From the press release:
A team of scientists can verify that their 5-year long DNA study, currently under peer-review, confirms the existence of a novel hominin hybrid species, commonly called “Bigfoot” or “Sasquatch,” living in North America. Researchers’ extensive DNA sequencing suggests that the legendary Sasquatch is a human relative that arose approximately 15,000 years ago as a hybrid cross of modern Homo sapiens with an unknown primate species.
The study was conducted by a team of experts in genetics, forensics, imaging and pathology, led by Dr. Melba S. Ketchum of Nacogdoches, TX. In response to recent interest in the study, Dr. Ketchum can confirm that her team has sequenced 3 complete Sasquatch nuclear genomes and determined the species is a human hybrid:
“Our study has sequenced 20 whole mitochondrial genomes and utilized next generation sequencing to obtain 3 whole nuclear genomes from purported Sasquatch samples. The genome sequencing shows that Sasquatch mtDNA is identical to modern Homo sapiens, but Sasquatch nuDNA is a novel, unknown hominin related to Homo sapiens and other primate species. Our data indicate that the North American Sasquatch is a hybrid species, the result of males of an unknown hominin species crossing with female Homo sapiens.
So, the claim is that, genetically, Sasquatch/Bigfoot is a human hybrid. Dr. Ketchum remarks that they must be recognized and protected as indigenous people.
What is wrong with story? Oh, where to begin…
We don’t know who the team of scientists is. Melba has been silent. The collected data is suspect, the analysis is suspect, the conclusions are suspect. EVERYTHING is suspect because there is no data for anyone else to examine, the procedure and results have not yet been published and there is NO OTHER reliable physical evidence, traces or history of such an indigenous people.
To make such an extraordinary claim is to put yourself out on such a long, unstable limb! It is not how science is done, it’s how pseudoscience is done. But, let’s just say that Dr. K has results and is confident in them. She sure is in a pickle now because there is still NO paper and no hint of when or where it will be published. Much is going on behind the scenes that the interested public is not privy to. To be practical, this announcement gets us absolutely NO further to a Bigfoot discovery than yesterday or the day before. It’s still vaporware. No paper, no data, no body, no Bigfoot.
As a background, this is a long and horribly confusing and ridiculous story about how and from whom the samples were collected, who is leaking info to whom, Melba’s encounters with a family of Bigfoots, firing of publicists, rumors of publishing in Nature, promises, promises, promises… All of that will be WIPED away if only there is produced actual solid evidence of the incredible claims. The current attitude of many Bigfooters is extreme skepticism of Dr. K’s claims. It’s just been too weird of a trip. It’s also been highly unprofessional the way the whole story has played out. And so this press release continues that trend.
More news pieces from us on this story and what has shaped up to be a competing DNA project by Bryan Sykes, can be found here.
UPDATE (26-Nov-2012) There has understandably been some scientific interest in this announcement. It had many scratching their heads. They have begun to wade into the Ketchum study circus just now are discovering the long history of the project. They also have made some interesting observations. See this summary of comment clips.