Showing posts with label DNA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DNA. Show all posts

Friday, January 4, 2013

Today in Bigfoot History | JAN 04 | Oliver the Baby Bigfoot DNA Results

Oliver was known as baby bigfoot, the missing link and even the humanzee
"I still get inquiries about Oliver really being a Bigfoot." -- Loren Coleman

Today in 1976, a newspaper declared the mDNA results of a captured “Baby Bigfoot,” while unique, the Baby Bigfoot was merely a chimpanzee. Oliver (pictured above) was often known as Baby Bigfoot, but a more modern, and perhaps cleverer moniker, was coined in a recent documentary broadcast on the Discovery Channel. This documentary called "Humanzee," featured an upright walking chimpanzee named Oliver. For those who have heard of Oliver before, he's just a chimp according to test results. Chimp or "Humanzee," Oliver was a remarkable, upright walking chimp who appeared to prefer living and behaving as a human being than a chimpanzee for the better part of his life.

At cryptomundo.com Loren Coleman wrote in 2007, "I still get inquiries about Oliver really being a Bigfoot."

Oliver's had a real strange and sordid history. Others have noted Oliver's peculiar smell, eye coloring, bird-like voice and various mannerisms as being very un-chimp-like. And then there is Oliver's sense of himself. The prevailing view is that Oliver is simply a mutant chimp. Could Oliver be the result of clandestine genetic alchemy? A mutant or hybrid chimp? Missing Link perhaps?



BOERNE -- His days on the freak circuit and on tabloid covers as the fabled ``missing link,'' are finally behind him, as are seven lost years in a medical research laboratory.

Now, Oliver, a mild-mannered, middle-aged ape that walks upright like a human, is taking a well-deserved Hill Country retirement, but is no less a scientific mystery than he first appeared 25 years ago.

"Oliver's had a real strange and sordid history. He was exploited tremendously for his very unusual morphological characteristics,'' said Ken DeCroo, a California anthropologist and animal trainer who owned him a decade ago and, like others, has not forgotten him. "His physical appearance was rather different than most chimps. He's bipedal, which means he walks on two feet, and that is very unusual. And another aspect is his very small head,'' he said.

Others have noted Oliver's peculiar smell, eye coloring, bird-like voice and various mannerisms as being very un-chimp-like. And then there is Oliver's sense of himself. "He was not like normal chimps and other chimps didn't get along with him too well. He preferred to be with humans,'' recalled Bill Rivers, another former owner. But Oliver has mellowed with the years. Since May, when he and 11 other chimps were retired from the Buckshire Corp., a research center in Pennsylvania, Oliver has shared a spacious open-air cage with other chimps at Primarily Primates.

Wally Swett, director of the primate sanctuary, said his newest celebrity guest is adapting well, and, after years in isolation, has formed an attachment. "He's bonded with one little female,'' said Swett.

"And he understands a lot and is quite cooperative. And he's not like other male chimps which can get quite grabby and aggressive,'' he said.

Old news accounts assert that Oliver has 47 chromosomes (see results info below), one more than a human, one less than a chimpanzee, but there are no records to confirm it. Quite soon, possibly for the first time, Oliver will undergo sophisticated blood and genetic analysis to resolve, once and for all, exactly who or what he is.

"The prevailing view is that Oliver is simply a mutant chimp. Others think he may be a cross between a common chimp and a pygmy chimp, and soon we'll be able to make a determination,'' said Dr. Gordon Gallup, an anthropology professor at the University of New York at Albany.

But, said Gallup, who has lectured about Oliver in his evolutionary psychology course, there are other possibilities holding infinitely more complicated implications. "It's difficult to know for sure, but I think there is reason to suspect that Oliver may be a human-chimpanzee hybrid. It turns out that humans and chimps are at least 99 percent identical in terms of basic biological chemistry, and you can get hybrids among much more diverse creatures than that,'' he said.

Rumors of such taboo experiments being conducted in China, Italy and the United States have persisted for years, but have never been acknowledged. Could Oliver be the result of clandestine genetic alchemy? The answer may come after a blood sample -- to be taken from Oliver at an upcoming medical examination -- are tested at the University of Chicago, allowing scientists there to finally determine his genetic pedigree.

"Let you imagination run wild. It has such mind-boggling implications for things like religion, and whether such a creature would be covered by the Bill of Rights. It could make people think about their relationship to evolution,'' said Gallup. "But until there is some evidence either way, it's simply an academic exercise rather than anything you can take seriously,'' he said.

Dr. David Ledbetter, who will do the testing, said genetics technology will allow him to determine if Oliver is a normal or mutant chimp, and if he proves to be a hybrid, his parentage. "It seems a little silly to me to have all this rumor and controversy floating around when its a very straightforward thing to do the chromosome analysis,'' he said. A spokesperson for the Yerkes Primate Center in Atlanta, the most prestigious primate research facility in the country, said scientists there had never heard of Oliver.

Oliver surfaced in the early 1970s, when he was acquired as a baby by trainers Frank and Janet Burger whose dog, chimp, pony and pig acts were once regularly featured on the Ed Sullivan Show, at Radio City Music Hall, and once even by dancer Gene Kelly. "He came in from Africa with three other chimps that one of Frank's brothers had sent over from the Congo. But this one we could never use. He was odd and the other chimps would have nothing to do with him,'' recalled Janet Burger, 69. But if Oliver was strange in appearance, and was shunned by other chimps, his intelligence and personality were also quite different from the other apes in the Burgers' entourage.

"You could send him on chores. He would take the wheelbarrow and empty the hay and straw from the stalls. And when it was time to feed the dogs, he would get the pans, and mix the dog food for me. I'd get it ready and he'd mix it,'' she said. As he grew older, Oliver also acquired habits normally enjoyed only by humans, including a cup of coffee and a nightcap. "This guy, Oliver, he enjoyed sitting down at night and having a drink, and watching television. He'd mix his own. He'd pour a shot of whiskey and put some Seven-Up in there, stir it and drink it,'' she recalled.

Oliver also displayed emotions not normally associated with chimpanzees, including tears of remorse at temporary separations. But ultimately, it was another of Oliver's human like traits that forced the Burgers to sell him. By 1976, when he was approaching sexual maturity, Oliver was turning into a masher.

"He had sex on his mind. The old hormones flared up but he didn't care about the female chimps we had, he started trying to have sex with me and any other woman,'' recalled Burger. "I was leery of him. He was as strong as five men, so I told my husband, "I'm not putting up with this. He's going or I'm going," so we sold him to Michael Miller and his partner for $8,000,'' she said.

Miller, a New York City lawyer, had seen dollar signs in Oliver, and took him on the road, including Japan, where newspaper accounts report that 26 million Japanese viewed him.

In the United States and overseas, breathless speculation raged over the ape with the shaved head. Was he "the baby Bigfoot?'' A mutant or hybrid chimp? Or perhaps a newly discovered primitive African humanoid? Miller also hinted at the unspeakable: An ape-human hybrid.

In press accounts of the time, Miller said he intended for Oliver to undergo a full battery of scientific tests to determine his identity, but the results, if any, were never made public. After belonging to Miller for several years, Oliver was owned by a series of West Coast animal trainers, beginning with Ralph Helfer, owner of Enchanted Village in Buena Park, Ca., where Oliver was exhibited as a freak. "They had two or three shows a day. I'd just walk him out on stage while another fellow talked about him. They had theories that he was half-man, half-ape. That was part of the show,'' recalled Bill Rivers, who years later would be the last animal trainer to own Oliver. "It was just like seeing a space alien,'' he said.

