Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Two Clear Possibilities for Bigfoot: Hybrid or Mutant

Possible Bigfoot Origins can be summed up in two words: Hybrid or Mutant
 "We used to think that mutations occurred individually and slowly over time, but fossil evidence suggests that new species pop up fast, driven by gene pool isolation, and then stabilize with population increase." -- Anthony Ciani, UIC condensed matter physicist

Bigfoot Lunch Club has been waiting for Dr. Melba Ketchum to contact us to no avail. It is a shame, without Melba Ketchum's input it is hard to provide a balanced take on her research. Today may be as close as we can get.

Anthony Ciani tells us he was introduced to Melba Ketchum earlier this year, January of 2013. When he was asked to be a guest editor for the journal in which her paper would be published.

Mr. Ciani brings up some interesting points based on Melba Ketchum's paper of which I've publish below.
There are two clear possibilities for the origin of bigfoots: hybrid or mutant.  The mtDNA is fully consistent with known human sequences (given a base pair or two).  The maternal lineage is, without a doubt, H. sapiens sapiens.  Even more interesting, is that the oldest mtDNA sequence found was from about 15,000 ybp, while the youngest was only a few thousand years old, if that.  This means that bigfoots have been continuously splitting from or interbreeding with normal humans since about 15,000 ybp until rather recently.  The problem with the hybrid idea is that if bigfoots are a cross between humans and some closely related hominid (Homo X), then they probably would have breed with Homo X, and we should find unknown mtDNA from Homo X; but there is not, at least, not in the bigfoots from which samples were collected.  Some people might think that the Homo X chromosome 11 and human chromosome 11 should still be distinctly identifiable, but chromosomal crossover could have mixed them together, turning a heterogeneous hybrid into a homogeneous race.

The other option is that bigfoots originated as a mutation from H. sapiens sapiens.  We used to think that mutations occurred individually and slowly over time, but fossil evidence suggests that new species pop up fast, driven by gene pool isolation, and then stabilize with population increase.  There was a global disruption about 15,000 ybp, and it is quite possible that bigfoots are cold-adapted humans.  Given their physical features, they do seem to be dark skinned and negroid, which were the predominant human traits until about 6,000 ybp (when human skin color lightened in the north).  Add in the hair and size, and you have a bigfoot.  Throw in a bit of racism, and you have perpetual segregation.  Given the broad range of physical descriptions, bigfoots may still be mutating.  Bigfoots may have been even smarter in the past, and if Gerald Crabtree is correct, both they and us may be getting even less smart.  Intelligence is not the objective of evolution; survival is, and evolution may have us all giant and hairy, running around in the woods.
Of course I ran this past my go-to micro biologist Dr. Tyler Kochjohn and he had this to say:
There are many possible models to explain Bigfoot origins and I feel [Anthony Ciani] has done a great job coming up with some ideas.  Ideas are the easy part and sometimes Nature does not work the way we think it should, making it essential to examine all the possibilities by confronting hypothesis with data.  I also point out that disputes over data and ideas are part and parcel of science, this is certainly not unique to Dr. Ketchum’s paper.  If you ask a scientist whether they have had a paper rejected by a journal in an unwarranted manner, I feel most will admit to that and probably tell you they were furious about it as well.  You move on, seek help if need be and try again.  This is the norm.
You can read Anthony Ciani's entire letter to Bigfoot Lunch Club below.

Dear Editor,

In his post, "Ketchum Paper "Peer Reviewed" by Academic Professor", Guy Edwards stated that Dr. Ketchum had not responded by the time of publication.  Considering there is no follow-up article, it seems she will not responded.  I am familiar with some of her work, including unpublished findings and the drama concerning its publication, so I thought I might take a stab at responding to Tyler Kokjohn's comments.

Kokjohn is quoted as saying, "if it was me who held solid evidence of a new species and a remarkable pattern of origin, I would be breaking down the doors of any mainstream scientists I thought might be able to verify my data."  Knocking on doors is exactly what Ketchum did.  Many skeptics have claimed that the "scientific community" would consider all good evidence seriously, but what Ketchum discovered was an abundant mix of knee-jerk ridicule and institutional cowardice, in both the attempted collaborations and in publishing the paper.  The "scientific community" has been very childish in this endeavor.

To verify parts of her work, Ketchum sent "blind" material to well established laboratories, and frequently received enthusiastic responses concerning the novel nature of the DNA, with researchers begging to be let in on its source; until she mentioned, "suspected bigfoot", at which point those researchers, so eager to collaborate, would run away while venting their anger.  Even some of the reviewers, including ones reviewing for highly influential journals, treated the paper as a joke.  Many of those who did review the paper dismissed it with hand-waving arguments, mostly based on the catch-all claim of contamination.  Ketchum has even had difficulty in posting the sequences to GenBank.  In order to post a sequence, there must be a taxon under which to post it.  New taxons can be created, but must be approved by the NCBI taxonomy group.  According to Ketchum, this group rejected the creation of a taxon for bigfoots, so she has been unable to post the sequences to GenBank.  Perhaps she just talked to the wrong person?

