet and Jacki. I am confident they will be proven right in the end. You go girls!
Dyer Bigfoot being stored at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). I feel that Rick Dyer is in possession of a Bigfoot that he shot and killed. Dyer has hinted that the Bigfoot is being stored at the UNLV somewhere. This has led to all sorts of speculation and accusations that if this is so, someone would have leaked this information by now. I am not sure that is true, and it may indeed be possible that the Bigfoot is at UNLV.
Dyer had an autopsy done on his Bigfoot. Although this was hinted around by the Musky Allen interview in which he said that he had seen incisions and shaved areas where presumably an autopsy had been done, I con now confirm through a source I have who is very close to Dyer that an autopsy on Dyer’s Bigfoot has in fact been done! Very exciting news.
Derek Randles and Dyer have been communicating for months. I was one of the first people to tell Derek about Dyer’s story, and I told him that I thought Dyer had in fact killed a Bigfoot. Surprisingly, Derek had a very open mind about it, and considered that the story might indeed be true. Derek also stated that there was no bad blood between him and Dyer as Derek tries to get along with everyone. But it is interesting that they have been communicating for some time now. It would be great if Derek could see the dead Bigfoot! Whatever anyone thinks of Derek, we know one thing for sure and that is that he is no hoaxer!
Adrian Erickson Bigfoot documentary has funding problems. A phone call by someone on Bigfoot Forums to Erickson revealed that Erickson has funding problems in terms of getting his documentary released, according to Erickson himself.
Ketchum unethical dealings in the apparent bypassing of peer review to get her paper published. There are accusations that Ketchum engaged in unethical behavior by creating a new journal out of nowhere, the Journal of Advanced Multidisciplinary Exploration in Zoology (this is apparently the journal that she claims to have “bought out”) then dissolving the journal to create her De Novo Journal. It’s not known at all whether Ketchum’s paper passed review at the Journal of Advanced Multidisciplinary Exploration in Zoology, but it could only have been in review for a week or so there.
She has been accused of scientific misconduct for doing this, however, I am not sure if this qualifies as scientific misconduct. At any rate, this is one case where I will support Ketchum’s unethical behavior to the fullest. She needed to get her paper out there, one way or the other, by hook or by crook, and she did it. If she had to bypass peer review in order to do that, so be it. It’s being reviewed by her peers right now in the media anyway. It’s obvious that mainstream science simply refused to look at her data in a fair way. There was no way on Earth they were going to publish an article on Bigfoot DNA, no matter what it said or who wrote it. If that’s the way they were going to be about it, then peer review needed to be bypassed.
Accusation that Melba Ketchum charged $500,000 for genetic work that should have only cost $100,000. I have no idea what to make of this charge or whether or not she ripped anyone off. The people ripped off in this case would have been Erickson and Wally Hersom. Right now it is just one more accusation lobbed at her.
Excellent Ketchum critique on Jon Downes’ Cryptozoology Online page. Downes showed the paper to two zoologists, and this was their response:
I think their methodology looks weak at best, Just their description of the variation in the morphology of the hairs is enough to make me think they have been analyzing hairs of several different species of animal mixed together. One of the photographs of the hairs looks distinctly human to me, whereas one of the others looks more like a bear. Apart from that the paper has a lot of statements they just expect us to take at face value, That’s simply poor science. I can’t see any scientific journal accepting this.
The English is poorly written. In a normal paper, a high standard of English is assumed, and papers can be rejected based on this. A normal reviewer would jump on this (though obviously small typos and things are found in any paper, as you would expect)
From the introduction, it is obvious that the writers are not writing from a null position. Because good science is hypothesis driven, you need a null hypothesis to act in opposition to the actual hypothesis (for instance, I hypothesize that compared to the average human, there is a significant difference between the sizes of X and Y. The null hypothesis would be that there is no significant difference). Study introductions should review the literature from an unbiased point of view, make hypotheses accordingly, then go into the study. This kinda doesn’t.
