Skeptic finds 4 year Bigfoot project "intriguing"

Discussion in 'The Cesspool' started by Magical Realist, Mar 16, 2015.

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  1. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    From the article:
    "...But there wasn't enough DNA to conclusively verify what they were seeing..."
    "...The overall results of Ketchum's study will soon be revealed, she said, after a peer-reviewed journal is published..."

    Come back when you have something.
     
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  3. Bells Staff Member

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    You haven't read her websites or any of the so called studies she conducted, have you?

    Who is Melba Ketchum? She is a veterinarian who graduated from Texas A&M veterinary school. She did not complete a PhD.2 While not an academic, she runs her own genetics lab and has been a coauthor on several published papers but never a lead author.3 With such a complicated and extraordinary claim as the discovery of Bigfoot DNA, her lack of experience in the specialized field of primate genetics hurt her credibility with the members of the scientific community who have actually expressed an interest in this project. She notes that she does have experience in forensics because she worked on DNA evidence from crime scenes, which was vital in assuring these study samples were not contaminated.4 There remains the murky area regarding the origin and history of the purported Sasquatch samples, the validity of her data, and how one can so definitively conclude “Bigfoot” from this one study prior to review by the scientific community. I found that these big ideas about Bigfoot precluded the data. Many other red flags obscure the view as well.

    The Ketchum story begins in 2008 when her lab was picked to analyze a suspected Bigfoot/yeti hair from Bhutan collected as part of Josh Gates’s adventure show,Destination Truth, which airs on the Discovery Channel in the U.S. Ketchum appeared twice on the show, in 2009 and 2010 (Season 3 numbers 9 and 12), as a forensic analyst. She then became one of the “go to” people for those who had collected DNA samples that they thought might be from a Bigfoot.5

    Over the next few years, Ketchum received many additional samples and funding from various sources to conduct more analyses of these samples (mostly hair, but also blood, saliva and tissue) through her own lab, DNA Diagnostics, and other laboratories.6

    Uneasiness about the project might start with Ketchum’s business dealings. She was affiliated with various corporations registered in the state of Texas, including one called Science Alive, LLC. This partnership included Robert Schmalzbach (better known as “Java Bob” who was previously an officer under Tom Biscardi’s group Searching for Bigfoot) and Richard Stubstad, an engineer who became interested in Bigfoot DNA and was a funder of Ketchum’s work. According to Stubstad, some sort of dispute occurred in the fall of 2010 as lawyers eventually managed to cut Schmalzbach and Stubstad out of this corporation venture leaving Ketchum with entire control of any media from publicizing Bigfoot DNA findings.7

    This was not the first or last of legal dealings where Ketchum was involved. Ketchum had been sued and lost a claim for patent infringement that required her lab to stop using certain tests.8 In addition, the lab itself was not in good standing with the public, having an “F” rating by the Better Business Bureau due to complaints for delivering results,9 a possible problem with the state of Texas regarding payment of franchise taxes, and some lost client contracts.10


    No, not a hack at all... [Insert giant eye-roll here]

    Not only is she a hack, she is a paid hack. The article also goes into explicit detail in how she and her cohorts use social media to feed the hype and make more money. It is absolutely despicable.

    The reason no one in the scientific community wants anything to do with her is because she is a fraud. Case in point:

    The study was said to include sequences of twenty whole mitochondrial genomes. “Next generation sequencing” was used to obtain three whole nuclear genomes from “purported Sasquatch samples.” The mitochondrial DNA was identical to modern Homo sapiens, but the nuclear DNA was described as “a novel, unknown hominin related to Homo sapiens and other primate species.” Thus, the researchers concluded from this DNA data that not only does the North American Sasquatch exist but that it is a hybrid species, “the result of males of an unknown hominin species crossing with female Homo sapiens.”

    This announcement enthralled the press but annoyed many cryptozoology and science observers because it came with no published paper and no data, only a long and shady history of partnerships, projects, and promises. Ketchum promised the paper would soon follow. When it finally did appear, nearly three months later, it was less than impressive, made no sense evolutionarily, and sparked new controversies about her personal responsibility, the ethics of publishing, and what was going on behind the scenes with this project.