Oliver later became part of Helfer's menagerie at Gentle Jungle doing occasional television commercials and shows. But when the facility closed he was given to Ken DeCroo who had worked there. DeCroo, an anthropologist and animal trainer, said Oliver was unlike any of the hundreds of chimps he had worked with in both research and commercial settings. "It was very hard to predict what was happening in that brain and generally he acted more human than chimp in a lot of settings,'' recalled DeCroo.

"This is the classic example. Very often I would sit him down in the living room with me to drink coffee. And one time he was out of coffee. I never trained him to do this, but maybe he knew it from the past. He got up from the table, walked into the kitchen, picked up the coffee pot, poured coffee into my cup, then into his, and then took the pot back into the kitchen,'' he said. "But here's the chimp part. He's making a terrible mess. His brain is telling him what to do, but his body isn't quite doing it. But he had the awareness. He understood where all the elements fit and that I was out of coffee. It was shocking,'' he said. DeCroo is now struggling to put Oliver down on paper. "I'll tell you how much Oliver has affected me in my life. I'm writing a novel, which is very much fiction, but is very much based on Oliver,'' he said.

"It's about researchers in a university that decide to do the experiment: man and ape. This experiment is quite possible, but would you do it?" he asked. "In deciding that, you can imagine the ramifications both ethically and scientifically. And what do you do with the creature in the end? It's quite an adventure and Oliver inspired it,'' he said.

DeCroo said in 1986, when he closed his animal compound, he sold Oliver to Bill Rivers with the understanding Oliver would be given a decent retirement. When he heard later Oliver had ended up at a research facility he was remorseful. "He was a good friend and I've always felt guilty. I failed Oliver. I really thought he wasn't going anywhere,'' said DeCroo. But Rivers said he eventually sold Oliver to the Buckshire Corporation, where he languished for almost seven years, when the ape proved too difficult to keep. "He couldn't get along with the other chimps. I was doing a lot of traveling. I really didn't have a place for him,'' said Rivers.

According to Buckshire president Sharon Hursh, Oliver showed signs of a rough treatment, but was never used for research. "When we got him, we gave him an entrance physical and it was evident to us he'd had a pretty tough life. Somewhere along the line, he must have been a tough chimp. He had scars that indicated rough handling,'' she said. "We basically purchased him for laboratory research but he was never used. He just sort of ate, kicked back and slept all day,'' she said. Fortunately for Oliver, others did not forget him.

Vincent Pace, a concert pianist and circus ochestra leader, met Oliver when the Burgers were traveling with the Vargas Circus in the early 1970's. But when Oliver was put up for sale in 1976, Pace said he was outbid by Miller, the New York lawyer. "I lost track of him totally for 20 years,'' said Pace.

"But two years ago I came into a big sum of money and I made a list of things I wanted to do. I wanted to buy a new Rolls Royce, I wanted a face lift and I wanted a new baby chimp. And in searching for a new chimp, I bumped into Oliver at the Buckshire,'' he said. Initially, he said, the Buckshire appeared willing to release Oliver. "I spent $70,000 to build a room on my house here for him. It's all plexi-glass, stainless steel and Formica. He'd have private eating quarters,'' he said. But after his attempt to get Oliver failed, said Pace, he was glad to see him and 11 other Buckshire chimps end up with Primarily Primates in Boerne.

"I'd lived without him for so long, I thought getting him out and into anybody's hands would be better than him being where he was,'' said Pace. "Someday I'll go to Texas and see Oliver before he dies. This animal is almost human in his emotions,'' he said.

Regardless of the outcome of the genetic testing, Oliver will enjoy a peaceful and permanent refuge in Boerne, said Swett. "He's been dragged around and exploited for over 20 years, but this is his final retirement. He'll never go into research or on exhibit again,'' said Swett. "In terms of significant scientific findings, we'll play it by ear, but never to the point of inconveniencing Oliver,'' he said.


Thanks to astute and resourceful BLC fan, Nadia Moore for finding this link for the abstract of Oliver's DNA results.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Today in Bigfoot History | JAN 03 | New York Times Declares Wallace is Bigfoot

Rough estimate of the New York Times Front Page, Headline accurate 

In 2003, January 3rd, The New York Times printed a front page article reporting Ray Wallace's "death bed" confession as the guy wearing a Bigfoot costume in the famous Patterson/Gimlin film. To Bigfooters the Sasquatch in the film is referred to as Patty. Ray Wallace has been claiming he was Patty long before he died, but somehow as a "death bed" confession the story seemed to stick better. He also claimed at one point his wife was in the suit. The testimony of Michael Wallace, Ray's son is the thrust of the article.

''This wasn't a well-planned plot or anything,'' said Michael Wallace, one of Ray's sons.

''All it means is that Ray Wallace is dead, not Bigfoot,'' said Dr. Wolf Henner Fahrenbach, a zoologist in the Portland area who is retired from the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center.

Though some Bigfoot believers had long suspected that Mr. Wallace created the tracks, he kept his secret, and his family never confirmed it until his death.

Michael Wallace said his father had a friend carve the feet. Dr. Fahrenbach has tried to prove -- by DNA analysis of hair samples -- that Bigfoot is a species heretofore unknown to science. ''Sasquatch feet grow in substantial excess of general body dimensions,'' Dr. Fahrenbach wrote in one study. ''Hence the justifiable moniker Bigfoot.''

Filmed in the Six Rivers National Forest in Northern California, not far from where Ray Wallace laid his tracks, the short film shows a bewildered-looking apeman walking upright, while glancing at the camera.

The film has its believers, Dr. Meldrum and Dr. Fahrenbach among them. ''As long as Dad was alive, he was Bigfoot,'' Michael Wallace said

Our favorite part is when Dr. Matthew Johnson get's wrapped into this famous article. Dr. Matthew Johnson is an active leader in the Bigfoot community and a Bigfoot witness who currently offers parenting advice via books, CDs, and conferences. His site Family-Rules.com is one-stop center for "Parenting with a Plan." He also has a popular Facebook Group Team Squatchin' USA


Dr Matthew Johnson (Dr. J) in the wilderness. In 2003 he was quoted
in the now famous New York Times article about Ray Wallace

Below is the excerpt that includes Dr. Matthew Johnson.
Dr. Meldrum and Dr. Fahrenbach may have some academic investment in Bigfoot, but Dr. Matthew Johnson, a clinical psychologist from Grants Pass, Ore., said his conviction could not be dismissed as scholarly bias.

Dr. Johnson said he was too big - 6 feet 9 inches tall - too educated, and too familiar with the outdoors after living in Alaska for years to be fooled by some guy in an ape suit, or a logger with wooden feet.

"I've never had a U.F.O. encounter and have not seen the Loch Ness monster," he said. "I was just a husband and father out for a hike."

Two years ago, while hiking with his family in the Oregon Caves National Monument, Dr. Johnson said, he ventured off to the side of a trail, looked up to some trees and stared, eye to eye with Bigfoot. He reported his find to the National Park Service.

"Ray Wallace may have indeed hoaxed his own tracks," Dr. Johnson said. "But I can guarantee you that Ray Wallace was not walking around in a nine-foot Bigfoot suit in the Oregon Caves at the age of 82. What I saw was real."

Since the encounter, Dr. Johnson, now president of the Southern Oregon Bigfoot Society, has led numerous outings to feed and track Bigfoot. He leaves bananas and husked corn for the animal.

Click the following link to read the entire Bigfoot New York Times article.

