Thursday, November 29, 2012

CNN reports Bigfoot DNA Using Footage Mostly from TV Show Finding Bigfoot

CNN Carol Costello reports the Bigfoot DNA study that says Bigfoot is part human
using  mostly footage from Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot
Now you know it is really news. CNN had picked up the Bigfoot DNA study that claims Bigfoot is part human.


The choice of mashing up the Melba Ketchum Bigfoot DNA study and the TV show Finding Bigfoot is ironic (perhaps even amusing) to most Bigfooters. Matt Moneymaker, co-host on Finding Bigfoot,  has been very vocal, most recently on twitter, about his lack of confidence in Melba Ketchum's Bigfoot DNA study that claims Bigfoot is part human.

Below are some choice tweets from BFRO founder and Finding Bigfoot's co-host, Matt Moneymaker.


  I think the DNA study in Texas will be exposed as a hyped up publicity stunt and scam. I've been monitoring it for a while.



Bald-faced mendacity of Melba Ketchum. She told Lee Speigal the DNA samples "came to me. I didn't go after them, that's for sure." Bullsh*t.



More than 5 years ago she pitched her BF DNA testing to the producer of Monsterquest, and later pitched herself to the producers of MY SHOW!



 Yo Greggy, Melba's study won't be taken seriously by any real scientists. It's all fake. Her "team of scientists" doesn't exist



Yes, she received a few legit samples but her "DNA analysis" and documentation was a sham and a scam. She made ridiculous excuses for years.



 When hoaxers and charlatans succeed it getting news media attention, they can use the attn to swindle people who want to help.



 All three of those guys [Paulides/Randles/Carpenter] are dealing w/ Melba because she is telling them exactly what they want to hear about their own samples.



The only silver lining to Melba Ketchum's scam: It helped encourage Dr. Sykes at Oxford (England) to seek BF DNA samples. He is very legit.



Dr. Jeff Meldrum Responds to Melba Ketchum's TV Interview

Dr. Jeff Meldrum holding a possible Bigfoot Cast
"Please don't get me wrong. I truly hope she has the brass ring. I want very much for her study to be legitimate and significant." --Dr. Jeff Meldrum on the Dr. Melba Ketchum Bigfoot DNA study

Dr. Jeff Meldrum is the highest profile scientist and academic when it comes to Bigfoot research, he is an Associate Professor of Anatomy and Anthropology and Adjunct Associate Professor of the Department of Anthropology at Idaho State University. His book, a companion to the Documentary of the same name, "Sasquatch Legend meets Science," is a must have in any serious bigfooters library.

Believers and skeptics alike respect Dr. Meldrum's approach to the Bigfoot phenomena. Notable skeptic Brian Dunning has been quoted as saying, "The work of responsible scientists like Dr. Meldrum is exactly what true skeptics should be asking the Bigfoot community for, not criticizing him for it." 

Due to his credentials and popularity Dr. Meldrum has been showcased on maultiple networks including NatGeo, History Channel, and the Discovery Channel, this also includes TV shows including Monster Quest and the recent Finding Bigfoot

He is also involved in a parallel study of Bigfoot DNA. The study headed by Bryan Sykes of Oxford University.

Recently Melba Ketchum has been in the spotlight due to her press release that claims Bigfoot may be part Human. Two days ago (11/27/2012) Dr. Melba Ketchum was interviewed and Dr. Jeff Meldrum commented on the interview on his Facebook Page. You can read his response right after the video below.


And Dr. Meldrum's response.
Dr. Ketchum provides a much more reasonable interview for a Houston news program. She acknowledges the prematurity of the announcement (I believe she could have stopped short of discussing her unpublished results, however). She does conclude by saying the publication is anticipated in a matter of weeks not months (we've heard that before, but I hope this time it is indeed accurate).
Please don't get me wrong. I truly hope she has the brass ring. I want very much for her study to be legitimate and significant. To that end I want to see her navigate the publication process properly and successfully!

My criticisms stem from the lack of available substantiation of her interpretation of the mtDNA results and the difficulty I have envisioning a scenario that accounts from what is proposed -- a hybridization event 15000 years ago in Eastern Europe that resulted in a population dispersed across North America.