“Some photographic evidence also exists such as Figure 4 is a reddish brown Sasquatch sleeping in the forest” (page 2, 4th para) is one heck of a statement to give, especially without a reference to a paper (or at least a book!) demonstrating that it is in fact a ‘squatch. To my knowledge, no peer-reviewed paper does so.
“Video of the same Sasquatch is seen in Supplementary Movie 1 where her respirations are counted at only 6 per minute.” Again, unreferenced assertion of sex and existence of the being as a Sasquatch.
They end the introduction by telling us what the study finds (in their eyes). This is a poor way to write a paper introduction as it indicates the lack of a null position (again).
Methods: no references for much of it. If you “thoroughly cleaned [the samples] in a manner consistent with forensic testing procedures” you need to reference the paper you got this from!
When they talk about “primers”, they don’t show or reference the sequences used! Bad practice.
No actual academics are on the paper, they are all forensic scientists. A potential bias from influence via funders and the private sector perhaps?
In the results section, they make inferences and speculations about the data (eg, “With the wide variety of haplotypes in the study and especially with the majority of the haplotypes being European or Middle Eastern in origin, migration into North America by these hominins may have occurred previous to the migration across the Bering land bridge.”). Again, a stupid thing to do, that is what the discussion is for.
Random crappy readouts from various programs are strewn all over the place with no explanation. Again, shoddy.
They give it a scientific name. With no haplotype. And the name is not in italics. A mistake which is guaranteed to irritate me.
I feel that these are good critiques. The paper was indeed poorly written up, shoddily presented, etc. It does look rather sloppy. However, I feel that her conclusions were sound anyway, and this is all that matters.
Excellent post by Scott Carpenter. I am getting very tired of everyone piling on Ketchum about this study. Look around the Bigfoot community, at the blogs, Facebook pages and forums, and it’s just pitiful the mud they are dragging this woman through. Absolutely sickening! The consensus is that her study and everything surrounding it is a total catastrophe. A lot of Bigfooters are crying in their beer.
I do not agree with much of this criticism. Though there were definitely some issues with the unprofessional way in which the study was written up and presented, I feel that her data is sound and that she has indeed proven that Bigfoots do exist.
Now imagine you are Dr. Ketchum, you know what you have, indisputable scientific proof Bigfoot exist. A major journal (Nature) has delayed you repeatedly with frivolous request and leaked your results to others (Sykes). You know mainstream science is trying to make an end run on you via the Sykes study. Sykes has the political power and financial backing to publish quickly. The collective scientific community has done everything they can to keep you from publishing your findings.
Also remember that Wally Hersom and Adrian Erickson have funded the study to the tune of over $300,000! Your professional reputation is ruined, and you just spent 5 years of your life on this project. You have the DNA, you have the solid proof and GenBank will not allow you to upload your sequences leaving the door open for Sykes or another scientist to zoom in and get the credit! Armed with this knowledge and these circumstances what do you do?
Would you tell Justin Smeja to contaminate his remaining samples so no one else like Sykes could use his political connections and power to beat you and claim discovery for what you already have? Would you have preemptive press releases before your study is published? Would you purchase a journal that has passed your paper only to back out at the last moment due to political pressure in order to preserve the peer reviews and editorial independence?
I have attacked Ketchum for supposedly telling Justin to contaminate the sample to make it unusable. I thought that was sleazy as Hell. But now that Scott has publisher her possible motivation for doing so, I think she may have been correct in fact to do just that! Although it was a dirty thing to do, and I do not like to act dirty myself, this may have been the right thing to do in the end. Why judge her?
Her preemptive press releases and the purchasing of the journal and possible bypassing of peer review also seem more sensible in this light. If this is what she needed to do, then do it. The preemptive press releases and end run around peer review were done in order to head off Sykes at the pass. The scientific community was bypassing Ketchum, but they may not have been willing to bypass Sykes, so in order to beat Sykes to the punch when she was first anyway, and given the frozen mindset preventing her from publishing, she did what she had to do.
