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My take on the DNA analysis - The Ketchum Report

The years in the making story concerning the collection and analysis of DNA from an unknown species of primate living in North America was dubbed the Erickson Project by someone in the cryptozoology community when word of it first popped up on the scene. The name is a misnomer. It was called that because a man by the name of Adrian Erickson started purchasing land that was said to be habituation sites for these animals and financed a study. While Erickson is an integral cog in the wheel, it turns out that he is just one of a number of researchers who have submitted DNA to Dr. Melba Ketchum, a veterinarian who owns her own DNA testing facility. She is the real owner of the findings in this case given that her name is attached to the actual paper that has reportedly been written and submitted for peer review. That’s why I’m suggesting we start referring to this as the Ketchum Report and not the Erickson Project.

I explain why I think the distinction is important in the post.

Edited by rwridley

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BobbyO
SSR Team

But you quite rightly explain that the KR & EP are 2 different things, clearly..

It's Mr SF who mainly references everything to the EP, not all of us.. ;)

I brought it up a while back actually with regards to the OP & the alleged Shootings, as people were still referring to certain things within it as the EP, which as far as i'm aware would have absolutely zero to do with the Sierra stuff except for their Samples are being tested by the same Doctor, who will ultimately/hopefully soon enough release the KR.. :)

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georgerm
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My take on the DNA analysis - The Ketchum Report

I explain why I think the distinction is important in the post.

She, so to speak, is running the ball over the goal line. Melba is doing lots of work to prepare this paper, so she gets the credit. This sounds fair unless Erickson is paying for DNA tests and her work on the paper.

http://rwridley.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/the-ketchum-report/

ONLY after the review team is satisfied is the paper accepted for publication. Publication in a peer-reviewed journal is the scientific community’s “stamp of approval†that the work is valid.

The journal must then figure out when to publish the paper. Some journals work weeks/months in advance, adding further delay. Some work faster, meaning that the paper might run within a few weeks. At some point, the researcher is notified that they have a “pub date.†In my experience, you often only know about three weeks out when your paper will publish.

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KETCHUM BIGFOOT DNA STUDY 2011 - TIMELINE OF BIGFOOT DNA EVENTS

Last updated: 7/19/11

(Welcome to the newly designed OregonBigfoot.com. The members' archives are in the midst of redesign and the rest of the public site will soon follow. )

For those of you who haven't heard the news, there is a comprehensive Bigfoot DNA study being conducted by Melba Ketchum, et al., and word has it that the results, after what has been a long wait, will officially be made public fairly soon.

I have been following this closely and will attempt to give you a rundown here of the timeline of events thus far. If you'd like to receive notification of updates to this page via the Oregon Bigfoot blog, please sign up for blog updates via email.

Here's a compilation of the events so far (and a rundown of early Bigfoot DNA events to hit the news to give you a greater context). I've attempted to be as complete and accurate as possible. If there's anything you feel I've missed, or is in error, please feel free to let me know via the email link at the bottom of this post.

November, 1995:

Researchers at Ohio State University attempt DNA extractions on two tufts of presumed Bigfoot hair recovered from Washington state in August 1995 after a sighting. Dr. Henner Fahrenbach had determined via microscopic analysis that the hairs came from two individuals of the same species.

March, 1998:

Dr. Henner Fahrenbach, and reserchers Poe and Fuerst are unable to extract mitochondrial DNA from the Blue Mountain, WA samples and decide not to submit their manuscript for intended publication in the Journal of Cryptozoology "until more DNA from tissue, preferably with attached hair, is obtained".

April, 2001:

A British expedition team is led to a hollow cedar tree in the Kingdom of Bhutan, in the eastern Himalayas by Sonam Dhendup, the King of Bhutan's official yeti hunter. A long black hair was found and DNA analysis was conducted by Bryan Sykes, professor of human genetics at the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Oxford. “We found some DNA in it, but we don’t know what it is... It’s not a human, not a bear or anything else we have so far been able to identify. It’s a mystery and I never thought this would end in a mystery. We have never encountered DNA that we couldn’t recognize before.†Sykes was the first scientist to extract DNA from archaeological bone specimens.

Analysis completed after the media release, however, clearly showed that the samples were from the Brown Bear and the Asiatic Black Bear.

2009:

Josh Gates and the Destination Truth team return to Bhutan to look for the Yeti after having found tracks on the season premiere of season two. The team recovers a hair sample and it is brought to Dr. Melba Ketchum of DNA Diagnostics.

Dr. Ketchum states, "This sample did test very clearly on the human panel of markers. That makes it a primate, and it makes it a large primate." When Gates asks her if contamination could be an issue, she replies, "The hair, visually, is not human. It's courser than horse tail hair... Initial searches indicate that it's an unknown sequence. There are literally millions of sequences in this database. And we're really shocked that it didn't match any of the species exactly in the database... If we're going to prove that there potentially is a new species, with this first hair sample, we really need more hair samples like it. And once you establish there is a group of animals, that will go a long ways towards proving that there is a new species indeed."

August, 2010:

Dr. Melba Ketchum appears on Coast to Coast A.M. with Dave Paulides. During the last hour of the program, Dr. Ketchum reported on ongoing DNA testing of possible Bigfoot hair samples, some of which have a combination of human and animal attributes, and are considered anomalous or unknown. She and her team are in the process of preparing a peer reviewed paper that will reveal their complete findings.

October, 2010:

Dave Paulides and Melba Ketchum appear on Bigfoot Busters on Blogtalk Radio. (You can listen to the full episode here. What follows is a partial transcript of the most pertinent portions of that interview.)

In that program, Dr. Ketchum describes how she got involved in Bigfoot DNA testing.

"I have a curious mind and I'm a renegade, and I'm not a PhD, that's probably most of it. I'm old enough that I predate the latest trends in molecular biology. I had to learn it that hard way - from scratch. We started getting samples back about '95, starting with some unknown feces samples. We had some from Texas Parks and Wildlife and we had some from that people would send in and want to know what animal left this DNA here, so we sort of routinely did species ID.