Many people don't seem to understand the role of a null hypothesis (a working hypothesis). The aim is to attempt to falsify or refute it. The hypothesis that whatever is out there is likely a relict ape, or a relict early hominin (e.g. Paranthropus) appears the most reasonable in light of the substantive objective data (personal subjective experiences by some, notwithstanding). Melba even acknowledges this fact in her interview. If evidence, properly interpreted, overwhelmingly negates the null hypothesis, then we set it aside -- simple as that. The notion of "camps" as if they were political parties, has no legitimate place in a scientific endeavor.

I am anxious to see the results -- whatever they are! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Journalist Gets Melba Ketchum to Comment on Bigfoot DNA

Dr. Melba Ketchum working on DNA
"...weeks instead of many months, that’s for sure.” --Melba Ketchum on how soon her Bigfoot DNA results will be public

Apparently earlier this week (Monday November 26th, 2012) Scott Sandsburry of the Yakima Herald contacted Melba Ketchum and got her to comment on the 50-page manuscript that has documented her study and, as she claims, supports the idea that Bigfoot is part human.

The excerpt below contains just the quotes from Melba Ketchum.
Reached on telephone Monday, Ketchum said the 50-page manuscript containing the research and DNA findings is still in peer review at a scientific journal. As for whether the premature announcement would impact that, she said, “I hope not. So far we haven’t heard anything that says it’s going to stop it.” As for when the study might become public, she said, “in weeks instead of many months, that’s for sure.”

Ketchum said the study had sequenced “three complete Sasquatch nuclear genomes” and determined the species is a human hybrid — “the result of males of an unknown hominin species crossing with female Homo sapiens.”

Sasquatch nuclear DNA, Ketchum said, “is incredibly novel and not at all what we had expected. While it has human nuclear DNA within its genome, there are also distinctly non-human, non-archaic hominin (member of the genus Homo, including Homo sapiens), and non-ape sequences. We describe it as a mosaic of human and novel non-human sequence.”
The article does contain further quotes from Melba Ketchum's surrogates.  One in particular is a quote from Thom Cantrall.
The release of Ketchum’s findings, Cantrall said, is “igniting a war” among different factions in the Bigfoot-believing community — those adamant that the creature is an ape or gorilla, and those who are convinced it’s more human than not.
We can report that there is no war. The debate Cantrall is referring to is less about Bigfoot and more about whether the Bigfoot community accepts that humans are also apes. In other words, humans are apes and most likely Bigfoots are apes too.

You can read the entire article at the Yakima Herald

There is also a video interview done by a local Texas news station here.

Happy Birthday to Finding Bigfoot's Cliff Barackman Pt.1

Happy Birthday Cliff!!!
In celebration of Cliff Barackman's Birthday, we are showcasing the behind-the-scenes videos he created with Craig Flipy for most of  Season One of Finding Bigfoot. Watch each video after the episode summary.

"Bigfoot Crossing in Georgia [1]" May 29, 2011
The team, in their first episode, are in northern Georgia investigating cases with Bigfoot. One thing they investigate is what a police officer believes to be a Bigfoot running across a road. Also, Cliff and Ranae find two possible footprints, and the Georgia chapter of the BFRO is called on to help a search.



"Swamp Ape [2]" June 5, 2011
The team visits Northern Florida investigating some mysterious cases with the Florida subspecies of Bigfoot, the Swamp Ape or Skunk Ape. They investigate a case about a couple that believes there is a Bigfoot living on their property and is bothering them. Also, the team talks with the Seminole people, asking about some experiences some members of the tribe have had with Bigfoot, and Matt and Bobo see a strange figure in the distance on a search.
NO VIDEO FOR FLORIDA :(


"Caught on Tape [3]" June 12, 2011
The team travels to North Carolina, specifically the Uwharrie National Forest to investigate supposed Bigfoot sightings. Also, Matt's leadership skills are called into question, and the largest search for Bigfoot ever is organized.