In a previous post we broke the news that Judge Rheinhold is planning on producing a movie about Ray Wallace.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Recent Bigfoot News Used to Teach English

 The Voice of America articles covers Bryan Sykes Research,
other cryptids and Oetzi (above) the iceman 
Special English is a controlled version of the English language first used on October 19, 1959, and still presented daily by the United States broadcasting service Voice of America (VOA). World news and other programs are read one-third slower than regular VOA English. Reporters avoid idioms and use a core vocabulary of about 1500 words, plus any terms needed to explain a story. The intended audience is intermediate to advanced learners of English.


Voice of America offers many news items in Special English to help learn not only the english language, but also to improve accents to sound like a native english speaker. Most articles are accompanied with audio as this one is below. The article covers the Collateral Hominid Project conducted by researchers from Oxford University and the Swiss Lausanne Museum of Zoology. So enjoy the audio that goes with the article below.



The Search for DNA from A Creature That May Not Exist

Read, listen and learn English with this story.

BOB DOUGHTY: This is SCIENCE IN THE NEWS, in VOA Special English. I’m Bob Doughty.

BARBARA KLEIN: And I’m Barbara Klein. Today we tell about an appeal for genetic material from a famous creature that may not even exist. We report on the health of a man who lived five thousand years ago. And we tell about the effect of changing weather conditions on human ancestors -- the Neanderthals.

(MUSIC)

BOB DOUGHTY: Scientists have launched a genetic search for a large, ape-like creature called the Yeti. They are appealing to people who claim that Yetis exist to provide evidence of the creature.

Researchers from Oxford University and the Swiss Lausanne Museum of Zoology are calling their study the Collateral Hominid Project. Hominid is the general genetic family of primates. It includes modern human beings, also known as homo sapiens. The family also includes all other early human and human-like species.

BARBARA KLEIN: The Yeti is said to live in the mountains of Nepal and Tibet. It is most often described as a large, hairy hominid. It reportedly stands between two and two and one-half meters tall. The name Yeti means “magical creature” in the Tibetan language. Some people have called the creature, The Abominable Snowman or Sasquatch.

Creatures like the Yeti are known as cryptids. A cryptid is an animal that some people say exists, although there is no strong evidence that it does. There can be what is called “circumstantial evidence,” like unconfirmed sightings that cryptids exist. Yet scientific proof is lacking.

Other cryptids are Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster, Big Foot in North America, and central Africa’s dinosaur-like Mokele Mbembe.

BOB DOUGHTY: Researchers from the Collateral Hominid Project have appealed to individuals and organizations who say Yetis exist. They want to examine organic remains said to belong to the creature. The scientists say they are especially interested in testing pieces of hair. They plan to use recently-developed methods for studying DNA -- deoxyribonucleic acid. They say these methods produce clear results that cannot be falsified. They are planning to write a report about their findings and send it to a scientific journal for all the world to read.

In case you were wondering, the researchers say they do not expect to find any evidence proving Yetis exist. But they are promising to examine what is sent to them. They are accepting organic material for testing until September. The DNA tests are set to last from September through November.

(MUSIC)

BOB DOUGHTY: About twenty years ago, the mummified remains of a man were discovered in a melting glacier in the Italian Alps. The remains were said to be in very good condition. Tests showed that they were about five thousand three hundred years old. The mummy came to be called the Iceman. Scientists called him Oetzi because of where he was found. His body was frozen and mummified in the place where he fell after he was killed.

Over the years, Oetzi came to be buried under layers of ice and snow. But as the Earth’s climate warmed, those layers began to melt. In nineteen ninety-one, two Germans found the body while exploring the Oetztal Alps, near the border between Italy and Austria.

BARBARA KLEIN: Recently, European scientists announced completion of a DNA map of Oetzi. They said the map provided details about his appearance, his ethnic origins and even his health.

The details are described in a paper by scientists at the European Academy for Mummies and the Iceman in Italy, and at the Institute for Human Genetics in Germany. Among the findings is that Oetzi was genetically at risk for heart disease. Yet the scientists say he was not overweight and probably was very active. They say this information is important because it shows that heart disease existed more than five thousand years ago. They say that means the problem cannot be blamed on modern lifestyles or customs.

BOB DOUGHTY: Oetzi’s newly-mapped genome also shows that he suffered from borreliosis, also known as Lyme disease. The scientists say this is the earliest-known case of the disease. They say it proves that the disorder was present in the New Stone Age period.

The scientists found that Oetzi was unable to digest milk products. They say he became sick after eating such products or drinking milk. They say this finding supports the belief that what is called “lactose intolerance” was still a common condition in Oetzi’s time. Yet his people were becoming increasingly involved in farming. And some people raised dairy animals for their milk. Today, most Asians and Africans suffer from lactose intolerance, but few northern Europeans do.

BARBARA KLEIN: The researchers believe Oetzi’s ancestors probably came from the Middle East. The ancestors were thought to have moved to Europe, as agriculture continued to spread. The researchers say few modern-day Europeans share genes with the Iceman. Those who do live mostly in areas separate from the European mainland, like the Mediterranean islands of Sardinia and Corsica.

Oetzi’s DNA map also has helped researchers recreate his physical appearance. They say he weighed about fifty kilograms, and had brown eyes and long brown hair. He was about one point six meters tall. This was an average height for a man during the New Stone Age.

BOB DOUGHTY: A report on the Iceman’s complete genome is published in the journal Nature Communications. We have included a link to the study on our website, voaspecialenglish.com.

Earlier studies found that Oetzi died at the age of forty-five. Examinations of wounds on his back show he was murdered. He was shot in the back with an arrow and left to suffer a cold and lonely death in the Alps.

Many scientists have noted the high quality of the clothing Oetzi was wearing and the fine copper axe in his possession. They say this likely means he and his family were probably important within their community.

(MUSIC)

BARBARA KLEIN: Finally, another study has found that most Neanderthals had largely disappeared across most of Europe fifty thousand years ago. That is long before our ancestors, homo sapiens, first arrived on the continent.

 A team of researchers says its findings dispute the long-held belief that Neanderthals were in Europe for hundreds of thousands of years until modern Homo sapiens arrived. The researchers based their findings from studies of DNA taken from fossilized remains of thirteen Neanderthals who lived in what is now northern Spain.

BOB DOUGHTY: The scientists say the Neanderthal human species had died off as early as fifty thousand years ago. But they say a small group survived for another ten thousand years in areas of central and western Europe. The results suggest that Neanderthals may have been more affected by the sudden changes in climate during the last Ice Age than had been believed.

The DNA tests showed that older European Neanderthals had a much-greater mix of genes than much later Neanderthal populations. Older Asian Neanderthals also had a much greater genetic variation than the later populations.

BARBARA KLEIN: The researchers say they contacted other experts to help confirm their findings. That is because all of their results are based on severely-degraded, or damaged, DNA. They used both modern laboratory and computational methods to reach their findings.

The scientists say they only felt sure of their findings after an international research team studied them. They believe the genetic information reveals an important and formerly unknown part of Neanderthal history.

 Scientists from the University of Uppsala in Sweden led the study. They worked with researchers from Spain, Denmark and the United States. A report on the team’s findings is published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.

(MUSIC)

BOB DOUGHTY: This SCIENCE IN THE NEWS was adapted into Special English by Christopher Cruise. Our producer was June Simms. I’m Bob Doughty.

BARBARA KLEIN: And I’m Barbara Klein. You can find a link to the Collateral Hominid Project on our website, voaspecialenglish.com.

