Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Source Comes Forward

Steven Streufert has released a statement from the source of the conversation in my previous article "Did Bigfoot Once Have Wings?"

It can be found here:

Here is the statement in full: 
A statement from Rhettman Mullis re. the revelations re. Ketchum today: 
I sent Melba a sample through Tim Olson. I was first told it was viable. 
Then I began conversations with Sykes and Nekaris to do this DNA project in January of 2012. By March it was going public early. At the same time I invited Melba to work with Sykes as the projects need to have replication anyway 
That summer before (2011) I had invited Melba and Sally to become a part of Bigfootology and they both, understandably declined for the moment. 
Melba did not really answer me about working with Sykes...ignored me about it if I recall correctly. 
It was soon after that I had this conversation with Melba on March 12th, 2012, and frankly after the conversation I was wondering if I had done the right thing. 
It was a little while later that the project with Sykes became a go and Melba continued to ignore me about it. It was also at that time when our sample was no longer viable, and then later we were told that we never submitted a sample. 
My conversation with Melba was a friendly conversation that had a great deal to do with theology as in addition to being a behavior scientist, I am an ordained pastor and I found her conclusions highly questionable and from a psychologist point of view I found her persona highly concerning. 
Afterwards, frankly, I was okay with her not wanting to work with us because I did not want to deal with that since I work with clients like that weekly and I like working with healthy-persona people outside of work. 
But I am about the science first, and I thought it would be a good collaboration between her and Sykes if the science and methodology is sound. 
I am not qualified to determine the authenticity of genetic science and that is why I turned her paper over to Sykes and Nekaris and both did not respond favorably to the science in the paper. Genetics is not my area of expertise. 
So the conversation evolved and that is what is public now. I am under no NDA or sample contract. 
This was my attempt to push science forward and bring key-players together, which is what I do, I am a bridge-person, always bringing peace and people together, and some have seen me do this firsthand. 
Even publicly, on Coast to Coast AM when I gave my updates I continued to publicly encourage Melba to do the right thing... 
I have never attacked her privately or publicly. I just want her to maintain scientific integrity. I have always told people that I do not care who gets credit for the discovery, just that it is done properly. So no one can question the integrity of the finding and that is what has happened in Melba's project. Everything is now questionable. 
Statement regarding the release of the relevant parts of the conversation: 
For over two years I have encouraged Melba to maintain the integrity of her project and hoped for the best for her and her potentially-historic project. I withdrew that support last summer when multiple situations came forth and I began to see questionable actions and practices by Melba in her project. I maintained my silence and publicly continued to encourage her to do the right thing, but the situation has continued to decline. I am okay to stand on the sidelines for the purpose of keeping the peace and letting someone make their own bed of self-sabotage. In this case, however, it has become a larger problem when innocent people get attacked because they are being honest and I continue to say nothing while holding the evidence of her own words. Because I hold the evidence of her own words and I stand by and not let the truth be known then I become duplicitous in that attacking of honest people and that goes against the grain of who I am as a scientist and as a pastor. By releasing this I am not attacking Melba as that is never my intent, I am merely letting her own words show her for what she really thinks and what she is really doing in order to protect the many others who have been ruthlessly attacked and accused of being liars when it is not the case. 
Rhettman A. Mullis, Jr., MS, MHP

Monday, April 15, 2013

Did Bigfoot Once Have Wings?

Let me preface this article by saying that it is heavily credited to anonymous sources. All of them supplied screenshot evidence to substantiate their claims, although not all of them allowed the publication of the screenshots. All of the screenshots are from direct conversations with Dr. Melba Ketchum, so they aren’t speculation or hearsay. I will paraphrase the content from the screenshots I did not have permission to publish to protect the identity of the sources. 

The Biggest Contradiction:

Remember when the Angel/Alien DNA rumors were flying around? Robin Lynne denied them as can be read at http://bizarrezoology.blogspot.com/2012/11/claims-of-hominin-hybrids-living-today.html.
“We have not said that it has angel DNA . That was not said by anyone on our team, but someone else on the outside. That is very much a false rumor.
Some even defended it by saying Angel DNA was an old term used to refer to unknown DNA. 