"About '95, we started getting the occasional person calling, 'Oh, we believe we've got Bigfoot," [and I said], 'Oh, ok, whatever...If you want it tested, we'll test it.' And for years, we got nothing but horses, or raccoons, or any number of different, you know, creatures. I didn't take it seriously, but I would test it nevertheless. I try to be open-minded and not close-minded and I think that's the veterinarian in me, because we're kind of a different breed. [laughs]

"So, two years ago in the spring, we had a couple of samples submitted, and actually Dave [Paulides] was one of the submitters, that sent some hair to us, and Destination Truth, it was a show... I was so tired of dealing with these things - I [knew] that they would be close enough to ape or human that they would run on human markers if they were something worth looking and so I got to the point that I would screen these things on human markers, and if they tested out, fine, and if they didn't I would just pass it on and say, 'Nope. Not what you're looking for.'

"Well, we had two samples... those two samples actually turned into something a little bit different? And I was foolish; I wasted a lot of the DNA because I wasn't believing I was going to get anything. We did get some interesting results and they were just... it was different results for different types of testing, though, so we couldn't combine the two and go anywhere with it. And, like I say, we didn't have enough DNA to continue on with it. As a result, we just had to let it go... but it led me to believe that there might be something worth looking for.

"Shortly after Destination Truth aired, we started [laughs] receiving a huge number of samples from all over the country. In fact, all over North America. So... we're knee-deep now in this huge undertaking. [laughs]"

Melba is the asked about the Destination Truth sample, how it didn't match any known primate or anything in the large database she checked.

"Not exactly. That's not exactly what I said. Things got... kind of 'spliced'. [laughs] Basically, we did get some differences that didn't blast in Genbank. They were very subtle differences but there were a couple of bases difference that what would normally blast in Genbank. But, once again, it was only [primary run?] and there was only one sample in that and there wasn't much else I could do with it because we used up the DNA. Most of that hair did not have root material on it. It's very hard to get... one peculiar thing that we've found about what we believe to be Sasquatch hair is that it does not want to give up its mitochondrial DNA very easily in the hair shaft like other creatures. Even human is easier to get the DNA out. And there's been a raging debate amongst me and my team as to whether it's actually inhibitors that's causing it or whether somehow the DNA just doesn't make it into the hair shaft like it does in other species. So we have to have good rooted hairs. We have to have hairs that have been basically pulled out by the roots in order to get good DNA for our purposes."

Dr. Melba Ketchum is asked how many "unknown" samples she has that have been collected in the last year, and whether "unknowns" means that she has tested them and they've come back as a large, unknown primate.

"Quite a few... we can't discuss results, because I'm going through peer-review with our paper before we let anything out. Let me be clear about that. Because we're doing this as forensic cases, we're documenting, we're taking every conceivable care in making sure that everythign that we do is by the book scientifically, so it would be good enough to stand up in court. And part of this would be a peer-reviewed article which is now being written, anctually, and whenever we get the peer-review back is when this thing will come into the open."

Dr. Ketchum is asked whether the unknown from Destination Truth and America are similar.

"Well, there's subtle difference from where they come on the body, they're different lengths, obviously. They basically look very much alike. The Destination Truth [hair] samples were interesting in that there were some fibers in there as well as hair, so what everybody saw in there was not just hair. It was a combination of things... I think that they run generally very similar, even across continents, from what I've seen. But that's not to say that one that lives in a more frigid climate isn't going to have a longer hair coat. And also where the hair comes from on the body is going to affect he length. You have short hairs and you have long hairs on your body. Think about it. And the same with any other type of animal. I horse has a long mane, a long tail, and short body hair."

She is asked if the DNA will look the same, regionally.

"Well, yes... in a general sense, it's going to be the same amidst the species. However, you have subtle differences as with any breed of horse, or humans. Some humans are redheaded and some humans are black-headed and you're going to have differences like that, I'm sure, that are subtle differences. But the overall organism, just like overall human beings, for instance, are going to have basically very similar DNA except for some physically characteristics and maybe some mutations or genetic disease or what have you. And that's like that with all species. So they will basically be the same, but there will individualized differences, of course."

Melba Ketchum is asked a chatroom question: "Why is it that the mitochondrial DNA is most often identified while the nucleic DNA is difficult to identify?"

"Well, mitochondrial DNA is a 16.5-thousand base loop of DNA that lives in the mitochondrial, or a little organelle, that's in the cytoplasm of the cells. It is maternally inherited. There's approximately 100 mitochondria in each cell, so there's 100 copies per cell., making it much more plentiful and much tinier than your regular nucleic genomic DNA, which is in the nucleus of the cell, and it only has the copy from the mother and from the father. So you've basically just got your chromosome that carry it. So you do not have the copy numbers that you have fro the mitochondrial DNA. And these little tiny organelles, with this little tiny loop of DNA, oftentimes, if some of them get degraded - say the DNA gets moist and mold and bacteria starts growing on it and that's how it gets degraded - you've got 100 times better chance of actually retrieving that little bitty loop of DNA from the mitochondria than the nucleus of the cell. So it's used in degraded remains. I worked on the World Trade Center disaster. There was a team of forensic scientists that was put together to analyze the remains and a lot of these, the only thing that was left was the mitochondrial DNA because of the condition of the remains. It survives better and there's more copies of it, so that's how you end up being able to see it much more often than your nuclear DNA."

Dr. Ketchum is asked whether the team was careful to eliminate human contamination.

"Oh, absolutely. And the type of DNA we're using, it's easily done. We handled it like forensic samples. We did our blank controls and positive controls and, of course, I'm tested, since I handled it, so we're taking every precaution. I'm sure that everything we're testing has come from the samples we've received. "

Dr. Ketchum is asked about the most-received color of purported Sasquatch hair sample submitted.

"Reddish-brown."