    Science by press release is an unprofessional form and often is a bust upon peer review. (The classic example is cold fusion.) Melba Ketchum asked the public directly to buy into an extraordinary claim: that she has categorized Bigfoot DNA and understands its origin, proposing not one but two unknowns—Sasquatch and an unknown ancestor of Sasquatch. What evidence is there that this is true? We have only her word on the samples and just one paper that, as we will see, has had a difficult history, but there are no corresponding, converging lines of evidence. No other reliable physical evidence, traces, fossil record, historic record, or an undisputed clear picture or video of a Sasquatch exists. Moreover, environmental factors have not been shown to reasonably support the existence of a number of large primates reproducing in the wild often reportedly visiting human-inhabited areas. Even besides these obvious hurdles to acceptance, we have many reasons to be suspicious.


    I am astonished that she tried to pass this off as science. The reason she hasn't been able to publish anything in an actual scientific magazine is because she is lying and everyone knows it. It would be laughable if people were not giving her their money. This borders on criminal.
     
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  5. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

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    So what are you appealing to... if not evidence, nor a belief... then what?
     
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  7. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, you can
     
  8. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    LOL! A big nasty article by Skeptical Inquirer of all people--the very people who make millions off of denying Bigfoot exists or could ever exist. If ad homing were a valid form of argumentation, I'd say they had a case. Unfortunately it isn't. Melba Ketchum's results speak for themselves. And ofcourse she needs money to fund the research. DNA testing is expensive. What's so horrible about that?

    Proof she's lying? Or are we just supposed to take your word for it?
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  9. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

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    The only thing here speaking for itself us your absolute lack of evidence... a pity, if only your inquiring mind were put to good use and filled with actual knowledge, rather than wasted on fantastic flights of fancy and stuffed to the brim with what could generously be called pro-Bigfoot propaganda...

    Please provide evidence that Skeptical Inquirer makes millions off of denying the existence of Bigfoot, else retract that libelous statement.
     
  10. Bells Staff Member

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    If something is so primitive, it wouldn't be doing arts and crafts. Yet we are meant to believe, you and the people you are touting are the experts, that a giant monkey raped a human female and bore the sasquatch. That is essentially what Melba and her ilk claimed. Not only that, Melba (and now you) is claiming that this monkey human child is braiding horse hair, carving stick figures in trees as art, but is still eating nuts in the woods and breaking them open with rocks - despite apparently being big enough to snap large trees in half, they need small rocks to break open nuts. If they were that strong, they would be breaking the nuts open with their fingers. They wouldn't require tools. Which brings me to another point. Here is a giant human hybrid, that can, if the researchers you linked to in this thread and in the OP, snap big arse trees in half, but they throw tiny little rocks at hunting huts?

    Not only that, these giant, break big trees in half apes, are gentle enough to braid a few strands of horse manes - apparently these giant super strong apes aren't scaring horses at all as they approach them at night to braid their manes. And are sensitive enough to be carving tiny little stick figures in tree bark. And apparently are surviving on nuts... Because something with a body mass that big would only require a small handful of nuts to live on.

    The level of gullibility of some people is painful.

    You are still not getting it.

    It could have been a bear. Or it could have been absolutely fake and the researchers are doing it themselves or simply lying about it. All of which is much more plausible than claims that it is bigfoot.

    You have absolutely no proof that it was bigfoot. Until they film bigfoot picking a girly sized rock to throw at their cabin roof, you cannot claim anything at all.

    On what?

    Is it eating snow? There is a reason why bears hibernate through winters. You are expecting people to believe that giant monkey type "humanoids" that are strong enough to snap trees in half, is existing on a few scrounged nuts in snow and ice through winters?

    And zero evidence that they are hunting. Where do they sleep in the winter? How do they survive the cold? Why haven't these so called researchers looked at the caves in the areas and why are they restricting them solely to forests? Do you understand how and why this makes no sense at all?

    You have claimed that people saw them bury their dead. No bones or bodies collected from those. Which beggars belief.

    Why would they throw rocks? They are giant bloody monkeys that can snap big trees in half according to the so called research you linked. They could crush those huts and cabins. And they throw tiny little rocks?

    If they were territorial and wanted to assert their dominance and strength (which is why chimpanzees do it), they would actually do so by showing their actual strength in front of the people they were trying to assert their dominance over. Not hide in the shrubbery and throw little rocks. Ergo, your claim makes absolutely zero sense.