I’m not going to bash someone’s beliefs. As a religious person myself, a lot of these theories have often crossed my mind. The problem is that if this is her belief, why the denial? If this really is what you believe them to be, why run away from it? And does the belief matchup with the science? 

And because someone will bring up legal issues, the above conversation came from someone who never signed a non-disclosure agreement. 

The Science: 

They share a 3% homology to human (which is closer to the ~80% homology of Lemur than the ~90% homology of apes) which is explained in an interesting theory by Dr. Ketchum. She said she believes after the initial hybridization, they stopped breeding with humans and interbred the human out of them. At time of hybridization they would be 50% human. How much time would it take to remove 47% of the homology?

I am openly asking any geneticists and biologists to comment on the possibility of the above, given the timeline. Would it be possible for a hybridization to take place, and then remove said hybridization from only the nuDNA leaving the mtDNA completely intact? 

Can you even claim something with only 3% homology to human is human? The claims of 100% human mtDNA makes it interesting, but Dr. Ketchum knew this. She specifically said the mtDNA would have to be made more important. The statement didn’t go deeper, but it leaves a list of endless possibilities. Was the mtDNA 100% human as claimed, or was it just presented that way? The absence of the full sequences as well as full DNA reports leaves the possibility of wrong-doing on the table. I am in no way accusing Dr. Ketchum of doing so, but this magnifies the problems of not having everything included in the paper. When you express the need for something to be made more important, it invites questions and scrutiny. Science should dictate what is seen by those reviewing the data. Not the author. 

This also explains the recent jump to the samples from Peru. Dr. Ketchum said she believes they might be the paternal donor. For more information on the Peru aspect of the studies, you can read the OTLS! blog

I still invite Dr. Ketchum to come forward and discuss this now that it’s on the table. There’s no more denying. It’s out and I think you’ll find that there’s a lot of people that will agree with those theories. The problem is proving those theories. Even the 3% homology isn’t explained or proven. The paper claims they are a human/unknown hybrid without any explanation at all about the reverse evolution back to the 3%. The missing steps need to be explained and show data. This isn’t just about a hybridization hypothesis anymore. Why was that entire de-evolution to a previous form never even mentioned in the paper? 

If this can all be proven, I’m all ears. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Bigfoot DNA or Garden Gnomes?

As I pointed out at the end of my last article, I made a mistake in my notes. Instead of simply deleting my mistake when I realized it, I did a strike-through and left it up so that others would see that I am accountable for my mistakes. I will never claim to be perfect and if I do make a mistake I expect to be called out on them. She has since edited the paper and removed Sarah Bollinger from the co-author list. 

And as I also pointed out, there have been mistakes and contradictions in Dr. Melba Ketchum’s Bigfoot DNA study. I don’t point them out as a personal attack, I point them out because finding the truth is the most important thing in my job as part of this community. When I felt I was being spun after some rather simple and softball questions that I was allowed to ask, I felt the whole truth wasn’t being told.

The following will be a list of some of those mistakes and contradictions only since the paper was released. Dr. Ketchum is more than free to respond and explain to us why these took place. 

The Journal. 
  • It begins with her signing up on Zoobank on Oct. 25, 2012. 
  • The name of her paper and the species name is registered on Zoobank on Nov. 18, 2012. 
  • The Journal of Advanced Multidisciplinary Exploration in Zoology is registered on Zoobank on Jan. 9, 2013. 
  • A Scholastica page for this journal is created on Jan. 11, 2013. 
  • Denova Scientific Journal is registered on godaddy.com on Feb. 4, 2013. 
  • Denova Scientific Journal publishes Novel North American Hominins after she obtains journal and renames it. 

The editor of the journal is unknown. The editor of the paper is Dr. Rayford Wallace. He’s not a medical or scientific doctor though. His doctorate is in Ministry. 

I won’t even get into Casey Mullins and the blogger site that showed up weeks after the paper had been released. The timeline above is troubling. The sudden rush not only seems like a mistake, if was going to raise enough eyebrows to actually look into the rush. 