Dr. Ketchum is asked, without violating any non-disclosure at the current time, if she believes there is a bigfoot.

"Oh, I can say yes. I'll answer that yes without any problems. Just have to wait for all the details."

Dr. Ketchum is asked whether she has been provided any evidence besides hair, like bone or feces, or blood.

"Ask Dave if he wants me to answer that..."

Dave Paulides replies, "Let's leave that for later."

The interviewer mentions that he heard on Coast to Coast that there was a bone sample. Dave Paulides confirms the truth of that, but declines to discuss it further.

Dr. Ketchum is asked if she believes that there are aliens.

"I have no idea. [laughs] I know somebody's seeing something in the sky... I've even seen something in the sky, but I have no idea what's flying it. It could be the military for all I know. I wouldn't touch that. [laughs] Remember, I'm still a scientist and I'm still really skeptical unless I can prove it myself. Nobody's given us any DNA from alleged aliens, so, can't go there."

Dr. Ketchum is asked if she would describe the difference between an "unknown" and a human hair.

" Well, I'm not a hair expert, although we have one in our group. Let's just say they're generally bigger, I give you that much. They're generally larger in diameter. They're more coarse."

Dave Paulides adds: "There are hair and fiber experts in the world that can tell the difference between every known hair that exists and these people can't get up on the stand and testify as an expert in court that, yes, this is positively a deer hair/raccon hair just by the physical mapeup of the hair."

Both are asked if a hair analyst could testify in court. Both Ketchum and Paulides answer in tandem, "Yes, absolutely."

Dr. Ketchum is asked about the difference in the medulla in the "unknown" hair and human hair.

"We'll have everything we need from our hair analyst who is a senior supervisor in a well-known forensic lab, whose doing all of the hair analysis. And he will give his opinions on this, and we're taking very good pictures. We'll have everything we need."

Dr. Ketchum is asked how often samples are contaminated by humans.

"We take precautions against it. We have ways of washing the samples... that will do away with anybosy that's handled anything. Bone samples, for instance, they basically get sandblasted to remove the whoel outer coating before we use the inner part. There's various ways to protect... we use every forensic tool available to us to keep any contamination from affecting anything."

Dr. Ketchum is asked wthether nuclear DNA is the next step, after mitochondrial DNA, in proof.

"You use everything at your disposal., of course. The only problem is you have to have high-yield samples to do the nuclear testing. They have to have more DNA in them., more cells avaiable to give up it's DNa. Everything we do is ampified DNA and it's based on a copy number, like I explained earlier. Meaning, how many numbers of set of DNA that was in the cells do you have left and nuclear is like 100x less than the mito, so you do have to have a lot better sample."

Dr. Ketchum is asked to explain how easy it is to recover DNA when people want to be tested.

"For human testing, all you have to do is take a Q-tip and run it inside your cheek and that's plenty of DNA to do anything you want with it. It's very simple. In fact, that's how paternity test are done. The kits are sent out with the swab and they just swab inside their cheeks, one on each side. But I doubt Sasquatch is going to come up and open his mouth and say, 'Here, you wanna take a vocal swab?'

Dr. Ketchum is asked if Sasquatch saliva DNA could be gotten from food.

"Oh, yeah, there a lot of literature and we've done it before too where you get something that's had saliva on it, and if you freeze the saliva item, you just take a damp swab and swab the saliva off of it. It's fun to do. [The food won't contaminate the sample] because it's a plant. It's a different extraction method to get their DNA. There's a famous forensics case in Canada where a burglar, and I believe he was also a murderer, decided he was hungry after he perpetrated the crime, and he got a piece of ham out of the refrefrigerator and took a big bite out of it and threw it on the floor, and they just froze the ham, swabbed the ham, and they got his profile. And we do the same things when we do forensics. We do whatever it takes. "

Dr. Ketchum if there is anything that would keep the evidence from coming out, when the study is complete.

"I certainly hope not. The one thing we're trying to overkill is so that peer-review will be passed. I know that we've done everything to make it to peer-review. The peer-review will happen. Except, unless we get biased people that refuse to pass it for selfish reasons. Or, we get some type of conspiracy theory going where it's prevented. I know the science is good. We've done peer-review papers before. It's not a big deal. Two of the PhD's on our team do peer-review, for crying out loud, so we know what we've done to overkill and make sure that everything is as it should be. So the science will pass. It's just getting past somebody who might have a preconceived notion... they can nitpick it, but they can't really nitpick it because we're covering all our bases. What it'll boil down to is just if they'll pass it from one to the next and drag it out. That's really the worst fear I have. I mean, they can't really completely turn it down.... But the first time we get turned down with any of them, we're just going to go to another one. We'll keep doing it until we get it done. We will, because it's there. And it will absolutely capable of being peer-reviewed because, like I say, I'm a veteran, and certainly the people on my team have done... you know, one of them has peer-reviewed for a government agency. And no research left that agency without the peer-review from him, so we know what we're doing here. And it's just a matter of the politics and, you know, hopefully is going to go smoothly and we'll get it out there more quickly, I hope, than what we're afraid of. But it will be [nothing but bias] if it doesn't peer-review."

Dr. Ketchum is asked if the findings will be published in a journal.

"That's peer-review, yes. It will go into a scientific journal and what each journal has, when it's a respected scientific journal is, they have some scientists on staff that read the papers and they go, 'Did they do this right? Did they take enough precautions?' and what have you. 'Oh yeah, they did fine. Let's publish it.' And I know we've done all those things. I'm sure of that. [laughs] I'm absolutely positive. In fact, we've done it more than any paper. We have done more than any paper I have ever read. "

Interviewer asks, "You have to, almost, don't you?"

Melba responds, "Yeah, we have to because it's the nature of the beast, if you'll pardon the pun. [laughs] But this is what I'm saying. I know what we've got is good, I know what we've got will pass the science."

Dr. Ketchum is asked if she will go "around them" if necessary.