Join us again next week for more news about science in Special English on the Voice of America.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Benjamin Radford Goes Beyond Bigfoot Prints and DNA

Benjamin Radford, Editor of the Skeptical Inquirer
"The most compelling evidence for Bigfoot would be DNA analyses, since they are scientific and theoretically definitive." --Benjamin Radford, deputy editor of Skeptical Enquirer

Benjamin Radford is deputy editor of the science magazine Skeptical Inquirer. He also co-hosts, with Karen Stollznow, Skeptic magazine's audio podcast MonsterTalk, which critically examines the science behind cryptozoological (and legendary) creatures, such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and werewolves.

You may remember him from earlier posts such as, Top 10 Reasons Bigfoot is Bunk, Bigfoot Cousins Claimed in Many Countries, and most recently,  If You Spot Bigfoot, Should You Shoot Him? He is a skeptic, and one of the more fair-minded ones. As most of you know the term skeptic, does not mean "non-believer," Some skeptics would even put themselves in the "Bigfoot Hopeful" category. 

Last Saturday Radford reminds us that, although the Oxford University Study is making news, trying to retrieve DNA evidence is nothing new.

Read his reminder below with a vote of hopefulness in the end.

BIGFOOT: BEYOND FOOTPRINTS AND DNA

Analysis by Benjamin Radford 
Sat May 26, 2012 08:46 AM ET 


Last week researchers from Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology announced that they are seeking genetic materials (such as hair, skin, and blood samples) claimed to be of unknown animals such as Bigfoot. The goal of the Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project is to catalogue and identify new species, including those long believed to be mythical.

Despite the publicity that the new project is garnering, this is far from the first time that alleged Bigfoot samples have been subjected to scientific testing.

NEWS: New Bigfoot Sightings: Proof Still Lacking

In 2008, for example, the TV show "Destination Truth" recovered what was claimed to be a hair of a Yeti (formerly known as the Abominable Snowman). An analysis reportedly came back indicating that the sample contained "an unknown DNA sequence," though the full report was not made public and the results were never published in a journal -- as would be expected with a legitimate scientific discovery.

Then there was the strange case of a finger long claimed to be from a Yeti, once held in a monastery in Nepal which was examined by researchers at the Edinburgh Zoo last year. DNA testing solved the decades-old mystery and debunked the Yeti finger; it was actually human, probably from a monk.

For over a year Bigfoot buffs have followed the saga of Dr. Melba Ketchum, a veterinarian who claims to have definitive evidence of Bigfoot DNA. Ketchum says that her research will be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal any time now, and has released virtually no information about her allegedly world-shaking findings, reminding those who question her that "until it is published, I cannot discuss our data at all."

Last week in a May 18 Facebook post, Ketchum once again promised that definitive Bigfoot DNA results would be published soon, and "that all is well and things are happening as expected."

'Unknown' and 'Unidentified'

The most compelling evidence for Bigfoot would be DNA analyses, since they are scientific and theoretically definitive. However answers are not always possible; "unknown" or "unidentified" results do not mean "Bigfoot."

There are many reasons why a given hair or DNA sample might come back unknown, including that it was contaminated or too degraded by environmental conditions. Or it could simply mean that the animal it came from was not among the reference samples that the laboratory used for comparison. We have no reference sample of Bigfoot DNA to compare it to, so by definition there cannot be a "conclusive match."

NEWS: Bigfoot and Yeti DNA Study Gets Serious

In his book Big Footprints (Johnson Books, 1992), veteran researcher Grover Krantz discussed alleged Bigfoot hair, feces, skin scrapings, and blood: "The usual fate of these items is that they either receive no scientific study, or else the documentation of that study is either lost or unobtainable. In most cases where competent analyses have been made, the material turned out to be bogus or else no determination could be made."

Indeed, twenty years later, the situation remains the same. When a definite conclusion has been reached through scientific analysis, the samples have invariably turned out to have prosaic sources -- "Bigfoot hair" turns out to be elk, bear, or cow hair, for example, or "Bigfoot blood" is revealed to be a car's transmission fluid.

Krantz gave one typical example: "A large amount of what looks like hair has been recovered from several places in the Blue Mountains since 1987. Samples of this were examined by many supposed experts ranging from the FBI to barbers. Most of these called it human, the Redkin Company found significant differences from human hair, but the Japan Hair Medical Science Lab declared it a synthetic fiber.

A scientist at [Washington State] University first called it synthetic, then looked more closely and decided it was real hair of an unknown type... However final confirmation came when E.B. Winn, a pharmaceutical businessman from Switzerland had a sample tested in Europe. The fiber was positively identified as artificial and its exact composition was determined: it is a product known commercially as Dynel, which is often used as imitation hair."

The lesson? Even many of the world's top experts got it wrong; it was not human nor "unknown" but instead a synthetic fiber. Hair testing is far less of an exact science than genetics testing, and the fact that some alleged Bigfoot hairs remain “unidentified” is hardly surprising—and certainly not mysterious.

For decades Bigfoot research has been plagued by false promises of definitive, earthshaking proof of Bigfoot -- most of it creates plenty of publicity and hype but no real results. Hopefully efforts by researchers like the Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project and Melba Ketchum will be successful. However they are only the latest in a long line of claimants -- all of whom have all failed so far. Can they back up their claims with solid scientific evidence, or will they join the ignominious legions of hoaxers and sincere-but-deluded researchers?

Time will tell.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mainstream Media News Tour of the Oxford University Bigfoot DNA Genetics Study

Finally Oxford University has something to brag about; Bigfoot genetic research
We are proud to say that we broke this news first--after Jeff Meldrum announced it at the Richland, WA Bigfoot Conference. Technically, that makes us second to break the news, but due to budget constraints we fired our fact-checker (sorry Joe), so we are going with the first version. You read it here first! Dr. Bryan Sykes of Oxford University is conducting a genetic research on Sasquatch Samples.

On May 16th we mentioned Dr. Meldrum's Participation, May 17th we posted a Video of Meldrum talking about his initial meeting with Bryan Sykes, and finally we broke the official news to the world on how to send Bigfoot samples to Oxford University before the mainstream media did.

Some would argue it is hard to brag about scooping mainstream media, when Bigfoot news is your niche, but we actually find it quite easy.

Speaking of mainstream media, we have collected articles from across the globe in a single place, in chronological order (oldest to latest) So you can catch up with what the rest of the world knows about the Oxford University/Bryan Sykes Bigfoot Genetic Research. You'll notice we left out NPR, HuffPost and a few others, that is because they just copied and pasted from Reuters News. But rest assured this news is EVERYWHERE. By the way, our terminated fact-checker called in to tell us C|Net gets it wrong; Dr.Sykes is only interested in Hominid (Bigfoot) samples, he is not interested in Nessie. Great catch Joe, your still fired.


http://www.wired.co.uk
Oxford University to probe 'yeti' DNA
By Duncan Geere May 22, 2012


Supposed yeti remains are being put under the microscope in a collaboration between Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology.

The Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project has been created to try and entice people and institutions with collections of cryptozoological material to submit it for analysis. Anyone with a sample of organic remains can submit details of where and when it was collected, among other data.

Once a reasonable database has been collected, the team will select the most interesting samples (hair shafts are particularly desirable, apparently) and ask the owners to submit them for rigorous genetic analysis. The results of these analyses will be published in peer-reviewed journals.

A large number of cultures around the world have variations of the yeti legend, including bigfoot, sasquatch, meh-teh, almasty, migoi and orang pendek. Bryan Sykes from Wolfson College, Oxford, told Wired.co.uk: "Theories as to their species identification vary from surviving collateral hominid species, such as Homo neanderthalensis or Homo floresiensis, to large primates like Gigantopithecus widely thought to be extinct, to as yet unstudied primate species or local subspecies of black and brown bears."