"Fishing for Bigfoot in Oregon [4]" June 19, 2011
The team travels to Oregon the investigate multiple cases with sightings of Bigfoot. A group of rafters accidentally capture a video supposedly having a Bigfoot in it. Also, the team makes its first visit to Bigfoot and Beer, and then use a rabbit to try and lure out a sasquatch.



"Frozen Bigfoot [5]" June 26, 2011
The team heads to southern Washington to investigate cases involving Bigfoot encounters. One man caught a picture with an animal that may be a Bigfoot that is on a snowcapped mountain. Also, Matt and Bobo claim to hear what sounded like human voices during a night investigation, and Cliff and Ranae ride in a small raft to see if they can see a Bigfoot.



"Alaska's Bigfoot Island [6]" July 10, 2011
The team heads to southeast Alaska because the mayor of the town of Hydaburg asks them to investigate compelling footprint photos . Also, Ranae and Bobo find a possible footprint, and talk with a woman who claims to have had a log thrown thrown at her taxi and spotted a Sasquatch in a tree the next day.



"Behind the Search [7]" July 17, 2011
The team returns to a gathering in Oregon at Ike's Pizza, called "Bigfoot and Beer" to talk personally to fans. The team talks about their excursions to find Bigfoot and reflect on them, answer questions from their fans, and play footage that was not aired on previous episodes.


If you enjoyed these Finding Bigfoot Season 1 debriefs check out, "Happy Birthday to Finding Bigfoot's Cliff Barackman Pt.2" for Finding Bigfoot Season 2 debriefs!

Happy Birthday to Finding Bigfoot's Cliff Barackman Pt.2

Happy Birthday Cliff!!!
In celebration of Cliff Barackman's Birthday, we are showcasing the behind-the-scenes videos he created with Craig Flipy for most of  Season Two of Finding Bigfoot. Watch each video after the episode summary. If you landed directly on this page, make sure you watch season one first at "Happy Birthday to Finding Bigfoot's Cliff Barackman Pt.1"


"Baby Bigfoot [S2 09]" January 1, 2012
The team travels to New York state to investigate the New York Baby Footage. Ranae also spends some time alone near the site of the film, and dozens of witnesses come forward.



"Big Rhodey [S2 10]" January 8, 2012
The team travels to Rhode Island to examine video of a roadside sighting of a bigfoot.



"Canadian Bigfoot, Eh? [S2 11]" January 15, 2012
The team travels to Canadian Rockies to investigate a unique bigfoot encounter caught on tape.



"Peeping Bigfoot [S2 12]" January 22, 2012
The team travels to Minnesota to investigate howls recorded at a bigfoot hot spot and a sighting of what may be the tallest Bigfoot ever seen (11 feet tall).



"Buckeye Bigfoot [S2 13]" January 29, 2012
The team heads to Ohio to investigate an encounter with a bigfoot that is caught on tape. Along with a team of volunteers, they search the surrounding forests for evidence of a bigfoot.
NO VIDEO FOR OHIO :(


"Virginia is for Bigfoot Lovers [S2 14]" February 12, 2012
The team travels to Virginia to investigate video of what the locals are calling "the Beast of Gumhill."


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

WATCH: First Peak at at Facebook Find Bigfoot's First Book, "You are Sasquatch"

Book Cover for Facebook Find Bigfoot's,
 "YOU ARE SASQUATCH" Due out in December
Facebook Find Bigfoot (FB/FB) describes themselves through the biography on their Facebook page, "Our team and dedicated fans of this site find and authenticate real Bigfoot videos by researchers, accidentally and by people in the right place (forests) and the right time. We are not trying to prove that Bigfoot exists. It does in large numbers. We are interested in how they act and their morphology."

It should be noted that there are those in the Bigfoot community that are not impressed with Find Bigfoot's video analysis, some even reference Find Bigfoot as Find Blobsquatch, most notably because of their recent endorsement of a recent video produced by the same man that produced the Georgian frozen bigfoot hoax in 2008.