"Well, that's what we'll do if we get any trouble out of the bigger publications, we'll go to a smaller one if we have to., until somebody slips up and is actually open-minded. And I've got the name of somebody who's open-minded with a good journal that will be our second step if the first one doesn't go through quickly. "

Dr. Ketchum is asked when she anticipates the results being released and whether she has been contact by any government officials.

"No. And I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist, so I'm not really worried about that. I think if it comes out it comes out and, you know, we'll see what happens. Some people have voiced a concern about the peer-review process in this country and that's why we have multiple copies and we're ready to submit internationally to get things done how they should be done. This is just straight science. Everybody gets all excited about Bigfoot. To us, it's just science. It's another organism. You write it up, you do what you're supposed to do, and you say here it is. It's a big mystery, yes, but it's nothing that you wouldn't do every day in science."

Dr. Ketchum is asked about the best source of DNA from the body.

"Skin would actually be my preference because every cell has a nucleus. Only your white blood cells have nuclei. I would prefer skin any old day if I could get it. Blood is good though. Hair is my last choice because the roots are so tiny and you have to have the roots, you need a clump with roots. We do some that have almost no root, but it takes a lot of extra effort and it's not as good as if we were able to have several roots and be able to combine them from one sample."

Dr. Ketchum is asked if the hair had a medulla, could she get DNA from the medulla.

"We have not had good luck with hair shaft of any sorts from samples purported to be and I believe to be the real thing. We want tissue. We want the tissue on the roots. If you pull it out, you see the little bulb thing on the end? We want those, and preferably with a little tissue tag on them. That is your best source, as far as hair. If you don't have that, you might as well keep the hair for posterity's sake... There is some DNA in the actual follicle or the are that is ecompassing the root. If it's a shed hair, there isn't though and it's just not worth the try, believe me, and not for what we're doing on our project. We're using larger DNA samples."

Dr. Ketchum is asked if she had something to do with the Neaderthal DNA study.

"No, I had nothing to do with Neanderthal."

Dr. Ketchum is asked if that was proven recently, too.

"Yes. And that's one of the things that we've looked at, like everything else."

Dr. Ketchum is asked whether or not she has compared Neanderthal DNA to what she has.

"Of course we have. We've compared it to everything that we have. If we have access to it, it's been compared to it."

Dr. Ketchum is asked about apples that have had a bite taken out of them.

"But there's a problem with that. How many of them are actually cleaning the apples with a 1/10 Clorox solution and rinsing them in distilled water before they're stringing them up with their bare hands? Because you go to the store... how many people have picked up that apple before you picked it up to buy it? And did you wear gloves when you picked it up to buy it? So you can get contamination that way, and that's where, as a forensics scientist, I try to think outside the box and see where I might have a problem. "

Dr. Ketchum is asked a possible release date for the information.

"It's probably sometime in the spring, on a guess. It's going to depend on the peer-review. That's the one thing that's going to speed this up or slow it down because... we're working right now to get it out for peer-review. We're very close. We're writing right now, basically well on our way with it. It's just a matter of getting it all down on paper and then submitting it... The deed is done. We're still adding a few samples along when we can just to... the more the merrier. Because now we can do them a lot quicker now that we've made the basic research. [People will have] about one month [to continue to submit samples]. Tissue. I really appreciate blood or tissue. Hair is the least of them."

November 2010 - June 2011

Various individuals and research groups who have submitted possible Sasquatch DNA samples to Melba Ketchum sit quietly, pursuant to their non-disclosure agreements, waiting for Ketchum to finish the study and submit the white paper for peer review.

June 16, 2011

Robert Lindsay publishes an interview with Richard Stubstad, who claims that he had submitted a sample to the Ketchum Bigfoot DNA project but his NDA has expired. Stubstad claims that the results of mitochondrial (MtDNA) analysis of two samples came back 100% Homo sapiens sapiens.

Richard Stubstad claims he was "thrown out" of the study. He explains, in his comments on Lindsay's blog: "I’m pretty sick now, with prostate cancer, and I’d really like to see something definitive before I die–one way or the other.... My remaining lifespan is more likely measured in months, not years–although I’m doing pretty well right now. So, yes, if I appear to be a bit impatient, well indeed I am!"

Stubstad also admits on the comments section of Lindsay's blog that he is a friend of "Java" Bob Schmalzbach (who was involved with the Georgia hoax along with Tom Biscardi).

Stubstad had reportedly funded the DNA analysis on a purported bigfoot toenail on behalf of the finder in late 2009, for Tom Biscardi, who hand-delivered the sample to Ketchum.

June 27, 2011

Robert Lindsay publishes an interview with "the bear hunter" on his blog regarding the purported shooting of two bigfoot creatures.The blog post, titled "New Erickson Project News: Bigfoot DNA Project Using Two Dead Bigfoot Bodies for Samples", erroneously credits the DNA project to Adrian Erickson, who has submitted samples to the project along with several other individuals and research groups.

The interview is filled with misinformation and supposition. The "bear hunter", Ken Walker, not to be confused with the shooter, is a well-known taxidermist who was involved in the initial thread at taxidermy.net in which the shooter described the event. The bear hunter had put the shooter in touch with Derek Randles of the Olympic Project and had been asked by Randles not to discuss the incident publicly. In the interview, Walker states he is speaking out about the incident because "I am getting very impatient with the pace of this project. You know, it’s always coming out this year, then next year, then this year again, then next year again, then this spring. I’m getting tired of it. I want to jumpstart this project and tell them to get going and finish it up." Walker states several opinions as fact, leading many to question the credibility of the shooting story itself.

June 29, 2011

Robert Lindsay publishes a second interview with Ken Walker, dealing "with a wide range of subjects, including why we have a hard time getting good trailcam videos of Bigfoots, Bigfoots burying their dead in peat bogs, Bigfoot gravediggers who dug up a Bigfoot grave and found a skeleton of a Bigfoot hand, a trapper who is more or less living with a group of Bigfoots, an wilderness area with a huge number of disappearances that may be Bigfoot-related, and most outrageously of all, a man who claims that he was kidnapped by Bigfoots and taken to their lair where they tried to force him to mate with a female Bigfoot a la the famous Albert Ostman story." Walker again states several opinions as fact.