The Peer Review.

Dr. Ketchum has repeatedly claimed that there was obscene scientific bias against her paper. That was the entire reason for having to purchase the journal. 


Darren Naish was actually one of those reviewers that rejected the paper. Around the 72nd minute, they start discussing the paper and Darren makes the reveal. He claims there was no bias and reveals the real reason the paper was denied. He would have been thrilled to spread the news that Bigfoot was real. But he said the paper simply did not prove the claims it was setting forth. 

The Paper. 

As I laid out in my last article, Dr. Ketchum claims there’s no more data, while the paper says otherwise. She supplied 2.7Mbp, 2.1Mbp, and 0.53??Mbp for her 3 genomes. A single genome should be approximately 3Gbp or even 135Mbp for just the chromosome 11 section. That’s a substantial chunk of missing data. 

When I contacted co-authors and contributors I was met with the similar response from all of them that bothered to answer. Here is one of those emails: 
Dear Mr. Weeast, Thank you for your email concerning the sequencing that we provided to Dr. Ketchum and co-workers. This work was performed as a fee for service. We have not been involved in the analysis of the results. Further, we are not at liberty and have no intention of discussing the laboratory results that we obtained with anyone but Dr. Ketchum or her colleagues. I would suggest that you direct your questions to her. Our core has only provided sequencing service for this study and we are not involved beyond that.All the best,Ward WakelandEdward K. Wakeland, Ph.D Edwin L. Cox Distinguished Chair in Immunology and Genetics Director, Walter M. and Helen D. Bader Center for Research on Arthritis and Autoimmune Diseases Director, IIMT Genomics Core Professor and Chairman, Department of Immunology
Notice he says there was no analysis done at their labs. None. Her paper claims otherwise: 
In depth analysis of all three genomic sequences (samples 26, 31 and 140) was performed at the University of Texas, Southwestern and alignment confirmed by the University of North Texas Health Science Center. Using CLC Bio Genomic Workbench version 5.1, a subsample of extracted reads were assembled to create a consensus sequence using the human chromosome 11 ….
So if they didn’t do the analysis, who did? 

And finally on Friday, Mar. 22, 2013, Dr. Ketchum posted the following on facebook:

The following was a unsolicited commentary by A. John Marsh on a genealogy DNA page which scientists use to discuss mtDNA origin. This is not the complete discussion . However, it sums up the analysis.
Along with the fact that all Bigfoots seem to have several different mtDNA mutations from each other, they also are found in 5 different states. It suggests that if a single T2b human female mated with a Bigfoot male 13,000 years ago, that the descendants of the T2b ancestor have spread widely in USA since then.
Web site
If T2b is 12-10kya, and T1/ T2 coalesced about 19kya, T2b might very roughly originate about 10,000 to 15,000 years ago.
One thing I noted was that all the 52 number diverse T2b haplogroup listed humans in the T2 project had a mutation 146T, but none of the Bigfoot had that mutation. It seems in fact that all T haplogroup have 146T. I am guessing that the earliest common ancestor of all Bigfoots had a back mutation on that marker to the CRS value.
Another thing I noticed was that all Bigfoots which appear to have been tested on the lower number markers, have mutation 73G. Yet not one of the
52 human mtDNA T2b persons had the mutation 73G. Why not? Was 73G a very early mutation in the Bigfoot line?
All the fully tested 4 Bigfoots had the 263G mutation, but not one single one of the 52 humans had 263G. Why not?
It seems all human T2bs have have 16187C and 16189T, but no bigfoots have either. In fact, all human haplgroup T are postive for both these mutations, so presumably in the common ancestor of all Bigfoots there was a mutation reverting to CRS.
According to the Ketchum knockers, all the mtDNA Haplotypes in her project are modern contamination. All of these Bigfoot haplotypes are different.
Isn't it a bit puzzling that all of these humans mistaken as Bigfoot have different T2 mtDNA haplotypes, all have 73G and 263G mutations not found in humans, and all seem to have had back mutations on 146T, 16187C and 16189T, where these back mutations are apparently not found in any human T2b s?

