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hiflier

Sasquatch vs. Environmental DNA

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hiflier

C'mon folks, you knew this was coming, and that there was a 110% chance that it was going to come from me :) It's time to get into this subject in a deeper way and see that it really IS the answer to the BF conundrum. First question: Is anyone worried that the creature will NOT be found using such a method? More importantly, is the method foolproof? I say "YES", it's foolproof, because every animal, fish, and bird has definite markers that distinguish species. And, of course, Humans have them too and I'm not talking about markers that distinguish one Human from another. I'm simply talking about markers that distinguish us from aardvarks to zebras. E-DNA is being used everywhere. Ponds, streams, lakes, valleys, caves, woods, on snow covered areas and just about anywhere else in every kind of terrain.

 

So. What about that Bigfoot? Is it time to get serious and get science to cough up what they have or have not discovered? We know Humans are just about everywhere now and visit a lot of places they don't actually live in. Take hikers on the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, Long, and a myriad of other trails in and among state and national forests. Take hunters, take anyone who works or visits the wilds all over the US and Canada. It means HUMAN DNA will be everywhere. So is there room in all of that DNA from all living organisms for a Sasquatch....or two? https://wildlife.org/not-just-for-fisheries-biologists-anymore/

 

The floor is open....

Edited by hiflier

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Huntster
3 hours ago, hiflier said:

.........Is anyone worried that the creature will NOT be found using such a method?........

 

I'm not worried about anything sasquatchery, even that one might attack me in my tent at night. Nor do I believe for a second that a sasquatch will be found or scientifically discovered with dna evidence. Yet again, I go back to 1847-1855 and point out the Thomas Savage/Paul DuChaillu/gorilla history as proof that the scientific world will not allow anything less than a specimen on a slab to force them to accept the existence of these creatures.

 

.........More importantly, is the method foolproof?.........

 

If I was sitting on a jury listening to a lawyer tell me how perfect dna evidence was, my mind would be mulling about lying lawyers. 

 

As an engineer type, I say again; nothing is foolproof. Nothing. A fool can f**k anything up.

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hiflier

Apparently there are now two mystery hominids in our DNA. People say that a possible Sasquatch genome gets tossed as junk DNA because, for the most part, e-DNA can only be matched through metabarcoding against KNOWN genomes. But since we are finding odd hominid DNA is the data being recorded and used in North America as a just-in-case? The PacNW is being heavily tested in both aquatic as well as terrain environments. A lot of this testing is being done with kits that are pre-targeted to know species but I think a more broad type of testing will be available in the near future. Bottom line on this is IF Bigfoot is out there then at some point it will show up. The question is what will it show up as? Historically the answer would be Human. And that's where the conundrum lies. There must be some other marker for such a beast that would distinguish it from being Human.

 

Would there be a e-DNA method that might be preferred that could better make that distinguishing characteristic more prominent? Since a lot of testing seems to be pre-targeted then does it rule out getting Human DNA in every corner of say, the Olympic National Forest? The answers to a lot of my questions probably can only be addressed by professionals which leads to who and where those professionals are. And would this be the test place to look into things? https://www.fs.usda.gov/pnw/ 

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MIB
3 hours ago, hiflier said:

First question: Is anyone worried that the creature will NOT be found using such a method? More importantly, is the method foolproof?

 

"Worried" would be an inaccurate term.    However, e-DNA will not provide proof of bigfoot.   It has nothing to do with the e-DNA gathering and everything to do with how DNA from any source is matched ... no matter how it is gathered.    We will not be able to prove bigfoot DNA with e-DNA testing until after we have a type specimen with DNA in GenBank.    It won't provide that type specimen DNA.  

 

You've got your cart ahead of your horse.    First, we have to get that type sample for DNA.   That will come from either a body or remains, or it will come from a hair or blood sample someone is willing to pay to do a full genome workup on regardless of the appearance of contamination.   Only with that in hand will we be able to compare it to human and find differences that we can use for future comparison.    THEN we can tell whether bigfoot was in an area via e-DNA.   Not before.

 

MIB

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hiflier

But history says we don't need a full genome. In fact there are no full genomes in the Genbank. At least not where entire data extracts have been available for matching. Species loci are about as good as it gets but it sure seems good enough for scientific study of living organisms. I think the only DNA that has been fully sequenced is a type of fungus and the fruit fly. Beyond that there are huge gaps. My point is that we only need specific markers to determine species whether it be Human, hominid, or a dormouse. The real issue is that a Sasquatch's phenotypes are so close to a Human's phenotypes that loci may appear identical and even in the same sequence as Humans.

 

This is why I started that thread a while back about what markers a scientist would look for that would match a Sasquatch's different phenotypes (physical characteristics). I know we have all been around and around with this but The difference between us and Denisovans is obviously significant enough as is Neanderthal. So Sasquatch should be as well. So it begs the question of whether or not any Human DNA found in the wild has something about it outside our genome. Apparently the answer so far has been "no", there have not been any DNA found that is different than ours. Is that a fairly correct conclusion? 