July 4, 2011:

Robert Lindsay continues to post "leaks", from "people close to the Erickson Project", this time regarding nuclear DNA results, claming that "Bigfoots are approximately 1/2 way between humans and chimps." Once again, the blog post is full of misquotes and misinformation, according to later statements made by those involved in the project. Arguing in the comments section of the blog post ensues, with Dr. Ketchum coming forward to make the following statement:

"Richard and the others backing him,

I am really enjoying all the fiction being posted,it is laughable. I don’t even care what you say because you have no data to know anything at this point and all you have is guesses. I know where your messed up info is coming from now also so be not deceived. However, Richard, you are lying and misquoting me which like I say is entertaining with one exception and that is saying I am pro-kill for any reason whatsoever. I am publicly calling you a liar. I have literally thousands of clients and many friends who would tell you I wouldn’t even spay a pregnant animal or euthanize anything that had any hope for survival. I love all living creatures and would never advocate a kill. I really feel sorry for all of you egotistical, greedy, and emotionally ill individuals. I guess you are saying this to give credibility to your threat to “make me the sorriest woman on the planetâ€. Yes, of course that got back to me too. Let’s just tell it how it is. You are ticked off because I didn’t want to be a part of your money making scheme because the two of you were unethical and you are angry that I distanced myself from you even though I offered an NDA with more teeth since you violated the first one blatantly prior to the offer of the second NDA you took offense to. The way you are living is not how life should be lived. Just remember you reap what you sow. I hope you are all blessed in spite of your hatred and bitterness.

Dr. Melba S. Ketchum"

July 7, 2011:

Robert Lindsay appears on MNBRT blogtalk radio with Abe Del Rio. Lindsay reiterates the shooting story. Derek Randles of the Olympic Project calls in during the second hour of the show and sets the record straight on many details.

July 11, 2011:

David Claerr, Yahoo! Contributor Network releases Bigfoot DNA Report Analysis 2011:Preliminary Results in Mitochondrial DNA Indicate an Astonishing Relationship Between Sasquatch and Humans

In it, he discusses Bigfoot possibly being a "Progenitor Species".

July 15, 2011:

Derek Randles of the Olympic Project posts the following account of the shooting:

This incident occurred in October of 2010 in Northern California. The persons involved will be known as Hunter 1, and Hunter 2. Hunter 1 is the shooter. Hunter 2 was driving the vehicle.

While driving down a dirt road looking for bear, hunter 1 and hunter 2 were noticing large piles of feces along their route. They commented on the amount they were seeing, and at the strange nature of it. They were having a rough time figuring out what was responsible. To (sic) big for Cougar, and didn't appear to be bear. It is important to note that they were hunting at considerable elevation. It's also important to note that they were legally hunting, with appropriate bear tags in a legal hunting area.

As the truck came around a corner they both noticed a large hair covered figure standing approx 80 to 100 yards in a meadow off to the side of the road. ( On the Bigfoot forum I previously said it was off to the left, that was my mistake, it was actually off to the right of the road.) The figure was standing on two legs with it's arms above it's head. It took roughly eight to ten steps toward the vehicle. The arms were moving a little either because it was walking, or it was intensionally (sic) swaying them. It was dirty grey in color with some black mixed in. The figure was very large. Hunter 1 decided it had to be a bear. It was completely hair covered, and from that distance good definition (sic) was impossible. Hunter 1 got out of the truck and leaned against the door aiming his riffle at the figure. He does admit that it looked strange but in his mind it had to be a bear. He did not believe in Bigfoot at that time. Hunter 2 was now looking at the figure and said " I'm not sure that's a bear". The shot was fired hitting it's mark in the chest region. The figure went down. It got back up immediately and started running on two legs, and then on all fours. It went from two legs to four legs a couple of times before it left view. A short time later they were very sure they heard it crash into the brush, although they never did confirm this. They couldn't believe what they were seeing.

They exited the truck and started across the meadow still wondering what just happened. When they reached the spot where it was standing they noticed movement in the nearby brush. Two smaller figures appeared from the brush and started circling around their position. The smaller ones were totally hair covered, but were much more black in color. They would go back and forth from two legs to four. They were exhibiting some type of chatter back and forth to each other. Hunter 1 and Hunter 2 described them as a cross between a gorilla and a bear. They said that they had very large heads, almost too big for their bodies. They also stated that the little ones had a much flatter face than a bear. They spent as much time on two legs as they did on four. The smaller figures began getting closer and closer, at on (sic) point, just a few yards. One of them climbed up a small outcrop above hunter 1. Hunter 1 started to get the feeling he might be attacked. He made a quick decision, turned and fired. The figure went down and rolled right down to Hunter 1's location. He lifted it up, and then placed it in the brush. They then decided that they needed to leave, now.

I, Derek Randles was put in touch with the hunters about two weeks later. I interviewed them both by phone extensively, and separately. I found that their story matched perfectly with no inconsistency's (sic). I could also tell that they were natural and not rehearsed. Consequently, I've spent many many hour talking with hunter 1 one about all aspects of the story, and I completely believe him.

I then urged hunter 1 to return to the site and look around for any evidence from the incident. Upon returning they were greeted with roughly two feet of snow. The little one was not found. They concentrated their efforts in the area where they thought they heard the larger one go down. After digging though the snow for many hours they were able to find a piece of flesh, greasy fat and hair, but no body. The flesh and hair matched the color of the larger one exactly. White gray hair with some black in it.

I then asked him to forward a small piece of the flesh to Dr. Ketchum to have it analyzed for the current DNA study she's involved in. I cannot speak to the results at this time due to an NDA I've signed, but I will say that I 100% believe the story. Read into that what you will.