That sounds interesting. Dr. Ketchum was very excited. An hour earlier she posted:
"We just received permission to post. There will most likely be a new paper come from this so we will not post the new findings but you will see enough of the proof to validate the paper. I am SO excited!!!!!"
I apologize for tempering your excitement, but the thread is from Ancestry.com, not a genealogy DNA page. And A. John Marsh isn’t a scientist. He is an architect. A landscape architect to be precise, so according to Dr. Ketchum’s analysis of doctors, would that make him a lawn-chair scientist? But he built the excitement to write another paper... Did she see what he said about Q30 scores? 
Does the Q30 quality scores of above 88 mean 30 times average coverage, and 88 percent of the genome reconstructed? Just my guess, I don't know what it means. But on the face of it, does the scores obtained hint at a reliable coverage? 

The Foundations.

All of her foundations have one thing in common. They are businesses. All of the payment methods point to her paypal address at DNA Diagnostics. Claiming to run a non-profit while actually operating as a for-profit business is a serious matter. Even the newest foundation the Melba Ketchum Global Sasquatch Foundation announces itself as a non-profit, but is only registered in Texas as a business. It is not listed as a non-profit, nor is it listed in the pending applications for non-profit license. 
You can do the texas look up here: https://ourcpa.cpa.state.tx.us/coa/Index.html and enter Global Sasquatch Foundation as the name 
You can search the IRS non-profit list here: http://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/ and enter the same name with Garland, Texas as City and State. You can search both existing and those that have applied from that page. 

This entire project may have started with a noble goal, but it’s obviously steered in an unknown direction. Perhaps the missing data also holds a key to the direction it’s going. 

As before, I call on Dr. Ketchum to answer the questions. There are plenty of qualified scientists that can validate your data if it really says what you claim it does. What you released doesn't. I'm sure Mr. Marsh is a great guy and it looks like he's done a decent job with his family's history, but for Sasquatch it's going to take someone a little more experienced. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Based on a True Lab Report

The great tragedy of science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact - Thomas Huxley 

The hypothesis of Dr. Melba Ketchum dared to answer one of the great questions of our age -- if there is a missing link, another hominid, a distant relative of humans and where this fits in within the evolutionary tree, all in one fell swoop. 

Instead focusing on the task of proving if they were real or not, she skipped ahead and declared  they are an extant species that arrived after the hybridization of modern females and an unknown novel hominin approximately 13,000 - 15,000 years ago. 

Many scientists have stepped forward to question the results presented in this paper, and while a few have raised questions about the number of haplotypes found in the near 100% homology to human mitochondrial DNA sequences, the real issue has been the nuclear DNA. 
Nuclear DNA holds the information inherited by both parents, unlike the mitochondrial DNA which only holds information inherited by the mother.  

Ridgerunner is a member of the BFF and a Molecular Biologist with 30 years experience in functional genetics. He is not what I could call an "armchair scientist." He had he following to say:

During fertilization, the genomes from the two parents recombine, having cross-over events along the chromosomes at regions of homology, creating a novel hybrid chromosome. Given that mammals have similar size genomes, and primates even more so, the resulting hybrid chromosome should be of similar size to human if that is the maternal side. So the whole genome should be 3Gbp and the chromosome 11 135Mbp, give or take say 10%.  The size of the contigs (Dr. Ketchum) has provided (2.7Mbp, 2.1Mbp, and 0.53??Mbp) ,while appearing to expand the whole of human Ch11, are simply way, way too short if they are meant to represent the whole chromosome.”

Many of the critical reviews of the paper that I have read, have said that we must wait for Dr. Ketchum to release more data. "Only 1% of the data is there." But they’re wrong. The contigs are homologous to human chromosome 11, but it’s still only 2% of what should be there. (solely based on total DNA content the contig size of 2.7Mbp and the Hu Ch11 size of 135Mbp). 

In conversations with Troy Hudson, a spokesperson for Dr. Ketchum who has been very patient and tried to explain things to the best of his abilities, reiterated that fact multiple times. 