    I know exactly how many there are.

    Because unless there are thousands, they would have bred themselves out of existence. And seeing how supposedly rare they are and how they can never be seen, how their bones can never be found, how where they actually dwell can never be found, it's a safe bet that they do not exist.

    The only reason gorillas did not become extinct is because they are in a protected park, with armed rangers protecting them.

    Not in the way you are trying to claim.

    But they have a fairly general idea of what and which existed where. There has never been any evidence of large primates or hominids existing in the Americas aside from Homo Sapiens. Neanderthals didn't even head into America. Nor did Homo erectus. That should tell you something.

    Gigantopithecus existed in tropical areas of Asia. So do other large apes.

    No. Not in the tens of thousands of years ago when they would have crossed over. Not to mention a lot of the regions that are now without trees are that way because farmers and others cut down the trees for use and land clearing. And what you know of today is not how it would have been tens of thousands of years ago.

    I provided you with ample examples. Oh, and there was this, Ketchum's DNA she self published and you keep referring to:

    It's been five years since Texas veterinarian and genetics researcher Melba Ketchum began studying DNA samples from a creature she calls Bigfoot. She published her findings in a "scientific journal," thoughthe only article to appear in the DeNovo Journal of Science was Ketchum's study, a fact that drew plenty of criticism fromscientists and reporters.

    Fed up by this hazy proof of "Sasquatch genomes," Houston Chronicle reporter Eric Berger sent some of Ketchum's DNA samples to an independent geneticist for analysis.

    The result? The 100 DNA samples that Ketchum claimed proved the existence of a hybrid mix between homo sapiens and an unknown primate were actually the genetic makeup of ... an opossum.

    "LOL" indeed.
     
  11. Bells Staff Member

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    When an independent lab tested 100 samples of what Ketchum's self published claim was bigfoot DNA, they found her 'unknown must be bigfoot' component to be that of an opossum.

    Seriously MR, give it up. There is no proof.
     
  12. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

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    MR, are you going to back or withdraw your libelous claim?
     
  13. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Melba Ketchum counters Eric Berger’s comments regarding her DNA results published in hisHouston Chronicle SciGuy column.

    "In response to the latest round of criticism. 1. We did give these folks access to the genomes. 2. They only pulled random sequences and did not look at the whole genomes. The person from UT that did our analysis told me that he never got all of the raw data uploaded to the second lab due to computer problems on the receiving lab’s end. 2. I offered raw DNA to this lab so they could extract and sequence themselves. They would not even give the courtesy of a reply. 3. They refused to even speak with me on the phone. The entire thing was completely and totally unprofessional. 4. They never tried to check the analysis done at the University of Texas even though the bioinformatics person put himself at their disposal.

    What findings they gave were impossible since both of our labs would have had to extract feces to obtain these results. If it had been feces, we would not have been able to obtain the preliminary results that we got prior to the genomes. After all, they were the same extractions. You can’t get feces from tissue, blood and saliva. If we did extract feces, the quality scores would not have been this high. That is in the literature. This leads to a couple of possibilities. One, there is a conspiracy to suppress our findings. Two, they just didn’t care and didn’t believe that there is even the possibility that Sasquatch exists and therefore just wanted to be done with it because they had other projects. Three, they themselves suppressed it for fear that their careers would be damaged. The things that I know for sure are that it was not an adequate analysis, they did not even try to double check or recreate our findings. If they really had an interest, they would have jumped at the chance to resequence the raw samples. Funny thing, I offered the samples to three other places also and nobody was willing to test. Something is just not right. I also offered several people an opportunity to visit a habituation site including this reporter and his lab people so they could have a sighting. Of course they didn’t want that either. Bottom line, nobody except a few of you here even care about the truth. Most would rather perpetuate that BF is a myth or an ape."=== Melba Ketchum posted via facebook
     
  14. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    What do you hope to achieve with all of this stupid "X is real" nonsense you keep posting?

    It obviously isn't to further scientific understanding because you obviously have no respect for the scientific method. So what do you hope to get out of it other than the kind of satisfaction a troll gets from annoying other people? Because that's all you seem to be at the moment. A troll.
     