After several years of building an audience on it facebook page, 30,000+ plus fans as of this post, FB/FB has decided to publisha book on the video analysis they have done. You can read the first chapter for free

The first chapter, almost in the first paragraph, they claim that the TV show, Finding Bigfoot, is named after them and based on the site's authenticated video content. This is simply not true, and contributes to the thinking that FB/FB is more about propaganda than discovery. 

You can watch the sneak peak preview of the book in the video below.

Monday, November 26, 2012

WATCH: Cliff Barackman is Asked about Melba Ketchum's Bigfoot DNA Study on National TV

Cliff Barackman is co-host of Finding Bigfoot
Watching Finding Bigfoot co-host Cliff Barackman on G4's Attack of the Show is like having Thanksgiving all over again. At least in the sense that you are reminded what you are thankful for. There are nly handful of people who make great ambassadors, represent serious Bigfoot research. We are thankful for that.

The Attack of the Show host, Matt Mira starts with the typical ribbing of the title "Finding Bigfoot," since they have not found Bigfoot. Then he pivots and asks sincere questions about breeding populations, habitat, and then drops the bomb, "What do you think about the Bigfoot DNA study that came out last weekend?"

That's right they ask Cliff on live TV what he thinks of Melba Ketchum's Bigfoot DNA study. Watch the video below to hear Cliff Barackman weigh in on the topic.


You can visit Cliff's blog at NorthAmericanBigfoot.com
or visit his website at CliffBarackman.com


First Bigfoot DNA "Peer Review" Results are In-- But, Not as Expected

Bigfoot DNA Causes More Questions Among the Scientific Community
The word peer review is in quotes in the title, because we are using it ironically and with reservation. We do not mean peer review in the scientific publication sense. We do mean, however, that scientific peers are interested in Dr. Melba Ketchum's Bigfoot DNA Press release. We have reactions from an invertebrate neuroethologist, a genome informatic expert, a DNA lab owner, and a professor of microbiology. There is a great consensus among these academics, they seem to have two reactions.
  1. While intriguing, the press release seems pre-mature and the timing seems odd since the manuscript has not been published and the peer review has not been completed.
  2.  Dr. Melba Ketchum does have credentials, let's hope it is legit.
NeuroDojo, run by Zen Faulkes, is a popular award-winning neuroscience blog has this to say. 
It’s not just the subject matter of the press release that is strange, though. There’s the little fact that it’s for a paper that is in review, not one that has been published. Usually, papers in review don’t get press releases, because goodness knows Reviewer Number 2 has taken a lot of manuscripts out of contention and they never see the light of day.

In fact, I have to admit: I am so pulling for Reviewer Number 2 to take this manuscript down. Preferably with sniper-style precision and finality. As one Twitter commenter said, this is something that most journal editors would not even send out for review.
NeuroDojo, seems to also be rooting for Dr. Melba ketchum.
That Ketchum is a published author on DNA techniques makes me think this is not a hoax. And I've smelled sasquatch hoaxes before...This feels much more like... overly enthusiastic interpretation, if I’m being charitable about it.
Dr. Mary Mangan of OpenHelix.com, has experience in the private and academic sectors of Genome Informatics, has this reaction:
It was irresistible. I had to read the release, and all I could think about was finding the Sasquatch Genome Browser. It eludes me right now.

Oh, I can’t wait to see this paper. For a laugh I searched PubMed to see what kind of Bigfoot data there is already, and to my surprise he’s in there.  Of course, the paper is about the psychology of monster hunters. And also about the tension between “amateur naturalists and professional scientists”.
Roberta Estes founder of DNAeXplain was in yesterday's post, "DNA Consulting Company is Intrigued by Melba Ketchum's Bigfoot DNA." Her enthusiasm and caution for the the project is clear.
There has been no smoking gun.  If this research is valid and passes peer review, it not only confirms that Sasquatch is real, it vindicates many of the people who have had “sightings” over the years.  It becomes the smoking gun.  But as with much science, it raises more  questions than it answers.