All the answers to the questions people have are in the paper and data"
“The scientists and journal peer review passed it and understood it, why can't everyone else understand, but again that is why some of her scientist that worked on writing the paper said, not everyone will understand the results, because they do not work in genetics and DNA on a daily basis.”
Melba said everything is in the paper, except the physical samples.”
“No no, she told me and I told you everything is in the paper.”
The paper contradicts Troy and Dr. Ketchum's claims though. 

"The DNA from these three samples was sequenced using the next generation Illumina platform at the University of Texas, Southwestern in Dallas, TX, a laboratory that sequences human genomes75-77On average, there were 70-110 million total reads for each sample in each lane, which is well over 90 Gb of raw sequence for each sample comprising greater than 30X coverage"Next Generation Whole Genome Sequencing section of the "Novel North American Hominins." 

The illumina sequencing is not chromosome 11 specific, so there should be more data. Could this be the confusion with the 1%  number being thrown around? Melba asserts multiple times that everything is there and it is all that is needed to prove her hypothesis. Does she think the other data won't help that proof? Or did she only request the chromosome 11 specific data? 

So if what was thought to be 1% turned out to be 100%, what does that say about the data? Did they tell me that so that others would only focus on what's there, instead of what could be missing. That would be misleading, so I'll trust that it's all of the data, but based on what's there...

"The three samples can not be the same species, and are too far removed from any biological sample to fit in with any theory of evolution and are simply not human, period!" - Ridge Runner
Contamination has been brought up by both sides of the argument, especially when related to the Q30 scores. Dr. Ketchum's paper said this:

"Q30 can also be used to determine if there was any contamination (or mixture) found in the samples sequenced.  According to Illumina, a pure, single source sample would have an Q30 score of 80 or greater with an average of 85. However, if there was contamination present in the sample sequenced, the divergent sequences would compete against one another prior to sequencing causing a contaminated sample to have a Q30 score of 40 to 50."Next Generation Whole Genome Sequencing section of the "Novel North American Hominins."
She used this reference here, which doesn't once mention contamination. The technical notes are a complete and finished project, like the paper in question is supposed to be. Q30 scores show how consistent the readings are, not how contaminated.

I attempted to contact co-authors and contributors listed in the paper and either didn't get a reply or was told they only did sequencing and did zero analysis on the paper. Some had never read it or offered no comment on it if they did. 

For the record, I am not attacking Dr. Ketchum. I adhere strictly to the “attack the argument, not the arguer” mantra. I am a reporter and have a need to find the truth. If something doesn’t sit right with me, I will obsessively dig into it until I find the answers. It’s an admitted flaw, but one that helps in what I do. 

When I initially inquired about the questions with the data, I was contacted by Troy and after explaining my position, was invited to submit a few questions that would be forwarded to Dr. Ketchum. The answers stalled mainly because of the confusion related to the “1% data” that was finally explained above. There was a constant repeat of the reluctance to deal with anyone in the Bigfoot community. 

As a writer that didn’t sit right. As a reporter, I took it as a challenge. It made me want to dig deeper. And I have much more information than is listed here, but sources do not wish to come forward at this time. I have my own ethical standards to uphold as a journalist. 

To Dr. Melba Ketchum and anyone else involved, I welcome a response. The truth will always be accepted here. If anything I wrote is incorrect, please correct me. I will evaluate your comments and if warranted post an update immediately and apologize publicly.

I have no position on whether Bigfoot is ape or human, or if it's real or not real. I'm not trying to prove anything. I only care that what is put out as fact is accurate and truthful. If there's more data, release it and I'll make sure it gets into qualified hands that will give an unbiased analysis. 

**Edited out this section until I can find my initial copy of paper that shows the changes. I can't print something as fact without the proof to back it up. Until I find it,  I apologize for my mistake. **

(Note - this timetable has been edited out of the latest online version of Dr. Ketchum’s paper - “Novel North American Hominins.”)

Publication of a scientific research paper is supposed to be the final stage of that research project. What are the ethical implications of editing the paper without a change log? Does this fall on the journal or the author? Both?