  15. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Insults are the last resort of the defeated.
     
  16. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    The only thing defeated is my respect for you. So good job, there.

    Every time you post you hurt science.
     
  17. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    You'll get over it I'm sure...

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  18. Bells Staff Member

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    Ya, because a vet who self published and claimed that the human DNA that was found around areas where people were trampling, is proof that bigfoot is a human hybrid, born from when a giant ape raped a human female.

    The only lab she used was her own.

    An independent, not connected to bigfoot lab, found that the so called unknown part of the DNA was known and it was an opossum.

    Of course she is going to try to deny it. She didn't counter it with any proof. We just have to take her word for it. But considering her dodgy research methods and the blatant fabrications she has on her own sites, no one believes her. They made up a journal and claimed it was published there, when the journal didn't even exist, then she self published. It is ridiculous.

    They tested her DNA samples. They didn't need the added baggage of talking to her or conducting the test with people connected to her. This was a completely independent lab who only looked at the DNA samples she used. Nothing else.

    And they found that the DNA samples consisted of humans and the so called unknown part was actually DNA from an opossum. As for Melba. How this woman is not in prison for fraud is beyond me.


    Upon attempting to access the paper the morning it appeared, I encountered the next huge misstep by Ketchum. The journal, DeNovo, is a brand-new online outlet that consists of one issue with only this one paper. The website is clunky and amateurishly designed with stock “sciencey” photos of animals and test tubes. A strangely placed “buy now” button was in the center yet on one page, the words “DeNovo – Open Access” floats in a blank box. For a moment, I did think the paper was freely available. Not so. Clicking on the buy now button, I was taken to a checkout page that charged $30 for access. Backing out of the site to look for other reactions, I noticed that several Bigfoot bloggers had already obtained complimentary copies or they had managed to download the paper for free care of a site glitch. I requested, through email to the address in the press release, a complimentary press copy as well. This inquiry went unanswered. I was provided two review versions of the paper later in the day via other means.

    Regarding the origins of DeNovo, Ketchum said on the day of the paper release that an unnamed journal had accepted the paper after peer review was completed, but their lawyers advised them not to publish due to the disreputable topic. Instead of continuing to shop the paper to other sources, she decided to acquire the rights to this unnamed journal,50 suspected to be the Journal of Advanced Multidisciplinary Exploration in Zoology. Looking into the history of that journal, investigators found it was registered under Ketchum’s name on January 9, 2013. This led to serious ethical questions about self-publishing.50 The DeNovo website was created on February 4, 2013, just nine days prior to the release of the paper. Ketchum claims to have documentation of the prior reviews and from the acquisition of the new journal. These, and any information on which journals previously rejected the paper, have not yet been released.

    In the announcement of the paper,51 Ketchum mentioned two associated websites: the Sasquatch Genome Project and the Global Sasquatch Foundation. Both were produced with what appeared to be very basic web tools and hosted on low-volume servers. Both sites failed the first day possibly due to traffic. Prior to their inaccessibility, I captured some information published on them. On the Sasquatch Genome Project page, Ketchum denied she self-published and took a dig at the scientific community. “We encountered the worst scientific bias in the peer review process in recent history,” she said, calling it the “Galileo Effect” and suggesting she was treated unfairly. Ketchum’s explanation for publishing in DeNovo was that she was eager to get the data out there and not have to deal with further rejections, hinting that all the previous reviewers were less than decent or open-minded seemingly because they rejected her work.50

    On the Global Sasquatch Foundation site, this statement appeared: “Due to the efforts of our founder Dr. Melba Ketchum it has been proven that Sasquatch are a human hybrid. Here at G.S.F. we have made it a priority to protect these indigenous people from being hunted, harassed, or even killed.” One could assert that this statement was premature considering the scientific community had not assessed her conclusion. Regardless, she had extreme confidence in her results. The Foundation site also included pictures of stick structures supposedly constructed by the creatures and a photo of a matted horse’s mane, an example of what Ketchum has alleged is Sasquatch “braids” in the horse’s mane.50