The site has been under snow since last November. Further study of the site is ongoing. To date, no bodies have been recovered or found. If and when a body or remains is discovered, the appropriate authority's (sic) will be notified.

The Olympic Project and Dr. Melba Ketchum do not advocate or condone the killing of a Sasquatch to advance science. That being said, if this sample can help with species verification and protection, then some good can come from a unfortunate incident. It's also important to note that this is but one of over a hundred samples the Olympic Project has contributed to this study.

Updates on this story will be available on this web site, and the story in it's entirety will be told by Hunter 1 when the time is right.

Thank You,

Derek Randles.

Updates 7/19/11:

Sally Ramey posted this succinct explanation of the peer-review process on Facebook. I found it helpful in understanding this "final leg" of the Bigfoot DNA project journey. I hope you find it beneficial, too.

Summary: Peer-review process

by Sally Ramey

Lots of people have recently been wondering about the process of publishing scientific papers. Here is the basic process, based on my experience doing PR in higher ed:

The researcher prepares a paper about their findings and submits it to a scientific journal for peer-review, which can take MONTHS. The paper is reviewed by a team of scientists with expertise in the discipline(s) involved in the researcher's work. They decide if the research was conducted according to standards and practices accepted by the scientific community, and review the findings to see if they pass muster. It's like a professor checking your work in college. If the review team has questions, they can ask the researcher to provide more info, run more tests, get someone else to run tests that replicate the work, etc. This can delay publication but it is sometimes necessary. ONLY after the review team is satisfied is the paper accepted for publication. Publication in a peer-reviewed journal is the scientific community's "stamp of approval" that the work is valid.

The journal must then figure out when to publish the paper. Some journals work weeks/months in advance, adding further delay. Some work faster, meaning that the paper might run within a few weeks. At some point, the researcher is notified that they have a "pub date." In my experience, you often only know about three weeks out when your paper will publish. Once there is a pub date, the researcher (typically university-based) works with their campus PR folks and the journal editorial and PR staff to be sure that images are prepared for publication, news releases are written and reviewed, and everyone is prepared for the announcement.

If the news is HUGE, the researcher will be interviewed by the science media, under a strict embargo, the week before the pub date. Most journals publish on Fridays and most embargos lift on Thursday afternoons. The science media, journal PR folks and university PR folks all post their stories and news releases upon the lifting of the embargo. This is why big science news seems to be posted everywhere at once. - it actually is.

If the story is HUGE HUGE HUGE, any news conference would be held when the embargo lifts, unless the journal allows it to happen early due to scheduling conflicts - the journal drives the schedule - no one else. And NO ONE can publicly discuss the paper, its pub date, what journal is involved, the findings or other contents in advance of the embargo or the journal will not publish the paper. This preserves the credibility and sanctity of the peer-review process. Hope this info is helpful.

JC Johnson, who has contributed to the study, shares his frustration with the inaccuracies and rumor floating about on the web:

The more I read this dribble, the more I know how little these people actually know! I am in regular contact with Dr. Ketchum. I too am under NDA, but with her permission, I would like to clear a few things up.

1. There are no bodies from ...the alleged shooting. A single piece of flesh was sent in. There were not samples from two bodies, one human, and one not. How that got started who knows? "Single Piece of Flesh"......Got it?

2. This study is not the Erickson Project. Yellow Journalism likes tag names. Erickson has some samples sent in. He has spent around $70,000 to have his samples tested. He did not pay for anyone else. He has about three million tied up in his project and documentary, not this study. As I have said before. There are "hundreds" of samples sent in on a global scale for analysis in this project. Lose the tag name. "Not the Erickson Project"......Got it?

3.The Jibber Jabbar back and forth casting a bad light on all of us, is not from anyone involved in the study. Those of us in the study have for the most part kept our mouths shut. If Richard Stubstad, had not shared information on the samples he had knowledge of before "leaving" the study, you would not have heard anything on any of this until the Scientific Paper was published. If the world of Bigfootery, and the "Bigfoot Community" are taking pot shots back and forth on the information, that's between them. "There is no infighting with study members."..........Got it?

In the days to come, as we get closer to the revelation of this new species, you can look for all kinds of articles being written with 5% information and 95% disinformation and hear say.

"ALL SO"-------------

It would seem in this final hour, there are those of you who would like to reinvent the circumstances and people involved in this study? Too late. The i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. The hundreds of samples have been sent out for a double blind engagement, and it comes back good.

There are indeed other cryptids out there to discover. Start small, maybe get your hands on some Chupacabra DNA? Then from there those of you who will, can appoint your own experts, scientists, and PHD’s.

JC Johnson

And David Paulides, over at NABS, had this to say:

I will be addressing this post;

http://www.treatyofalgeron.com/2011/07/melba-ketchum-and-erickson-project-are.html?spref=fb

As the Executive Director of the group that started the Bigfoot DNA Project and the person who represents the group with the most specimens submitted, I can guarantee for an absolute fact 95% of what Mr. Fasano states is complete fabrication (He did get the names spelled correctly in his narrative). He has never spoken to anyone associated with our study, he has never submitted a specimen and has no idea what the results or testing. How this man can attack a credible study like this is absolutely mind-boggling.

It is true that the Olympic Project did supply one tissue specimen and many, many other credible specimens that they did collect. The leader of the Olympic Project, Derek Randles has addressed this point multiple times and he will gladly answer the same questions again, I’d refer to Derek on all issues regarding their specimens. Mr. Fasano, you claim the tissue sample is a hoax, have you seen the DNA report on it? Do you know who did the testing on this sample? Right, then how can you make a 1000’ leap to claim that any sample is a hoax when you haven’t been privy to any results?

I think that Mr. Fasano needs to conduct more research on the background of our study. First, Dr. Ketchum’s science has never been questioned, ever. Early in our organization of this effort we knew that a very few researchers that didn’t take part in our study, believers in the ape theory, researchers that were jealous and unable to find viable specimens on their own and general people in the community that live off bashing/hating others would be overly critical at the earliest opportunity. Dr. Ketchum and our entire team knew this would happen and expected responses such as this would start to creep into the community.