He added: "Mainstream science remains unconvinced by these reports both through lack of testable evidence and the scope for fraudulent claims. However, recent advances in the techniques of genetic analysis of organic remains provide a mechanism for genus and species identification that is unbiased, unambiguous and impervious to falsification. It is possible that a scientific examination of these neglected specimens could tell us more about how Neanderthals and other early hominids interacted and spread around the world."

If you've got a yeti scalp in your shed, and you'd like to submit it for verification, you can find out how to do so over on the project's website.


http://www.reuters.com
Scientists Deploy Genetics in Search for Bigfoot
(Reporting by Chris Wickham; Editing by Andrew Heavens) Tue May 22, 2012 10:02am EDT


(Reuters) - Scientists are turning to genetic testing to see if they can prove the existence of the elusive hairy humanoid known across the world as bigfoot, yeti and sasquatch.

A joint project between Oxford University and Switzerland's Lausanne Museum of Zoology will examine organic remains that some say belong to the creature that has been spotted in remote areas for decades.

"It's an area that any serious academic ventures into with a deal of trepidation ... It's full of eccentric and downright misleading reports," said Bryan Sykes at Oxford's Wolfson College.

But the team would take a systematic approach and use the latest advances in genetic testing, he added.

"There have been DNA tests done on alleged yetis and other such things but since then the testing techniques, particularly on hair, have improved a lot due to advances in forensic science," he told Reuters.

Modern testing could get valid results from a fragment of a shaft of hair said Sykes, who is leading the project with Michel Sartori, director of the Lausanne museum.

Ever since a 1951 expedition to Mount Everest returned with photographs of giant footprints in the snow, there has been speculation about giant Himalayan creatures, unknown to science.

There have been eyewitness reports of the "yeti" or "migoi" in the Himalayas, "bigfoot" or "sasquatch" in America, "almasty" in the Caucasus mountains and ‘orang pendek' in Sumatra.

Tests up to now have usually concluded that alleged yeti remains were actually human, he said. But that could have been the result of contamination. "There has been no systematic review of this material."

The project will focus on Lausanne's archive of remains assembled by Bernard Heuvelmans, who investigated reported yeti sightings from 1950 up to his death in 2001.

Other institutions and individuals will also be asked to send in details of any possible yeti material. Samples will be subjected to "rigorous genetic analysis", and the results published in peer-reviewed science journals.

Aside from the yeti question, Sykes said he hoped the project would add to the growing body of knowledge on the interaction between humanity's ancestors.

"In the last two years it has become clear that there was considerable inter-breeding between Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals ... about 2 to 4 percent of the DNA of each individual European is Neanderthal," he said.

One hypothesis is that yetis are surviving Neanderthals. The joint project will take DNA samples from areas where there have been alleged sightings to see whether the Neanderthal DNA traces are stronger in the local population.

As for the project's chances of success? "The answer is, of course, I don't know," said Sykes. "It's unlikely but on the other hand if we don't examine it we won't know."


http://news.cnet.com
Oxford making scientific search for Yeti, Nessie
by Chris Matyszczyk  May 23, 2012 10:20 AM PDT


There are those who believe that Yetis exist, most especially Georgians.

All too often when these claims are investigated, though, they turn up a gorilla costume and a couple of rogues.

However, someone is finally bringing scientific credibility to the search not only for Yetis, but also the Loch Ness Monster and, for all I know, unicorns.
Oxford University's Wolfson College has decided to invite every human being in the world to send in samples of animals that appear to be something of a mystery.

I am indebted to the Daily Mail for unearthing this massive development in human progress.
The brains at Wolfson College aren't doing this as a little side project. No, they intend the use the very latest in DNA technology to attempt to uncover what they call "cryptids."

You see, the minute you put a fine, ancient-rooted word to Bigfoot, it already sounds more scientific, doesn't it? Cryptids are all those weird, hidden beings whose existence has never been proven and whose legend has grown greater than that of Tom Cruise.

The project is to be run by visiting fellow Bryan Sykes and enjoys the quite luscious name "The Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project."

Sykes is particular looking for hair shafts. In announcing the project on the college site, Sykes explains the history of legitimate Yeti-hunting:

Theories as to their species identification vary from surviving collateral hominid species, such as Homo neanderthalensis or Homo floresiensis, to large primates like Gigantopithecus widely thought to be extinct, to as yet unstudied primate species or local subspecies of black and brown bears.

So he seems utterly convinced that some of these legendary beings might actually be real.

Indeed, he added that this project represents humanity's first attempt to be truly rigorous on the subject:
Recent advances in the techniques of genetic analysis of organic remains provide a mechanism for genus and species identification that is unbiased, unambiguous and impervious to falsification.

Many of you are of a rigorous bent and perhaps consider that you've seen something weird in your neighborhood at least once or twice.

So if you'd like to send a specimen to Sykes and his team, here are where the details of the project are to be found.

It has always been my ambition to write the headline: "Yeti found." Even better, though, would be "Yeti found at Oxford University." Or even: "Yeti Found in Congress."


http://news.discovery.com
BIGFOOT AND YETI DNA STUDY GETS SERIOUS
by Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Managing Editor | Tue May 22, 2012 02:18 PM ET

A call is out for supposed Big Foot material so university scientists can do genetic testing.

THE GIST

  • Scientists have requested that cryptozoologists send them material supposedly from cryptic species.
  • They plan to conduct genetic analysis of the material.
  • The call is a challenge to those who claim that science simply rejects such claims.

A new university-backed project aims to investigate cryptic species such as the yeti whose existence is unproven, through genetic testing.

Researchers from Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology are asking anyone with a collection of cryptozoological material to submit descriptions of it. The researchers will then ask for hair and other samples for genetic identification.

"I'm challenging and inviting the cryptozoologists to come up with the evidence instead of complaining that science is rejecting what they have to say," said geneticist Bryan Sykes of the University of Oxford.

While Sykes doesn't expect to find solid evidence of a yeti or Bigfoot monster, he says he is keeping an open mind and hopes to identify perhaps 20 of the suspect samples. Along the way, he'd be happy if he found some unknown species. (Rumor or Reality: The Creatures of Cryptozoology)

"It would be wonderful if one or more turned out to be species we don't know about, maybe primates, maybe even collateral hominids," Sykes told LiveScience. Such hominids would include Neanderthals or Denosivans, a mysterious hominin species that lived in Siberia 40,000 years ago.

"That would be the optimal outcome," Sykes said.

The project is called the Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project. It is being led by Sykes and Michel Sartori of the zoology museum.

Origin of a Legend

The story of a big hairy monster of the Himalayas stomped into popular culture in 1951, when British mountaineer Eric Shipton returned from a Mount Everest expedition with photographs of giant footprints in the snow.

The cryptic creature goes by many names in many places: yeti or migoi in the Himalayas, Bigfoot or sasquatch in the United States and Canada, respectively; almasty in the Caucasus Mountains; orag pendek in Sumatra. (Infographic: Tracking Belief in Bigfoot)

And while reports of such creatures have abounded around the world since then, there is no real proof they exist; the reports inevitably turn out to be of a civet, bear or other known beast.

Yeti hairs

Sykes doesn't want to start receiving loads of skin, hair and other samples haphazardly, so he is asking people to send detailed descriptions of their "yeti" samples.

Once he and his colleagues have looked over the details — including physical descriptions of the sample (even photographs), its origin and ideas about the likely species it belongs to — they will send a sampling kit for those that are deemed suitable for study.

"As an academic I have certain reservations about entering this field, but I think using genetic analysis is entirely objective; it can't be falsified," Sykes said. "So I don't have to put myself into the position of either believing or disbelieving these creatures."