    As for the paper itself, it was incomprehensible to those without specialized training in genomics or forensics. It began with the premise that Sasquatch exists and this study helps to confirm that. Two days later, Ketchum announced through social media that (unnamed) “top level scientists” volunteered to assess her data. A few days after, a statement appeared on the DeNovo website from David H. Swenson, a biochemist, who said he reviewed the manuscript and agrees with the conclusions. This statement, as well as Ketchum’s own statements and those of her spokesperson were also riddled with grammatical and typographical errors.52

    The few experienced geneticists who viewed the paper reported a dismal opinion of it noting it made little sense.53 The DNA sequences did indeed contain matches to human chromosome 11, a lot of undetermined DNA, and some that, in part, matched to other animals. Thus, the whole sequences do not resemble any known animal and are contradictory with evolutionary biology. In a curious sidenote, the term de novo is used in bioinformatics to designate the absence of a reference genome. Next generation sequencing (NGS) technology was used in this study to read the whole genome, a process that used to be far more time and labor-intensive. There are problems with NGSde novo protocols that can lead to poor data quality. We do not know if the results were properly evaluated prior to concluding that the genome data could be used and if the interpretation of the results is reasonable. These factors will likely come into play during the expert external reviews of the paper.

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Accompanying the official version of the paper was Erickson’s video, which supposedly showed a sleeping Sasquatch. The short clip, made public a day later, showed a brown, furry mass sleeping on a woodland floor. The Erickson project claimed that DNA was obtained from this individual, named Matilda, which was analyzed as part of the Ketchum study providing a link to a real creature. The promised high-definition video evidence was not made available. Within a week, researcher Bill Munns claimed that he had acquired still shots of Matilda whereby the face strongly resembled Chewbacca, a tall, hairy Bigfoot-esque creature from the Star Wars movies.54 If that wasn’t enough to increase the derision for Ketchum’s work, what may be the most humiliating find came from careful readers on a skeptical forum.55 Three of the references cited in the Ketchum paper as prior published research on the creatures were discovered to be questionable in validity. One was an openly-stated April Fools prank that concluded the Yeti was actually an ungulate (hoofed mammal) and that its resemblance to apes was due to convergent evolution. When confronted with this information, Ketchum denied responsibility, saying she was told to include “all” references by one reviewer. She did not concede that she knew they weren’t reputable scientific works
    .​


    Melba is not in any position to counter anything. The article provides a blow by blow account of the farce that surrounded Melba Ketchum, from her lab closing down presumably when she was doing the testing and a mailing address being directed elsewhere, to her blatant attempts to make money, to the exceptionally dodgy manner in which she gathered her evidence and the exceptionally suspicious manner which saw several scientists involved in the bigfoot search distancing themselves from her. She literally created websites and touted them to be journals to try to give her dodgy report some credibility. She failed. The woman is a fraud.
     
  19. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Kinda hard to tell if someone is lying if you can't even understand the paper. Maybe they should stick to mudslinging her. That's at least an area they seem to know something about.

    "The few experienced geneticists who viewed the paper reported a dismal opinion of it noting it made little sense. The DNA sequences did indeed contain matches to human chromosome 11, a lot of undetermined DNA, and some that, in part, matched to other animals. Thus, the whole sequences do not resemble any known animal and are contradictory with evolutionary biology."

    So much for your possum farce then eh?
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  20. Bells Staff Member

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    Even other scientists who research bigfoot have claimed that other lab results that are independent should be trusted over her results. Her lab closed down in 2012 and disappeared and a mailing address was later created for it. She bought websites and created those journals - which never published anything else, just her study. One of which doesn't even have a website anymore. She also claims to have been where they live, named one of them, claims to have seen them up close, all without evidence except for a dodgy photo shop job. The woman is certifiable. And she is also involved in the latest study. Her cohorts and the people she has working for her make even more dubious claims that were laughed at by skeptics and bigfoot believer's alike.

    The fact that she created websites and named them "Journals" and published them there, should tell you something. The people who found her paper hard to read are geneticists and biologists, actual and real experts, not to mention the fact that her paper was full of horrendous spelling and other errors.

    The woman is absolutely fraudulent.
     
  21. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    You've explained this, what, half a dozen times now?

    I'm pretty sure we can all predict the response you'll get.
     
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Insults are the last resort of the defeated.
     
  23. Bells Staff Member

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    I would say "LOL" and abject denial. That is the usual pattern.

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