The most controversial part of the paper is Ketchum's speculation (emphasis) that bigfoots are a cross between human females and some unknown hominid.  There is little data to identify the genesis of the bigfoot race, and Ketchum was originally loathe to make any speculation about it.  The speculation was a response to a reviewer, who suggested that including an origin for the species would make the paper publishable.  As Kokjohn notes, there are problems with the hybrid conjecture.  Unfortunately, Dr. Ketchum can be far too stubborn for her own good, and she grew attached to the idea of a hybrid, so she left it in the paper, rather than remove it after the paper was rejected.  She has even gone so far as to misread hear own phylogenetic tree, and has been talking about some possibility that bigfoots are a cross between giant lemurs and humans.  Ketchum is not a geneticist or evolutionary biologist; she is a forensic scientist.

Kokjohn is correct, in that the hybrid hypothesis has problems, but Ketchum's paper was not about proving that bigfoots are hybrids.  The paper was about proving that there is something unique and unrecognized roaming the woods, consistent with itself and nothing else, and the paper does exactly that.  The hair morphology and nuDNA were consistent across samples, and different from human or anything else.  Ketchum's work had the limited focus of establishing how to identify bigfoot evidence from DNA and hair morphology, not identifying what a bigfoot is or how it came about, and her first publication target was a forensics journal (which rejected the paper because it was too genetic and biological).
Ketchum's results can point us toward the origin.

For the nuDNA sequencing, Ketchum looked ONLY at chromosome 11.  The sequencing technique used a universal primer and provided the entire, continuous sequence along the chromosome (junk and genes, straight down the string).  What Ketchum (well, technically a geneticist collaborator) found was a mixture of easily identifiable human genes, slightly mutated human genes and unknown sequences, all on the same chromosome.  The genes that are identifiable as H. sapiens sapiens do not show up at exactly their proper loci, and the junk sequences between them are poorly matched, but it is a hominid chromosome 11.  I am uncertain where Kokjohn got the idea that Ketchum ever said the sequences have no homology, because she wrote, "all three samples showed homology to human chromosome 11."  Most of the genes are there, but many of them are just slightly different, and a few are very different (assuming they are genes and not junk).

There are two clear possibilities for the origin of bigfoots: hybrid or mutant.  The mtDNA is fully consistent with known human sequences (given a base pair or two).  The maternal lineage is, without a doubt, H. sapiens sapiens.  Even more interesting, is that the oldest mtDNA sequence found was from about 15,000 ybp, while the youngest was only a few thousand years old, if that.  This means that bigfoots have been continuously splitting from or interbreeding with normal humans since about 15,000 ybp until rather recently.  The problem with the hybrid idea is that if bigfoots are a cross between humans and some closely related hominid (Homo X), then they probably would have breed with Homo X, and we should find unknown mtDNA from Homo X; but there is not, at least, not in the bigfoots from which samples were collected.  Some people might think that the Homo X chromosome 11 and human chromosome 11 should still be distinctly identifiable, but chromosomal crossover could have mixed them together, turning a heterogeneous hybrid into a homogeneous race.

The other option is that bigfoots originated as a mutation from H. sapiens sapiens.  We used to think that mutations occurred individually and slowly over time, but fossil evidence suggests that new species pop up fast, driven by gene pool isolation, and then stabilize with population increase.  There was a global disruption about 15,000 ybp, and it is quite possible that bigfoots are cold-adapted humans.  Given their physical features, they do seem to be dark skinned and negroid, which were the predominant human traits until about 6,000 ybp (when human skin color lightened in the north).  Add in the hair and size, and you have a bigfoot.  Throw in a bit of racism, and you have perpetual segregation.  Given the broad range of physical descriptions, bigfoots may still be mutating.  Bigfoots may have been even smarter in the past, and if Gerald Crabtree is correct, both they and us may be getting even less smart.  Intelligence is not the objective of evolution; survival is, and evolution may have us all giant and hairy, running around in the woods.
 

18 comments:

  1. To me the Ketchum Document is about providing evidance that Bigfoot exists.

    She may not have connected the dots correctly to come to the proper conclusions with mainstream science....the pros can argue that point until the cows come home...the support should be in the data & the samples taken to state that sasquatch does indeed exist as a unducumented hominin.

    Once GenBank accepts the data anyone with the proper equipment can duplicate the results and compair the mtDNA / DNA and any thing else for matches to what has been submitted by the MK Abstract(two to three terabytes of data.)

    The Ketchum Abstract supports the existance of Bigfoot as unique, like nothing else out there.

    As stated above and I quote "The paper was about proving that there is something unique and unrecognized roaming the woods, consistent with itself and nothing else, and the paper does exactly that. The hair morphology and nuDNA were consistent across samples, and different from human or anything else. Ketchum's work had the limited focus of establishing how to identify bigfoot evidence from DNA and hair morphology, not identifying what a bigfoot is or how it came about."

    Now with that being said I can't tell you where Sasquatch belongs in the evolutionary history of hominids or primates let the pros battel that out too, BUT the study has come to a profound conclusion that Sasquatch indeed does exist.