One theory about the yeti is that it belongs to small relic populations of other hominids, such as Neanderthals or Denisovans. While Sykes said this idea is unlikely to be proven true, "if you don't look, you won't find it."

The collection phase of the project will run through September, with genetic testing following that through November. After that, Sykes said, they will write up the results for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal; this would be the first such publication of cryptozoology results, he said.

"Several things I've done in my career have seemed impossible and stupid when contemplated, but have impressive results," Sykes said. When he set out to find DNA from ancient human remains, for instance, he thought, "It's never going to work." It did, and he published the first report of DNA from ancient human bones in the journal Nature in 1989.


http://www.washingtonpost.com
Wanted: Bigfoot hair samples sought by European scientists to see if mythical creature exists
By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 9:32 AM


LONDON — European researchers are planning to use new techniques to analyze DNA that could help crack the mystery of whether Bigfoot exists.

In a project announced this week, Oxford University and Lausanne Museum of Zoology scientists appealed to museums, scientists and Yeti aficionados to share hair samples thought to be from the mythical ape-like creature.

New genetic tests will be done on just a few strands of hair and should be completed within weeks. Even if the sample is judged to come from an unknown species, scientists should be able to tell how closely it is related to other species, including apes or humans.

Bryan Sykes of Oxford University said the group had already received many offers of samples to test, including blood, hair, and items supposedly chewed by Bigfoot. Sykes and colleagues plan to sift through the samples for the next few months before deciding which specimens to test. They will then publish their results in a peer-reviewed journal.

Other experts agreed recent advances made in DNA testing could theoretically solve the Bigfoot question.

“If the Yeti is real and somebody has found bits of their hair, you should be able to tell from the DNA in the hair if this is actually a Yeti,” said Mark Thomas, a professor of evolutionary genetics at University College London. He is not connected to the Bigfoot project.

But Thomas was unsure how likely it was anyone might have actual Yeti hairs. Some scientists theorize Yetis are either a distinct hominid species, or a mix between homo sapiens and Neanderthals or other species. There is already evidence of interbreeding between homo sapiens and Neanderthals.

“If Yetis have survived for the last 30,000 years, they have probably had a pretty miserable existence and are a small population vulnerable to extinction,” Thomas said. “It’s not as insane an idea as many might think, but the chances are pretty small.”

Sykes said he has always been intrigued by stories of Yeti sightings, but would rely on science rather than such tales to prove if the stories are credible. “It’s not really possible to fabricate DNA evidence,” he said.

He acknowledged that the chances of proving the existence of a new Yeti species are low, but said that the study was still worthwhile. “If we don’t look, we’ll never find out,” he said.

Bigfoot is a legendary giant, hairy, ape-like beast that is variously known as Sasquatch, the Abominable Snowman, Yeti and other names. It supposedly lives in heavily forested or snowy mountains. Although most scientists don’t believe in the beast’s existence, decades of eyewitness reports, suggestive photos and stories have kept the legend alive.

David Frayer, a professor of biological anthropology at Kansas University, told The Associated Press in an email that “No serious scientist (would) treat Yeti as a worthy research project.”

He said previous tests on supposed Yeti hairs have already been done — “and they turned out to be from a bison.”

http://www.foxnews.com
Scientists Seek Big Genes of Bigfoot
Published May 22, 2012FoxNews.com


Can science unravel one of life’s enduring mysteries?

Rumors of the hairy humanoid known variously as the yeti, bigfoot and sasquatch have persisted for decades, despite little hard evidence beyond grainy photographs and plaster casts of giant footprints. Now scientists are hoping to make more of a case for the creature -- with the help of genetic testing, Reuters reported.

The Lausanne Museum of Zoology in Switzerland together with prestigious Oxford University said Tuesday, May 22, that they will together use DNA testing to examine organic remains that some claim belong to the beast.

'There have been DNA tests done on alleged yetis but since then the testing techniques have improved a lot.'
- Bryan Sykes at Oxford's Wolfson College

"It's an area that any serious academic ventures into with a deal of trepidation ... it's full of eccentric and downright misleading reports," Bryan Sykes at Oxford's Wolfson College told Reuters.

Lausanne has an archive of such organic material assembled by researcher Bernard Heuvelmans, the news agency reported. Heuvelmans sought the yeti for over 50 years until his death in 2001.

"There have been DNA tests done on alleged yetis and other such things but since then the testing techniques, particularly on hair, have improved a lot due to advances in forensic science," Sykes said.
Despite the lack of hard evidence, Bigfoot believers are steadfast in their conviction that somewhere out there lurks a giant hominoid that simply has eluded all efforts to track it down.

"I have been immersed in Sasquatch research for a number of years, and I can tell you in my mind a mountain of evidence supports the existence of these creatures," Ken Gerhard, a San Antonio cryptozoologist who co-wrote "Monsters of Texas," recently told the Houston Chronicle.

Ogopogo: The world's second best-known lake monster after Scotland's Nessie, captured recently on a grainy cell phone video.

Montauk Monster: Some speculated it was an escaped mutant. Others thought it was an alien. Or was it just a raccoon?

The Carolina Critter: A bizarre creature that washed ashore last week in Folly Beach, S.C., sparked speculation of sea monsters.

Gerhard, who also heads up the Gulf Coast Bigfoot Research Organization, said Texas has one of the nation’s highest incidents of bigfoot reports, outranked only by Washington, California, Oregon, Ohio and Florida.

Bigfoot hit the headlines earlier this month when an Oregon fan discovered that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Association regulations would make it legal for a hunter to kill the mythical creature.
Despite the fact that chief of staff Lt. David. Sinclair told FoxNews.com that he never mentioned bigfoot specifically, Texas law does seem clear; if Bigfoot is indigenous to Texas, it can be killed there.
So is Bigfoot a Longhorn? Absolutely, said Brian Brown, media coordinator for the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy.

“We’ve got hundreds of sightings going back decades. I don’t think we’d have any problem proving it’s indigenous. We think they’re all over the region,” Brown told FoxNews.com.






Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dr Jeff Meldrum Talks Bigfoot Genetic Study with Bryan Sykes of Oxford University

Dr Bryan Sykes, A DNA expert that has already been published in Nature
"Since he [Dr. Bryan Sykes] got wind of some of the, in my opinion, premature rumors of the hybridization and origins of Sasquatch, he was interested in that." --Dr. Jeff Meldrum

 This is part 3 of Dr. Jeff Meldrum's Presentation (You can view Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3)

On April 28, 2012 Dr. Jeff Meldrum and Dr. Bryan Sykes had lunch to discuss among other things the possibility of the hybridization of sasquatch. Sykes, who is very familiar with the mixing of ancestral genes in humans, was curious about the possible hybridization of Sasquatch. During the lunch Dr. Meldrum advised Dr Sykes, "It was extremely unlikely that such hybridization had occurred," Meldrum continued, "and the evidence was non-existent at this point, but the question was out there and was worthy of examination."

As you may have read from our previous post Dr Jeff Meldrum Participates in Parallel Sasquatch DNA Study, Dr. Jeff Meldrum is working with Bryan Sykes on a parallel Sasquatch DNA research. Meldrum has already offered some hair sample to Sykes. Dr. Bryan Sykes is emeritus professor of human genetics at Oxford University. His company, Oxford Ancestors, traces human genetic backgrounds. Sykes's books include the New York Times best-selling The Seven Daughters of Eve.