Edited by hiflier

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Huntster
10 minutes ago, hiflier said:

Apparently there are now two mystery hominids in our DNA..........

 

That has also been what I have read, but it was written differently; there are at least two mystery markers within "human" dna, which leaves the door open for more. Moreover, I don't know if that includes the mystery marker Dr. Sykes found in Zana's descendents. 

 

.........People say that a possible Sasquatch genome gets tossed as junk DNA because, for the most part, e-DNA can only be matched through metabarcoding against KNOWN genomes. But since we are finding odd hominid DNA is the data being recorded and used in North America as a just-in-case?..........

 

My bet is no. Moreover, if any dna results here show the mystery markers that came up in Zana's descendents.........at all........., we have a dinger. Set, match, game.

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hiflier
1 minute ago, Huntster said:

Moreover, if any dna results here show the mystery markers that came up in Zana's descendents.........at all........., we have a dinger. Set, match, game.

 

Ok, maybe now we're getting somewhere with this. Because there ARE DNA sequences that are hominid, like Zana, but not Human? As in Homo Sapiens sapiens. So the thrust of this discussion as far as I'm concerned is this: When DNA from the field comes in there has to be an effort to filter out Human contamination. When this occurs does it also toss out a Zana? Because I really don't think that Human DNA in samples (assumed contamination) from the wild in North America is generally run against these other hominid lines. I just don't think it's normally done. But I could be wrong about that.

 

Is anyone following me on this?

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Huntster
1 hour ago, hiflier said:


Ok, maybe now we're getting somewhere with this. Because there ARE DNA sequences that are hominid, like Zana, but not Human? As in Homo Sapiens sapiens..........

 

Sykes described Zana as "fully human" (those were the words, not "homo sapien"), and African, but not of any known thus far (don't ask me, then, how he knew it was of African descent), so that means that Zana has mystery markers. If those markers show up in the New World, that would prove transcontinental migration.

 

...........So the thrust of this discussion as far as I'm concerned is this: When DNA from the field comes in there has to be an effort to filter out Human contamination. When this occurs does it also toss out a Zana? Because I really don't think that Human DNA in samples (assumed contamination) from the wild in North America is generally run against these other hominid lines. I just don't think it's normally done. But I could be wrong about that.



 

Is anyone following me on this?

 

When dna comes in from the field, and it is alleged to be contaminated, the chain of custody and dna contamination should be able to be matched. If not, the allegation of contamination is unconfirmed, or can even be alleged to be false itself. The human dna should be sequenced, identified, and catalogued for, at the very least, future comparison.

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hiflier
10 hours ago, Huntster said:

Sykes described Zana as "fully human" (those were the words, not "homo sapien"), and African, but not of any known thus far (don't ask me, then, how he knew it was of African descent), so that means that Zana has mystery markers. If those markers show up in the New World, that would prove transcontinental migration

 

Sykes's study showed that Zana's descendants showed genes of a haplotype indicating their ancestors came from West Africa. The issue was that there were no modern groups with that haplotype in West Africa.

 

10 hours ago, Huntster said:

When dna comes in from the field, and it is alleged to be contaminated, the chain of custody and dna contamination should be able to be matched. If not, the allegation of contamination is unconfirmed, or can even be alleged to be false itself. The human dna should be sequenced, identified, and catalogued for, at the very least, future comparison.

 

This is a filter for field samples that is normally done with ALL DNA samples. For instance, if a DNA sample shows contamination from a red-headed female but the only one who handled the sample was a red-headed male then it should raise a flag. I just don't think that samples typically get tested to that level. Human is Human and that's enough to show that filtering does the job. So I think filtering out obvious Human markers just become a general across the board methodology without too much in the way of specific Human individuals? And again I could be wrong about that.

 

It would be easier if we knew what markers are used for Human species determination over say, deer, or canids. Because I don't think anyone looks for more than the obvious markers when it comes to even e-DNA samples. It's why sitting down across from a professional and asking these kinds of questions may be the only way to deal with the situation. We somehow need to invite someone familiar with the technology to come here and field questions for us.  

Edited by hiflier

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Patterson-Gimlin

I am very interested in EDNA. 

It quite possibly has ended the lochness mystery. 

Perhaps, it will do the same for large man apes that supposedly roam the dark forests. 

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hiflier

That depends on who we can get, or talk to about, doing just that. But here's the thing about that, if there are any kind of general restrictions in place on what gets researched as far as cryptids go vs. what the public gets informed of then would not the same thing apply to any positive-for-novel-primate e-DNA? I mean, if the public isn't allowed to know about existence then wouldn't any e-DNA results also be manipulated?

 

I really hate to throw a rug over this technology when it comes to this creature but DNA has run into trouble before so why should this approach be any different? Who would one trust?  