Indeed, I look forward to seeing this published paper and I hope it is legitimate and not pseudo-science of some sort.
And finally we got an email from Tyler A. Kokjohn, Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology atMidwestern University.
It seems that we may have to wait for definitive information on the sequences.  Clearly, many people are quite interested in the outcome and it is a bit frustrating to be teased...Please note that these questions can be answered without compromising the research paper now under peer review.  Since the scientists elected to communicate with the public, they should be willing to offer clarifications and answer questions.  
Dr. Kokjohn had a series of fascinating questions that I would hope the Melba camp could answer.
What method was employed to sequence the DNA?  Some have interesting quirks.

Which gene(s) were sequenced, i.e., which genes did you use to decide the Bigfoot relationship to humans?

The statement was made that the mitochondrial genome is identical to human, but the nuclear DNA is distinct.  Moreover, a 15,000 year divergence point is estimated.  This is quite contrary to expectations.  Usually, the genes in a mitochondrion will yield a ‘faster’ evolutionary clock than the nuclear genes (higher mutation rate), that is partially why mitochondrial genes are used for the rapid identification of species.  It seems odd that the mitochondria sequence would be invariant.  This requires an explanation.

How deep was the sequencing of the genes in question?  To get at infrequent mutations, one must have gone over the same DNA multiple times to reach an accurate consensus.  A single pass sequence will have many errors in it and comparisons based on it may inflate the apparent evolutionary distances.  This is vital because Bigfoot and human sequences will be (apparently) VERY closely related.  To get a feel for the challenges of working with closely-related species, search the work of Svante Paabo with Neanderthal DNA on PubMed.

Are the gene(s) you used for the Bigfoot-human comparisons protein coding?  Would the sequence changes you found in the homologous genes yield amino acid codons that are synonymous (no amino acid change), substitutions (new amino acids) or nonsense (protein chain terminated)?  This can help one decide whether or not the new sequence makes sense or contains deletions/insertions and other errors.

What was the nature of the sample from which DNA was obtained?  Had it been exposed to the elements?  How do you know it is from Bigfoot? If the sample is degraded, DNA sequences will likely exhibit alterations.

How did they avoid contamination with authentic human DNA?
So, in a manner of speaking, this is as close to a peer review for now. These are the initial reactions and questions of well-respected authorities;  an invertebrate neuroethologist, a genome informatic expert, a DNA lab owner, and a professor of microbiology.

More questions then answers? What did the late Richard Stubstad know? Richard Stubstad claims to have worked on the first four of the 20 sequences Melba mentions in her press release.





NBA Player Gerald Henderson of the Charlotte Bobcats Watches Finding Bigfoot

Gerald Henderson plays for the Charlotte Bobcats
Jerome McKinley "Gerald" Henderson, Jr. is an American basketball player who was drafted 12th overall in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Bobcats of the National Basketball Association. (Wikipedia
Mr.  Henderson has deep thoughts about the legend of Bigfoot. And showcases the often misunderstood concept that there is breeding population of Bigfoot(s) as oppose to just one lone Bigfoot wandering around North America.

Cliff Barackman Expands on Hair Sample from Finding Bigfoot Oklahoma Episode

Possible Sasquatch Hair Sample from Finding Bigfoot
Cliff barackman continues his excellent re-caps of the Finding Bigfoot Episode. In his current Finding Bigfoot Cliff Notes, Cliff Barackman covers his meeting of Roger Roberts who had investigated Bigfoot sightings next to a nearby Indian reservation. Below is a short excerpt from his notes on the possible Bigfoot hair sample.

Of most interest to us was the hair sample. The hair sample had been found by a tribal game officer on an animal trail leading from a location where a bigfoot had been recently seen. It was found on some broken branches more than eight feet above the ground, which would seem to rule out that it was buffalo (which are kept nearby), bear, deer, or human hair. Roger had in his possession enough hairs to spare some for us to have tested for DNA material. In hair, all of the viable DNA is found in the medulla, or hollow center shaft of the hair. This is a bit problematic because bigfoot hair tends to have fragmentary medullas, if any is present at all. However, a DNA lab in Oklahoma City called DNA Solutions offered to test the sample to see if any material could be extracted for testing. If nothing else, they could examine the hair and tell us what animals the could eliminate as a possible source for the hairs.  Also of value is that they could get the results back to us in about a week.

