hiflier

It's Time to confront zoologists and anthropologists WRT our Hairy Friend

126 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, dmaker said:

Nope. It does make one wonder why nothing from bigfoot.

 

You surely aren't assuming that someone would immediately recognize BF scat or hair, properly package it, and send it in for testing are you?

If BF exists, the scat and hair are out there.  It will take the right person under the right conditions to be able to do anything with it.  Wolves, mountain lions, bears and bobcats have been spotted by my house, yet I haven't found any hair or scat.  Should I assume they are not present?

 

P-

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No. My point was that it is rather ironic to explain the complete failure of bigfoot DNA testing by pointing out how often animals in the woods deposit DNA. 

 

If that irony escapes you, then I don't really have anything to add.

 

 

 

Edited by dmaker
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Related to BF scat being deposited,  here is an extract from a paper on DNA testing of grizzly scat to determine differences with black bear scat.    As you can see sample degradation is a major problem.   Previous methods required the samples be very fresh,  kept frozen until testing and had a problem with fluorescent methods.     This paper also mentions past methods not being cost effective.     I suspect that a lot of samples taken in the field have not been found before significant degradation,  been carried around too long before being frozen,  and have been ended up too degraded.    Those factors are probably relevant to previously tested samples of suspected BF scat.    While bear scat is there,  it is also relatively rare, if you need to find it fresh.     BF scat would be even more rare.    Unless someone wants to encourage a poop throwing fight with BF,  I don't have a lot of hope that scat is the answer.    

 

Clark, Fangman and Wasser    

"       Species Identification from Scat

The use of scat, despite its ease of collection, has been limited in conservation applications primarily due to sample degradation and/or the presence of PCR inhibitors. These PCR inhibitors can be particularly problematic for fluorescent methods used in species identification, genotyping or sequencing, that have been successfully applied to DNA from hair (Woods et al. 1999, Mowat and Strobeck 2000, Clarke et al. 2001), tissue, or blood. Although new methods for the extraction and amplification of DNA from scat have been developed (Flagstad et al. 1999, Kohn et al. 1999, Clarke and Wasser, unpublished data), they may not be cost effective for all researchers. Recent studies using mtDNA PCR-RFLPS for canid identification from scat (Foran et al. 1997, Paxinos et al. 1997, Kohn et al. 1999) demonstrated the feasibility of using such an approach. We developed a bear species identification test using mtDNA PCR-RFLPs that could be used with DNA from scat. This method is fast, cost-effective, and does not rely on the use of fluorescent detection systems. The broad utility of PCR-RFLPs has been demonstrated for forensic or conservation purposes in a number of species (Taberlet et al. 1995, Foran et al. 1997, Paxinos et al. 1997, Wooding and Ward 1997, Pilgrim et al. 1998, Kohn et al. 1999, Steve Fain, USFWS, Ashland, Ore., USA, personal communications, 1995-2000)."

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4 minutes ago, SWWASAS said:

here is an extract from a paper on DNA testing of grizzly scat to determine differences with black bear scat.

Does the paper describe difficulty differentiating entirely different species? As in, it is difficult to tell raccoon DNA from bear DNA when using scat? It seems more focused on sub species, as in canids from other canids, etc. 

 

I don't think they are saying " Dunno, could be raccoon, could be bear, could be fox, could be unknown hominid. Who knows?"

 

 

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My point was that scat DNA degrades rapidly as stated in the paper.   That is the problem and will be with determination of species differences with scat.   I forgot how you like to argue and I am done.   

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1 hour ago, dmaker said:

No. My point was that it is rather ironic to explain the complete failure of bigfoot DNA testing by pointing out how often animals in the woods deposit DNA. 

 

If that irony escapes you, then I don't really have anything to add.

 

 

 

Well, I guess we inferred differently from the previous posts.  I didn't see the 'complete failure of DNA testing' being explained by animals crapping in the woods.

 

I was just curious about how many people out in the woods carry fecal DNA prep kits with them if they come across a pile they don't recognize and think to themselves "this is BF scat!  I'm going to pay for testing".

 

If one doesn't care to go through the process we could have a dump truck load of BF scat in the woods and it would simply serve as fertilizer.

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Cotter said:

Well, I guess we inferred differently from the previous posts.  I didn't see the 'complete failure of DNA testing' being explained by animals crapping in the woods.

 

I was just curious about how many people out in the woods carry fecal DNA prep kits with them if they come across a pile they don't recognize and think to themselves "this is BF scat!  I'm going to pay for testing".

 

If one doesn't care to go through the process we could have a dump truck load of BF scat in the woods and it would simply serve as fertilizer.

 

 

Precisely.    After I had what I think was a BF poop right in the middle of a trail I had to come back out on,  I looked into the testing protocol.    Most of the time, given the time I would have to get a sample out of a remote field location and frozen,  it would be very unlikely to have viable DNA.    The problem does not end there.    I cannot exactly go into my neighborhood DNA testing lab to deliver the frozen sample either.    The cost factor V/S chance of success is prohibitive.  

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You would also have to have access to a DNA lab that will sequence a sample all the way out and give you the results no matter what they are. I may be wrong but it seems to me the way the labs work now is that time is money and when you bring a sample in wanting to match it to an "animal' in the woods and the sample starts showing markers that are close to human it is going to get stamped with a label "contaminated by persons in the physical custody chain".   

 

Hiflier,  I think I understand the psychology behind what you are trying to do. You seem to be trying to present a specialized scientist with a very intriguing piece of puzzle that is, what you hope to be, right down their ally of expertise and hoping it will plant a seed of deep interest in trying to solve it. When they cannot solve it using the currently known animals we know of in the woods maybe they will be more open minded in what else there could be out there to explain the puzzle. You will have to eventually have to deal with them saying that people are also in the woods. You were there so that means there is the possibility that other people could have been there. Some may see that the probability that others were there is very slim, but there will be many that will not go past that because they just do not want to go there.