Watch the video below from Thom Cantrall's Pacific Northwest Conference on Primal People (Sasquatch) held in Richland, WA. In the video Meldrum discusses his lunch with Dr. Bryan Sykes and a little about each of his co-hosts from the History Channel's documentary "Bigfoot: The Definitive Guide"

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dr Jeff Meldrum Participates in Oxford University Genetic Bigfoot Study

Dr. Jeff Meldrum announces parallel DNA Study
CORRECTION: Rhettman A. Mullis, Jr. of Bigfootology.com has helped us keep this story accurate. He has stated "This is Dr. Bryan Sykes' project not Dr. Meldrum's project. Meldrum, like Team Bigfootology, was asked to be a part of Syke's project. Bigfootology was included because this was a joint brain-child of Team Bigfootology member Dr. Anna Nekaris who is a colleague of Dr. Bryan Sykes."

Without much fanfare or hyperbole Dr. Jeff Meldrum mentioned a DNA study to parallel Dr Melba Ketchum's current DNA Study. We had heard this news at the Pacific Northwest Conference on Primal People (Sasquatch)  held Richland, WA earlier this May.

Our initial reporting stated Dr. Jeff Meldrum is working with Bryan Sykes on a parallel Sasquatch DNA research. Bryan Sykes is professor of human genetics at Oxford University. His company, Oxford Ancestors, traces human genetic backgrounds. Sykes's books include the New York Times best-selling The Seven Daughters of Eve.

We think it important to underscore Dr. Jeff Meldrum made no projections of possible results or outcomes of his parallel study. He only mentioned Dr. Bryan Syke's credentials and the fact that they have begun preliminary work on the project.

Rhettman Mullis Jr., President of Bigfootology, clarified to us that they are also participating in this project.

Below is the the comment from Rhettman posted on Steven Streufert's Facebook group:
"There are two different things happening. Dr. Sykes is writing a book on the findings and their invitation for us to be a part of this project is the equivalent of having Dr. Stephen Hawkings ask to help identify a new star, or Einstein asking us to be a part of developing quantum-mechanic theories. We are honored and privileged to be included. So Dr. Sykes will write his book, but they are also filming a documentary that will be three one hour shows about the event. Soon we will be asking for DNA samples from all over the world and Bigfootology will assist in the accumulation of those samples. We are also in the process of reaching out to some known hybrid-offspring of human and Bigfoot joining. Because this work is being done by scientists using scientific method and Bigfootology being the only actual scientific organization, the outcomes will not be questioned or doubted critically, because the scientists involved are at the top of their field. It is a very exciting time and we are awaiting our next marching orders from Sykes through Dr. Nekaris, when that happens we will make a formal announcement and really get things moving. We have been working on this project behind the scenes, quietly, for about 3 months now, so regardless of what other DNA projects find, their work will either be validated or invalidated by Sykes outcomes."
Later this afternoon we will post the video of Dr Jeff Meldrum's presentation at the Pacific Northwest Conference on Primal People (Sasquatch). In his presentation he mentions Bryan Sykes and the Parallel DNA study.

You can read about Dr. Meldrum's lunch with Bryan Sykes and watch a video of Meldrum discussing the lunch.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Melba is a no show, then Literally Phones it in

Cover Photo for Melba's Public Facebook Page
After initially scheduled for the Richland WA Bigfoot conference, Dr Melba Ketchum has ended up being a no-show. As of Yesterday there was still the possibility she was going to Skype in.

As of 20 minutes ago and confirming with event organizer, Thom Cantrell, Dr Ketchum will be phoning it in. She has emailed her Power Point presentation to Thom and unfortunately will do the sideshow remotely over the phone.

Since there will be no pictures and video we will update you with Ketchum's "presentation" as soon as it is completed this afternoon

UPDATE: The presentation is over. She did not cover very much of the Sasquatch DNA project she is working on, but mostly gave a DNA 101 type of presentation.

She started with her credentials, mentioning she is a veterinarian that became allergic to animals and had to find a way to continue animal studies without the up-close interaction. This lead to her path towards DNA.

The PowerPoint presentation was one she had been previously presented to showcase ways to amplify DNA. We will have more presentation details after we wathc the rest of the presentations.  

Friday, April 27, 2012

Melba Ketchum Has a History of Failing to Deliver DNA Results

Dr. Melba Ketchum's DNA Diagnostics Better Business rating is an "F"
Disappointed by the delay in the Bigfoot DNA results? Get in line. A Post by Michael Merchant, of the Team Tazer Bigfoot Fanpage, linked to the Better Business Bureau® rating for Dr. Melba Ketchum's business DNA Diagnostics, Inc. Unfortunately on a scale from A-F, Melba's company gets an F. Why? Failure to deliver DNA Results. In these cases it is horse, cat and dog DNA results.

Under the additional complaint information header on the BBB page was this paragraph.
DNA Diagnostics has developed a pattern of complaints and has failed to correct the underlying reasons for complaints. Consumers claim have paid for services that have not been delivered or have not been delivered within a reasonable time. Further, they have not received a refund when services were not provided.
To be fair, we do not know the percentage of unhappy DNA Diagnostics consumers, we do know there have been 19 complaints submitted to the BBB and 18 are due to "delivery issues". 7 of the complaints were resolved with the aid of BBB, 8 did not get resolved, 3 have not even been responded to by DNA Diagnostics and 1 was determined as a good faith effort to resolve. Click the following link to read the entire details of every BBB DNA Diagnostic Complaint.

Here is a brief of each of the 19 complaints


  1. 04/19/2011 - Extremely poor custstomer service and communication. [Resolved]
  2. 09/01/2010 - Missing Feline DNA results. Pre-Paid. No results   [Resolved]
  3. 08/23/2010 -  I ordered 5 tests from Catgenes (Dna Diagnostics) and none of them were ever completed.   [Resolved]
  4. 08/04/2010 - Service not done. I purchased testing and sent in samples, which were received, and never got results.  [Resolved]
  5. 07/23/2010 -  I ordered DNA tests to be completed in the beginning of March, and have not recieved my results or had any phone calls/emails returned.  [Resolved]
  6. 04/14/2010 - I paid for a service (feline DNA testing) and never received the results.  [Resolved]
  7. 03/12/2010 - Provided a sample to be worked, they have not worked it and will not provide a refund or assistance.  [Resolved]
  8. 12/16/2010 - I submitted hair for a DNA test with Shelterwood Lab. almost a month ago and they have cashed my check but they have not returned calls or emails.  [UNResolved]
  9. 09/03/2010 - I ordered $320 worth of DNA tests in Dec., 2009. Results were promised in 3 weeks. In March, 2010: received incorrect results.  [UNResolved]
  10. 08/20/2010 - I sent samples to be analyzed & included full payment. Have received no results and almost no response to my inquiries over the past 12 months.  [UNResolved]
  11. 08/02/2010 - I submitted a request for an equine paternal test at the end of March 2010. It is now July 1, 2010. I still have not recieved test restults. [UNResolved]
  12. 08/02/2010 - Paid for a service in Feb 2010, and have not received test results.  [UNResolved]
  13. 07/30/2010 - Sent DNA in on two horses last week of March. Still no report on these. Have called numorus times . No responce.  [UNResolved]
  14. 05/17/2010 - I paid for services they did not give me.  [UNResolved]
  15. 05/13/2010 - For 2 1/2 months have been told at least 10 times I would recieve results of DNA test in 1 -3 days.I ask for a refund today and they say no refunds.  [UNResolved]
  16. 11/01/2010 - Sent samples with full payment in April 2010. I have recieved no results to date and have tried repeatedly to contact them for a refund. [Biz did not Respond]
  17. 06/25/2010 - Sent dog DNA in for testing 1/23/10 no results...  [Biz did not Respond]
  18. 07/20/2010 - Delivery Issues  [Biz did not Respond]
  19. 03/31/2010 - They have not provided me the diagnostic service as promised from June of 2009. [BBB Determined Biz made good faith effort]

We are not blind to the irony of the complaints. Most of them categorized as failing to deliver DNA results on time. Bigfooters have been waiting for Melba's DNA test results for a while too.