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MIB

Who to trust is a big problem.    If there is a conspiracy to suppress evidence, every lab capable of doing the DNA testing has to already be compromised.   About the only thing I can think of to do is send parts of the same larger sample to multiple labs, without telling them others are testing and especially without telling them who those others are, and then see if the results come back the same or not.    If it were me, I would deliberately include labs I thought were compromised and hope to use the others' results to verify or falsify my assumption about the questionable labs.   Costs a lot of money to do that though.   Might be able to pull it off, might not, but I would not even try, and certainly would not ask others for a loan, unless I was __absolutely__ sure of the DNA source.  

 

My sense is, as I tried to say before, that bigfoot is so close to human that without a bigfoot type sample we are sure of, there's no way a test .. e-DNA or other .. meant for species identification is going to return any result but human .. possibly degraded, but human.   Those tests for neanderthal or denisovan ... they are done on samples that they strongly suspect are not precisely H. sapiens sapiens.  It's not the same test done to see if a bone found in the environment is human vs raccoon vs some known protected species.

 

One thing they can look at is the number of chromosomes pairs in the gene.    If bigfoot is closer to African apes they may well have 24 or more.   If they are closer to us, they may share 23 with us.    So one interesting test would be for apparent primate DNA in north america with 24 or more chromosome pairs, but it only works if bigfoot is farther from us than I think they are.

 

FWIW, I think Sykes was mis-quoted above.   Zana's DNA is clearly human but it lacks some of the mutations found in modern African populations.  This means her ancestors left Africa before those mutations occurred.    The rate of mutation is fairly steady, a sort of clock.   That seems to put her ancestors' exit from Africa quite a bit before the current out-of-Africa theory suggests anyone left.   We're seeing that that assumption is coming into ever greater question.   Zana is just one more hole in the armor.  

 

MIB

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hiflier

Nice post, MIB. You took the time to cover a lot of bases and I really appreciate that. Of course the big IF on the conspiracy opens up the door to at least a couple of comments. One is regarding cover up. The main point of that being the possibility of there already being a Sasquatch genome present that has not been registered in the Genbank. This data would be kept back only to use as a comparative sequence when specimens or samples get presented either privately or publicly. Publicly of course will only result in claims of contamination. Privately it could be an entirely other matter where the creatures are concerned regarding tracking and management.

 

The article I posted in the OP has references in it to controlled burns such as in Utah for the sake of learning the dynamics of a wildfire. I don't even want to open that subject up because as you know I have already put forth the idea of controlled burns to get Sasquatches to relocate. Any comments should probably find their way to that thread?

 

In the meantime having a PhD or head of a reputable F&W lab (same thing?) to bounce questions off of could be very enlightening. Especially if they also happened to be well-informed on where this Bigfoot subject has gone and where it is now as far as DNA goes. Maybe someone who actually dealt with Dr. Sykes at the Ashland, Oregon F&W Forensics Lab? Anyway, thank you for your input on this :) I can only keep trying because there must be an easier way to approach this subject where the hard answers could be had to the hard questions.  

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ShadowBorn
28 minutes ago, hiflier said:

The main point of that being the possibility of there already being a Sasquatch genome present that has not been registered in the Genbank. This data would be kept back only to use as a comparative sequence when specimens or samples get presented either privately or publicly. Publicly of course will only result in claims of contamination. Privately it could be an entirely other matter where the creatures are concerned regarding tracking and management.

I am going with this idea  Hiflier.  They already have the Dna for what it is needed and are keeping it in a special file only to use it when on a need to know basis. So that they can properly track it and manage this creature since there are so few of them. Chances are they are on a verge of distinction and are keeping them from wiping themselves out.  Relocation to farther northern regions that are less populated is what is best for them to survive.

 

Edna observation is what is going on and being match with what we do not have a need to know is what is going on behind the scenes. But I am just throwing out ideas and it seems like you seem to be in the same place. 

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hiflier

Historically, ShadowBorn, I have tried to keep my dialogue, arguments, and questions along lines that are logical and as scientifically based as I know how. I fail much in that endeavor but science and it's new technologies need to be a large part of where we should focus our thoughts. One reason is if science or a scientist get wind of this kind of approach then they may want to see how things would fit with what they do as scientists.

 

I had read that 30-40% of new young scientists are at least open to the possibility of there being a Sasquatch. Of course they may follow up with their own private questions of why the state of the Bigfoot subject remains stagnant and undecided. This is the point that I hope they reach because it will only be then that they may decide to bring technology, i.e. e-DNA, onto the scene. I can's do it and few if any of us would know how although actually getting samples for testing is pretty easy. But one can't just take a thousand samples from all over the PacNW and expect testing to be done for free or have any funding through academia available.

 

That's why general testing for mammals, which is now being done all the time- even on footprints is snow, is the best chance for getting samples. In fact, the next time there is a suspected Sasquatch trackway in snow like the one that that guy found in where? North Dakota? 7 miles long? Then someone should go out there and test it. Or getting good clean samples. Document everything. Same for tracks in mud. Take clean scrapings from inside the print. Citizen science is a real thing and waiting around for hair or scat is no longer necessary. The technology is there and is just itching for a new discovery.

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