Dr. Brandt Cassidy of DNA Solutions was unable to extract any DNA material from the hairs. He said that the samples were just too old and had not been stored in the the optimal way to prevent the gradual breaking down of the DNA material. However, he was clear about a few things. While superficially similar to a person’s hair, the hair did not appear to be human in origin. First off the hair shafts had tapered ends which would indicate that the hairs had never been subjected to a hair cut. Another difference that was found was that the medulla width was different than what is commonly found among humans. I was supplied with photographs of his microscopic analysis, and I was interested in the fact that the hairs showed to have a reddish tinge when lit from behind, even though the hair appeared to be black when viewed against other backgrounds. This reddish tinge is another distinct characteristic of bigfoot hair.

How the hair was delivered
Here is a clip from Finding Bigfoot's Bigfoot CSI episode



You can read Cliff Barackman's entire Oklahoma Episode recap at his website CliffBarackman.com

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Author Whitley Strieber Explains Bigfoot

Whitley Strieber offers his perspective on Bigfoot
"Sasquatch is. Man does. This does not mean that they are better or we are better. It only means that we are different. The aim of Sasquatch is to be together. The aim of Mankind is to do together, and thus to understand one another." --Whitley Strieber

Whitley Strieber is most famous for his book, "Communion," a #1 New York Times best seller about aliens (Greys) visiting him. This was eventually made in to a movie starring Christopher Walken. He also hosts a radio show called Dreamland and his wife, Anne Strieber, runs his website Unknown Country. Due to the Dr. Melba Ketchum Bigfoot DNA press release, Mr. Strieber has offered his own perspective of Sasquatch.

If you have followed this blog within the last few days, you may be at risk of Bigfoot DNA fatique. Don't worry we wouldn't do that to you. While Mr. Strieber takes the opportunity to use Melba Ketchum's presser as a jumping point, his article is more about what makes Sasquatch different from man, and in our opinion, it is at least a great philosophical point. He begins this point and then expands on his long-time interest of Sasquatch.
We are as different as we can be. In fact, polar opposites. Sasquatch is here to be; Man is here to do. These are two opposite poles of consciousness, and if we can find balance, we can, each of us, find ourselves in a completely new way. This possibility has never existed before, not in all the long years that the two species have spent living on Earth together.

I've had a lifelong interest in the Yeti and Sasquatch. When I was a boy, an acquaintance of my parents, Tom Slick, led the first scientific expedition in search of the Himalayan Yeti. In 2001 his niece, my close friend Catherine Nixon Cooke, retraced his steps. Because of my interest, I have done many interviews on Dreamland with Bigfoot researchers, and I have never doubted that something was out there. For example, Dreamland this week will cover Bigfoot Sounds and will mark my 7th show on the subject since 2007. (All of these shows are available in the Dreamland Archive. Search on Bigfoot and Sasquatch.)
Mr. Strieber wanders in and out of Melba Ketchum's press release, but it is his effort to define the distinction between man and Squatch that we find most fascinating, and so he carries on.
They are not like us and were not meant to be like us. We are naked and must make our own shelter or die. Nature has clothed them in hair and given them, in their powerful senses, all that they need to thrive. We must make our technology. They are born with theirs. 

In fact, they have remained even more primitive than we were fifteen thousand years ago. They are a pre-stone age species, still, in effect, living entirely off the physical assets that nature granted them. We have not been like that for a very long time. Fifteen thousand years ago, we were already working stone and using animal skins to cover ourselves. Gobekli Tepi dates from a time when Sasquatch was a new species, so we were already builders then. Thirty thousand years ago, we were creating art at a high skill level in the caves of France and Spain. Fifty thousand years ago, we were using fire and stone tools, and creating edges in flint.

We have only highlighted the parts of Mr. Strieber's notes on what defines the distinction of Sasquatch and Man, he continues on to incorporate other aspects, like the left-hand path and other Esoteric traditions. You can read the original source in it's entirety at Whitley's Notes on Unknown Country.





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