    Tim

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  2. Great article Guy, I always enjoy your input. My personal theory is that Ketchum may have had something but either interpreted the data wrong (and there is evidence for this), had not eliminated human contamination, or fell to her own prejudice about these animals being fully Homo sapiens. From my research, I think that a good amount of evidence suggests that Sasquatch are descendants of the robust Australopithecines known as Paranthropus. Early rumors about the Ketchum study were suggesting a relict hominin, so perhaps she did have something. Please check out my blog sometime, I think you'd like it. Thanks.

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  3. I'm a bit perplexed. I thought that full nuclear genomes were generated from 3 of the samples. Now I'm reading that only chromosome 11 was looked at? I've been waiting to read that all of the raw nuclear data has been uploaded to Genbank, which is the real gateway to verification. Is that ever going to happen? If not, are we even back to square one? WTF?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are correct.
      The Abstract states on the 2nd page that three samples were subject to next generation whole genome sequencing each of which independenly yealded high quality complete genomes.

      Now with that being said it takes years to analize the entire genome.

      The next paragraph states: Analisis of pliminary phylogene trees from all three sampels shoes homology to human chromosome 11 and to primate sequences (I can't copy word for word because it's copy righted material).

      So you are correct.
      Tim

      Delete
  4. Anthony Ciani has made a misqoute, Melba Ketchum never claimed

    "* . She has even gone so far as to misread hear own phylogenetic tree, and has been talking about some possibility that bigfoots are a cross between giant lemurs and humans *", that was from a silly video by college students that claimed that.
    Please inform Anthony Diane this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Correction

      Please inform Anthony Ciani's of this misqoute.

      Delete
  5. Evolutionary biologist? They can't prove evolution in a lab, nothing that is 100% concrete, but they're creating these professional titles?
    LOL
    They won't even look into the existence of a being that has been reported for centuries, but without provable evidence they'll still accept evolution as if it's fact?
    That's laughable!
    What needs to happen is one needs to be captured alive and brought in.
    If you bring in a dead one, those "great minds" of science will understand a damn thing about it, or they'll shut you down because it will show all that evolution did not take place with these hominid.

    Vic O
    Arizona Bigfoot Tracker

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. > They can't prove evolution in a lab

      Multicellular Life Evolves in Laboratory
      http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/01/evolution-of-multicellularity/

      E. coli long-term evolution experiment
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment

      Evolution in the lab
      http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/conover_04

      Evolution in the Lab — Again
      http://sensuouscurmudgeon.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/evolution-in-the-lab-again/


      Delete
  6. Typo: science will not understand ...

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  7. Might I suggest that anyone that is going to make any statement about any part of the paper that Melba wrote look at two things first.

    One check the halotype because there is some question as to there is a mistake of the timing based on an original error of the halotype.

    Two, ask any college professor if they would accept her paper as is, with the pages of citations that she has.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you have something worthwhile to add? If so say it. What is the halotype question, please inform us? It appears you want to discredit the work - BUT YOU HAVE NOTHING TO SAY. PATHETIC.

      Most of the comments on this site are the most thoughtful and insightful I have found - for or against. VERY refreshing. Your type of post is better suited to the other "Evidence" sites

      Delete
  8. Why are we deferring to a post doc in matter physics on questions of hominid evolution? This isn't his specialty, and by his extremely vague definitions of the terms "hybrid" and "mutant," every plant and animal species alive today would qualify for both. I can understand the urge, post-Ketchum, to widen the possibilities as much as possible, but it isn't good science. It's baseless speculation. I suggest we take a few steps back and read about mules. Hybrids born of different species with differing numbers of chromosomes rarely, if ever, produce viable offspring. It was safer when everybody said Bigfoot was an age. Go ask Meldrum what he thinks of this nonsense. I dare you.

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    Replies
    1. That's "ape," not "age."

      Delete
  9. What a refreshingly intelligent dialogue, not only in the original post, but in the insightful comments submitted by readers who actually read the whole post to the end. The cool thing about weeding out the children with a long and detailed essay is how interesting the comments end up being. Great job as alway, Guy.

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  10. Outstanding article Guy. Thanks for sharing this. Lots to contemplate!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Has the Hoopla died down around the Ketchum Study and people taking a serious look
    at it, or is this all just Damage Control?

    Ketchum's actions during all this were just pathetic from "Sally" doing Facebook posts, to Ketchum's No-shows at conferences. Then we had her purported Sasquatch Encounters and her comments on what the Relic Hominid side could be. Sorry folks I ain't buying it. If she had maintained a serious manner as she did in the beginning we might take it seriously. Right now she's just a l'il ol' Texas Horse Doctor who got in over her head. Hopefully the Sykes study will give us some real DNA results.

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  12. First time on this site, liking it so far

    I agree with this guy in the point that Melba's study did and should have done better at proving that there is an unknown species alive and well across the world living in the forest. It doesnt matter what people believe it is, but as long as that conclusion can be drawn and atleast some of these instances there is a Bigfoot sighting associated with it there is very little to argue against all of the sometimes poor evidence once it stacks up high enough.

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  13. Does anyone know more detail on the significance of single strand DNA mentioned?

    ReplyDelete

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