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33 minutes ago, David NC said:

I think I understand the psychology behind what you are trying to do. You seem to be trying to present a specialized scientist with a very intriguing piece of puzzle that is, what you hope to be, right down their ally of expertise and hoping it will plant a seed of deep interest in trying to solve it.

 

And that is it. Nothing more. If something is outside the Human norm they will see it based on their own evaluations. And I will say nothing that could bias their thinking. It cannot be, and must not be, any other way.

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My bet is I have the (academic) scientists available, all I need is the right evidence to match their specific expertise / interest.    The frustrating thing is I think I had it but didn't recognize it for what it was until after I'd deleted it.  :(    All there is to do is keep trying for another chance.

 

MIB

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Suppose you intrigue one scientist. Oh heck let's take an extremely optimistic end of the hypothetical: suppose you actually convince a handful of scientists. What then? What are they supposed to do?

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Great question, iozya. That would depend on how strong they think the evidence is? And even then, doing anything may be overshadowed by a viewpoint that raising their hands would have a detrimental effect on any personal aspirations. One would think that before ANY hand raising though a good scientist, or group of scientists, would make darned sure that BEFORE their peers were given access to any evaluations that there would be no loose ends to undermine a presentation. And with something like a cryptid it would have to be either so iron clad, or at least so logically convincing, that other scientists would be more inclined to agree with the evaluation. I could see where a lot of private dialogue and behind closed door discussions would probably take place.

 

Not easy to even get the initial ear of a scientist, never mind a whole group.

 

  

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Snowball.  You'll never get the 2nd scientist on board before you get the 1st.   Even with a body on a slab.    Until something moves, nothing moves.   Gotta start somewhere ... or just accept that you've been defeated and go chase unicorns or pixies instead.    Make up your mind.

 

MIB

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Maybe if more scientists actually observed something it would get the ball rolling quicker. Like BFRO report 42978 from a biology degree holding person with a camera in their hands . I believe he was so shocked by what he was looking at he didn't remember he had a camera and probably didn't have time to take a pic in the seconds that it was seen before disappearing. If you could get together a group of people like this you may have a better chance of getting the rest of science to take a look.

 

OBSERVED: First, I’ll start with the fact that I have never put much stock into the Bigfoot phenomenon. I have degrees in wildlife management and wildlife biology and I have been working as a biologist for the last 17 years. I have never believed that something could exist that has never left any concrete evidence. Furthermore, nothing similar has ever been found in the fossil record that I know of so that has lead me to believe it was all false, until this weekend (Nov 24, 2013).

I am an avid birdwatcher and wildlife photographer. I take very long hikes in various wild areas around Tampa this time of year to photograph whatever I find. I was hiking at Cypress Creek Preserve which is in between interstate 275 and 75 near the apex where they meet. I was walking on one of the rather wide trails and I came to a stop because I heard a noise. I had seen quite a few wild pigs that morning and I thought I could photograph one crossing the trail in front of me. I was looking down at my camera adjusting the ISO settings and I saw something large move out of the corner of my eye (to my left) approximately 200 feet away. As soon as I saw the movement I looked directly at it and it was already halfway across the trail at this point. My eyes were directly on the animal as it walked, upright, across the rest of the trail and into the palmettos. It was very large (at least 6 feet tall or more) completely black in color with a VERY wide chest from front to back. It was walking completely upright with a very fast, purposeful pace. The animal was leaning forward slightly but did not seem awkward with its steps - like a bear would be while walking upright.

I slowly walked over to the spot where I saw it cross and I could still hear it moving through the woods in the distance. I immediately noticed that all the birds around me had stopped chirping and the insects had stopped making noise as well. I looked for tracks or hair left on the plants in the area but found nothing. I was able to get a picture of the palmetto on the trail where it crossed and I put my tripod near it for a height comparison.

I am extremely knowledgeable about the wildlife in Florida but I cannot explain what type of animal I saw this past weekend

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I wanted to link to a particular timestamp in this, but honestly the whole thing is all too relevant to the current conversation:

 

 

 

The spot I originally wanted to look for is where he's joking about lurking outside of conferences with footprint casts hidden in a trenchcoat trying to pull people aside (actually in Part 2), but the opening dialogue is a big part of what I wanted to bring up as well: reputation. Because you're both right in that we should hope the serious interest and efforts of a few scientists should snowball into more interest and effort, but WE ALREADY HAVE A FEW. They have PhDs in relevant fields, they've done exhaustive work on real evidence. There's a big catch-22 here: we need scientists with reputations to bring this evidence and conversation to the larger stage, yet practically no one is willing to risk their reputation, no matter how big or small. That's why Bryan Sykes' project was exciting; he has the established reputation to make the claim. Meldrum's career was carefully planned to give him expertise on the most plentiful type of evidence available, he became tenured so that he could study the subject without his reputation affecting his livelihood, but I don't know of a single colleague expressing interest in his work.

 

I've never talked about this subject with any colleague or classmate that wasn't also a close personal friend. People who know the level of my thoughts and have an established respect for me - those people, I talk their ears off about it. That's our snowball. Eventually, it reaches another Meldrum who wants to be smart about devoting a career to it, or maybe a Sykes gets lucky with a really solid lab result and decides to take the plunge of a lifetime, and things really get moving. I just don't see how it comes from an average anthropologist or zoologist suddenly taking an interest.

Edited by ioyza
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