Again to be fair, some of the complications arose when Cat Fanciers Association.(CFA) stopped using DNA Diagnostics and continued to test with another DNA testing contractor. Why CFA decided to go with a different lab is unknown to us.

To put this in some further context. According to the BBB there are 19 other businesses in the BBB category of  "Laboratories - Medical" serving the Tyler & Longview TX area. None of them has had complaints within the last 36 months.

Another independent source also expressed frustration with Dr. Melba Ketchum. A company called International Genetics has this on their page.
April thru July 2008     Melba Ketchum became very tardy in extracting PinPoint’s DNA samples. This was the first period of delays that caused severe customer service problems. We then came to an agreement with Texas A&M to handle this process as well as the PID testing.
April 2009     The 2nd lawsuit was filed and this was the final straw between Dr. Ketchum and InGen. Due to Dr. Ketchum’s failure to properly research certain tests that are allegedly protected by patent, InGen was drawn into another lawsuit which eventually led to the early termination of the contract between InGen and Texas A&M. InGen severed its relationship with Dr. Ketchum which was the best thing that has come from that suit.
We attempted to reach out to Dr. Melba Ketchum for a response regarding the BBB rating and have not yet heard back from Dr. Ketchum. If she responds we will update this post.

We truly hope for the best, there is a good portion of people who sent samples to Ketchum that have good standing in the community. We would love to have all of our concerns proven to be baseless.

A final thought: when the press release comes out before the evidence, that press release might as well be a red flag.





Saturday, April 7, 2012

Richard Stubstad: Sasquatch Proof Requires 100% Certainty, I'm at 97%

Richard Stubstad continues to use statistical mathematics to understand Bigfoot DNA
In case you missed it, Richard Stubstad is quite an active commentor on this blog. Especially on posts that are about him and his research. You can read our previous coverage of Richard Stubstad.

Recently we have become more familiar with his role and perhaps his opinion on the ongoing Bigfoot DNA research; Melba Ketchum's and his own parallel research.

Richard has taken the opportunity to clarify his support for Dr Melba Ketchum and further explain his statistical approach to the DNA data. Below are his own words:

1) Actually, I worked with Ms. Ketchum for almost a year. I did not make any "genetic" conclusions whatsoever; essentially, I connected the dots (the first four samples) and examined, statistically, the relationships between these using GenBank.
2) No, I do support Ms. Ketchum's work 100%. I hope she gets her paper published sooner rather than later. My point was and still is: at least two parallel studies (regardless of who is first) will be needed due to the highly controversial nature of the subject matter.
3) Really, the only thing I don't like about how she works is her secrecy throughout. I think this secrecy hurts our "industry" as it were. In fact, since she has 20-some fresh samples (relics are not yet included in her work), of course she knows a whole lot more than I do about results.
4) Secrecy to that degree, I maintain, is detrimental to our search for both the existence and nature of sasquatch.
5) I worked with Melba through the first four of her 20-some samples.
6) In the event, Sample 1's mito dna (all 16,569 pairs) came out within modern human ranges.
7) Melba and I, while being somewhat disappointed in this result agreed to test Sample 2 as well (whole mito genome again), and lo and behold Samples 1 and 2 both indicated that their mitochondrial "Eve" lived in the sub-glacial region of Europe some 15,000 or more years ago.
8) The odds of this happening using the modern human population in GenBank were less than 2%. Meaning the odds of us happening to identify a new hominid were some 98% or better. Ms Ketchum didn't notice this connection, but rather she took each sample on its own and surmised they could have been hoaxes or misidentifications.
9) Both Adrian Erickson and I pointed out to her that by connecting the dots between Samples 1 and 2 (mito only), it was definitely worth pursuing further, so Sample 3 was tested for the mito genome (full loop) next.
10) This sample indicated a sub-Saharan mito Eve from perhaps 50,000 years ago more or less; totally at the opposite ends of the human family tree, although still within modern human ranges.
11) THe number of differences between Samples 1 & 2 vs Sample 3 was about 90 pairs (almost the maximum that exist in the modern human database).
12) Still, the statistics changed by virtue of having three mito sequences instead of two, so the odds of a hoax or misidentification changed from less than 2% to 3 or 4%.
13) Erickson then funded a nuclear DNA study, which began in earnest. The first gene tested was MC1R, and the results were equally or even more astounding. Samples 1, 2 and 4 all showed the MC1R sequences to be outside of human ranges (in the database), with two of three (2 and 4) as 100% identical.
14) Sample 1 was also not within modern human ranges, but it differed from 2 and 4 by two pairs (out of 950 or so).
15) Bottom line: I am 97% certain that SASQUATCH EXISTS. I am not at all certain what its genesis is, but IT EXISTS. I am not positive of this conclusion, only 97% certain. This is evidence but not proof. Proof requires 100% certainty.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mysterious Hominids Genome Decoded

Svante Pääbo is a Swedish biologist specializing in evolutionary genetics
recently has succesfully decoded the Denisovans Genome 
 "German scientists found finger bones from a new species of human ancestor known as Denisova hominin that co-existed with both humans and Neanderthals only 30,000 years ago." -- Jeff Meldrum in a previous post

The Denisova hominin finger used to decode the DNA was discovered near the the Kemerovo Cave. As you remember the Kemerovo cave was part of the Russian Yeti Conference that some (BLC included) considered a publicity stunt for the upcoming ski season. Click the link to catch up on the Kemerovo Yeti Conference.

Another way this impacts Bigfootdom is the Denisovan DNA information has been compared in Ketchum's Study as well. You can read the comparison on our post Bigfoot family Tree Below is an article posted today on redorbit.com
Entire Genome Of Extinct Human Decoded
Researchers have decoded the entire genome of a fossil from an extinct species of human related to Neanderthals.
The team from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology sequenced every position in the Denisovan genome about 30 times over.
They used DNA extracted from less than 10 milligrams of the finger bone discovered in Denisova Cave in southern Siberia.
Svante Pääbo and his colleagues presented a draft version of the genome in 2010 that showed this individual came from a previously unknown group of extinct humans.
Denisovans, along with their sister group the Neanderthals, are the closest extinct relatives of modern humans.
During the 2010 research, each position of the genome was determined only twice on average.  This level of resolution was only sufficient enough to establish the relationship between Denisovans to Neanderthals and modern humans.
However, they were unable to study the evolution of specific parts of the genome due to the low resolution.
Now, the team is even able to distinguish the small differences between the copies of genes it received from its mother and father.
“The genome is of very high quality”, Matthias Meyer, who developed the techniques that made this technical feat possible, said in a press release. “We cover all non-repetitive DNA sequences in the Denisovan genome so many times that it has fewer errors than most genomes from present-day humans that have been determined to date”.
This is the first complete genome sequence of an archaic human group, which could lead scientists to a better understanding of the evolutionary steps from this group to modern humans.
“We hope that biologists will be able to use this genome to discover genetic changes that were important for the development of modern human culture and technology, and enabled modern humans to leave Africa and rapidly spread around the world, starting around 100,000 years ago” Pääbo said in a press release.
The group said they plan to present a paper describing the findings later on this year.
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