Now personally, I would not have the guts to end-run peer review, etc. I do not think I could do that. Granted, it’s pretty dirty. But Ketchum was fighting against some forces acting pretty dirty against her too. Maybe you gotta do what you gotta do.
Scott also gets to the meat of Ketchum’s study here:
In other words the DNA is:
1. NOT Contaminated
2. All from 3 individuals (Bigfoot) not a mixture or contaminated
3. The results are repeatable
4. The SAME results were returned on 3 different samples from 3 different individuals, collected from 3 different locations, and at 3 different times.
5. The lab that ran the data is well respected, accredited, and independent
6. The results are rock solid and indisputable.
Right. And now let Scott explain why he says this:
First let me explain the “Q30″ scores that just zoomed over our collective heads. This is the key, this is why the critics are afraid, VERY afraid. Dr. Ketchum extracted and purified three samples (26, 31 and 140) with large amounts of high quality DNA. (Note that sample 26 came from the alleged killing of two Bigfoot by Justin Smeja aka “The Sierra Kills”).
She then sent these samples off to the University of Texas, Southwestern laboratory for sequencing. The UT laboratory used a widely accepted and proven process known as “the next generation Illumina platform”. The machine that process the the samples is known as a HiSeq 2000 next generation sequencer. Here is an excerpt from the DNA study that explains what a “Q30″ score is and what it means.
From the Ketchum paper: “The HiSeq 2000 next generation sequencer provides scores, Q30, for run quality78. Q30 can also be used to determine if there was any contamination (or mixture) found in the samples sequenced. According to Illumina, a pure, single source sample would have an Q30 score of 80 or greater with an average of 85. However, if there was contamination present in the sample sequenced, the divergent sequences would compete against one another prior to sequencing causing a contaminated sample to have a Q30 score of 40 to 50.
The Q30 scores for the three genomes sequenced had Q30 scores of 88.6, 88.4 and 88.7 respectively for samples 26, 31 and 140. The Q30 is the percent of the reads that have the statistical probability greater than 1:1000 of being correctly sequenced. Therefore, not only were the sequences from a single source, but the quality of the sequences were far above the average genome sequenced using the Illumina next generation sequencing platform.
The high quality of the genomes can be attributed to the stringent extraction procedures utilized whereby the DNA was repeatedly purified. This ultra-purified DNA also allowed for greater than 30X coverage of the three genomes. The summary and of the next generation sequencing generated by the HiSeq 2000 Illumina sequencer is furnished as Supplementary Data 7-10.”
The “Q30″ is a score that tells us how pure DNA is. The manufacture states that anything at or above a score of 80 is pure and NOT contaminated! Again let me repeat the scores were 88.6, 88.4, and 88.7 respectively.
As you can see, based on those Q30 scores, the DNA was not contaminated in any way, shape or form. So the whole contamination canard needs to be thrown out the window once and for all! The DNA was not contaminated! Repeat after me. Over and over now!
Reason for Ketchum not uploading the gene sequences to GenBank. Critics have bashed her mercilessly over this one, but apparently there was a good reason for this too. Apparently GenBank requires a signed release accompany any sequences containing human genes from the person whose genes they are. This is usually not a problem, but Ketchum’s Bigfoot samples contain human genes! So in other words, Melba would have had to get the Bigfoots who gave the samples to all sign release forms releasing their DNA to GenBank.
Apparently none of the Bigfoots whose genes she sampled was able to sign off on any of those papers! Most of them could not even be located, and those that could no doubt could not understand the request, don’t know what paper and a pens are or how to use them, and furthermore, are no doubt not literate enough to know how to sign their names, assuming they even have names in the first place!
However, the scientists reviewing her data told Melba that they will arrange having her DNA uploaded to GenBank.