The bigfoot samples were initially screened by a hair and fiber expert when they arrived at DNA Diagnostics. Once the expert validated the sample, they went back to Dr. Ketchum’s lab where they were itemized, logged, photographed and then sent to a variety of other labs for testing. No, Dr. Ketchum didn’t conduct all of the testing on the majority of specimens, independent labs came to the same conclusions of the samples on their own. All pundits please re-read the last sentence, independent labs worked the samples and did the genetic testing and came to the same independent conclusions, is that clear enough?

Nobody in my organization has had any relationship or communication with anyone associated with the Erickson effort. Why Fasano would bulk a movie effort into a three year science study is beyond my logic.

The study has over 100 specimens from dozens of independent people and research groups. The idea that Mr. Fasano can unilaterally make a statement that the study is a hoax is beyond the realm of basic logic. Mr. Fasano, you were a friend of mine on Facebook, you saw my writings about this topic, why not contact me and allow us to discuss your concerns? Why would you publicly try to humiliate people you’ve never met or communicated? You and I have never spoken or communicated in any way, why fall into a realm of hate that does nobody, including your own research effort any good whatsoever?

I’m personally and professionally sorry that my clarifying updates have to continue. It would appear that certain elements of our community continue to be destined to destroy the good faith efforts of some in an apparent effort to gain their 15 minutes of fame, or to continue to propagandize their own hypothesis.

Thanks to everyone who has continued to take a “wait and see†approach to this issue, that is all we are asking. Sally Ramey wrote a great article (Facebook) about the formation of a scientific white paper and why there is an absolute need for NDA’s for all involved and the rationale for the extensive time these studies do take.

Thanks for your patience.

David Paulides

Thank you to Sally Ramey, JC Johnson and Dave Paulides for the additional information.

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Guest

Right, the EP has become a catch-all, and I think that's part of the frustration. People don't see that as a scientific endeavor. They see it as a documentary with supporting evidence. If we start thinking of it as the Ketchum Report, a scientific study, we might be able to reset expectations and breathe a little easier.

Edited by rwridley

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Further updates:

What does it say?

The years in the making story concerning the collection and analysis of DNA from an unknown species of primate living in North America was dubbed the Erickson Project by someone in the cryptozoology community when word of it first popped up on the scene. The name is a misnomer. It was called that because a man by the name of Adrian Erickson started purchasing land that was said to be habituation sites for these animals and financed a study. While Erickson is an integral cog in the wheel, it turns out that he is just one of a number of researchers who have submitted DNA to Dr. Melba Ketchum, a veterinarian who owns her own DNA testing facility. She is the real owner of the findings in this case given that her name is attached to the actual paper that has reportedly been written and submitted for peer review. That’s why I’m suggesting we start referring to this as the Ketchum Report and not the Erickson Project.

The reason I think it’s important to make this distinction is because Dr. Ketchum seems to have done her due diligence to approach this from a purely scientific stand point. She is playing by the established scientific communities rules. Namely, she’s refrained from making any public claims to the specific findings of the study. She’s appeared on radio shows and a few blogs discussing the general topic, but she’s stopped short of making any overt statements as to what the study has actually revealed. Her closest revelation as to the outcome of the study so far is that she now believes that such an animal does indeed exist.

This approach is rarely taken in the world of cryptozoology simply because the majority of mainstream science habitually plays it safe by studying the known and steering clear of the unknown. A few brave souls will stick their necks out and examine the outrageous, but their heads are usually placed on pikes for all of academia to spat upon. The bulk of cryptozoological research is left to the curious every-man who takes well-meaning enthusiasm and turns it into amateur science. A few get it right. Most don’t.

The ones who get it wrong will turn personal hypotheses and stretch it out until it becomes fact. They will call press conferences and make unfounded claims. They will take to the internet and report rumor and speculation as reality. They will respond to skeptics with anger and venom. They will turn their research into material for public fodder because they jumped the gun.

Dr. Ketchum’s decision to stick to accepted scientific procedure has frustrated the crypto-fanatics to the point of madness. Messageboards and blogs are digging through hearsay and supposed inside sources to satisfy their growing anxiety. Here are samples of what you might read in various online groups.

Why must it take so long?

Why is Ketchum dragging her feet?

What is she trying to hide?

If she had something, it would be front page news by now.

The list goes on. Patience has worn thin among these otherwise reasonable people. They’re not bad people. They just want the ridicule to end. Like it or not, the Ketchum Report has become a beacon of hope for many eyewitnesses, researchers, and believers. They’ve made the assumption that she’s proven what they already know to be true, there is undeniably a bipedal North American Ape out there, even though Dr. Ketchum hasn’t openly said that. She’s hinted that good news is coming and that people will be pleased with her findings, but those statements are open to a wide variety of interpretations.

I came across of a Facebook group administered by Rhettman A Mullis Jr. called Bigfootology. Mullis wrote a reasoned piece about the insanity surrounding the pending release of the Ketchum Report. He quoted a Sally Ramey about the scientific procedure that Ketchum is following. Ramey has experience in the world of academia with the peer-review process and she shared it with Mullis’ group. I post it here in its entirety, but I urge you to read the entire piece by clicking here: Clarifying the insanity of rumor and false information.

Summary: Peer-review process

by Sally Ramey on Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 4:58pm

Lots of people have recently been wondering about the process of publishing scientific papers. Here is the basic process, based on my experience doing PR in higher ed:

The researcher prepares a paper about their findings and submits it to a scientific journal for peer-review, which can take MONTHS. The paper is reviewed by a team of scientists with expertise in the discipline(s) involved in the researcher’s work. They decide if the research was conducted according to standards and practices accepted by the scientific community, and review the findings to see if they pass muster. It’s like a professor checking your work in college. If the review team has questions, they can ask the researcher to provide more info, run more tests, get someone else to run tests that replicate the work, etc. This can delay publication but it is sometimes necessary. ONLY after the review team is satisfied is the paper accepted for publication. Publication in a peer-reviewed journal is the scientific community’s “stamp of approval†that the work is valid.

The journal must then figure out when to publish the paper. Some journals work weeks/months in advance, adding further delay. Some work faster, meaning that the paper might run within a few weeks. At some point, the researcher is notified that they have a “pub date.†In my experience, you often only know about three weeks out when your paper will publish. Once there is a pub date, the researcher (typically university-based) works with their campus PR folks and the journal editorial and PR staff to be sure that images are prepared for publication, news releases are written and reviewed, and everyone is prepared for the announcement.

If the news is HUGE, the researcher will be interviewed by the science media, under a strict embargo, the week before the pub date. Most journals publish on Fridays and most embargos lift on Thursday afternoons. The science media, journal PR folks and university PR folks all post their stories and news releases upon the lifting of the embargo. This is why big science news seems to be posted everywhere at once. – it actually is.

If the story is HUGE HUGE HUGE, any news conference would be held when the embargo lifts, unless the journal allows it to happen early due to scheduling conflicts – the journal drives the schedule – no one else. And NO ONE can publicly discuss the paper, its pub date, what journal is involved, the findings or other contents in advance of the embargo or the journal will not publish the paper. This preserves the credibility and sanctity of the peer-review process. Hope this info is helpful.

The point of this post is that restraint is in order here, by all of us. We need to keep our heads and let the process play out. We are all anxious for results but we have to relax and wait. Rumors are just that. Speculate and vent if you must, but never lose sight that is what you are doing, speculating.

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gershake

As I said early when the Erickson Project thread was started, I'm uncomfortable with that name anyway... Before that, it used to be called the Kentucky Project. Didn't sounds as much like a one-man show.

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Guest
:blush: double post...Yikes, sorry.. Edited by SweetSusiq

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bipedalist
BFF Patron

Mods can we just rename the Erickson Blockbuster DNA thread/stuff since it was Ketchum and stop reinventing the wheel and maybe merge these please.

I've already emailed the Chief Admin about it & haven't received a reply as yet.

RL/SF is the one who started and named the thread....ultimately it should be run by him (as a courtesy, though it is clearly mis-named).

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Mods can we just rename the Erickson Blockbuster DNA thread/stuff since it was Ketchum and stop reinventing the wheel and maybe merge these please.

I didn't intend this as a specific retort to RL/SF's post. I've noticed the mistake being made by quite a few online. I apologize if I violated MB rules.

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georgerm
BFF Donor

Right, the EP has become a catch-all, and I think that's part of the frustration. People don't see that as a scientific endeavor. They see it as a documentary with supporting evidence. If we start thinking of it as the Ketchum Report, a scientific study, we might be able to reset expectations and breathe a little easier.

Good point.......the EP is headed for a documentary which means a big pay day, yet it will not provide the proof scientist need. We need science to say yes, we have a new species. Melba is the one doing this, and it sounds like hours of nonpaid work. However, we do need projects like EP so public support of BF's existence can increase.

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Very nice piece rwridley, you make a lot of valid points and I'd like to think when this is all out, Dr. K will give recognition, where it's due.

The entire article on Bigfootology's FB page is a must-read IMO.

Sally Ramey's summary was very informative and was free of the mumbo-jumbo that I usually see in these sort of explanations.

I had originally thought that the release of Ketchum's study would be timed with the news cycle, but that probably isn't the way it will happen, according to Ramey.

As Bill Green would say, very interesting, indeedy.

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southernyahoo

She, so to speak, is running the ball over the goal line. Melba is doing lots of work to prepare this paper, so she gets the credit. This sounds fair unless Erickson is paying for DNA tests and her work on the paper.

Right, I feel that Erikson has alot of ownership in this, along with potentially the other big players like the OP or Paulides' group. I have no idea how much they've all contributed financially, but no doubt this project would have needed some benefactors. I suspect there was enough funding for the depth of the project but it needed greater numbers of samples to round it out. These benefactors in one way or the other, likely covered the sequencing costs for those paying the 200 for the screening and which passed.

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parnassus

From this information it would appear that Ketchum may pass Meldrum and may challenge Moneymaker for the most money made off those who believe in Bigfoot. The numbers are fragmentary so I could be wrong.

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Guest Silver Fox

My take on the DNA analysis - The Ketchum Report

I explain why I think the distinction is important in the post.

First of all, there are some untruths here.

I do agree with calling it the Ketchum Project.

However, let me give you an example of how the two projects are tied together. It was Erickson's idea to try to get DNA for BF, after he shot all his video and then realized that all the video on Earth would never convince any skeptics. So they decided to get DNA. They shopped around all sorts of DNA folks and could not get anyone. Finally, they settled on Ketchum because she was the only one who would touch BF. It was Erickson who got her started on this whole DNA project in the first place. She has left that out of recent interviews.

Something else: Do you realize that Erickson's contract with Ketchum says that she must release her DNA findings at the exact same time that he releases his video findings? If she releases her findings ahead of his videos, he can sue her and he may just do that.

Further, Erickson's contract with Ketchum says that if any of Erickson's samples are found to be BF's, they must all be included in the study. There is some question of whether or not she is going to do that. Erickson had six samples, and they all tested as coming from BF on DNA. All 6 of those must be included in the study.

As you can see, the Erickson Project and the Ketchum DNA study have more than a tangential relationship.

Erickson mostly wants to disentangle himself from her name for legal reasons, I think. According to Erickson, the EP is 3 whole human beings. Whenever you refer to the EP, you must only be referring to those 3 human beings. If not, you are not referring to the EP. I suspect there are legal reasons for that. In short, Erickson's formal distancing himself from Ketchum is a legalese sort of an act, and they are quite a lot more entwined than you have let on here.

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