Alternative healer proposes legitimate species name for Bigfoot

An alternative healer with a PhD and background in entomology (study of insects) has exploited an opportunity to officially name Bigfoot as a new species. The being portrayed in a famous film that some believe depicts an actual Bigfoot has been designated the type specimen for the as-yet non-corporeal animal.

Frame capture from the Patterson Gimlin film, to date, the most discussed piece of Bigfoot evidence.

Dr. Erich Hunter, who specializes in pendulum healing, has described and formally named the animal commonly referred to as “Bigfoot” or “Sasquatch” in a self-published document based on the specimen portrayed in the Patterson Gimlin film of 1967. He has called the creature Kryptopithecus gimlinpattersonorum (Hunter 2017). The original species name was “gimlinpattersoni”. This appeared on the cover and in the released print/Kindle copy. That is incorrect Latinization since there are two persons’ names, not just one. The name should not have been altered. But sloppy Latin was just one of the serious problems in this Bigfoot naming ceremony.

Hunter published an amateurish 20-page paper through CreateSpace entitled “Kryptopithecus gimlinpattersoni, A New Species of Bipedal Primate (Primates: Hominidae) From Humboldt County, California USA” (edited to “gimlinpattersonorum” as noted above) that attempts to legitimize this new formal name under the naming code published by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN.org). Hunter, who published a Doctorate thesis on the “Systematics of Phasmida” under the name Erich Hunter Tilgner, provides no legitimate zoological credentials to support why he should be the expert to name this species. He is listed as a former alumnus of the McHugh Lab at the University of Georgia, but is currently not working in this field as his main business is as a holistic healer writing books, providing online courses for learning pendulum healing, and honoring personal requests for healing at $200 per session. Hunter took advantage of a low-bar that allows for naming new animals.

Hunter states his awareness that the ICZN allows a new species to be formally named (for all time, everywhere) based on a photographic specimen as the holotype (the individual upon which the species description and name is based). Hunter used what was, in his opinion, the “best” visual documentation of Bigfoot as the holotype. The reasoning for allowing a photo in this circumstance will inevitably be colored by your prior conclusions about Bigfoot: if you accept that the PG film depicts a real animal, the naming based on this designated holotype is legitimate. The specimen “escaped”, as Hunter argues, and all that remains of the now-presumed dead animal is the image. He uses Frame 352 of the movie which is in the public domain as the film itself is copyrighted and, thus, private. If you assume the creature in the PG film is a human in a horsehair suit – it falls under Homo sapiens and Equus caballus.

The ICZN does not allow the naming of a hypothetical animal. So Hunter attempts to demonstrate in his publication why “Patty” (as the female being is known from the film) is a genuine animal and deserving of being the official name-bearer.

I consulted Dr. Ronald Pine, Adjunct Research Associate of the Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center at the University of Kansas and the Museum of Texas Tech University, for assistance in navigating the validity of Hunter’s act of naming. Dr. Pine says Hunter simply had to follow the ICZN rules of naming and correctly establish both the new genus and species name he proposed for it to be valid.

Hunter’s publication, even though it’s self-published, is a valid form of publication for official naming. This is a real problem in naming species as many people have engaged in what Dr. Darren Naish called “taxonomic vandalism” via self-publishing in their own journals. Name-grabbing or name-bagging is not uncommon because the first name officially published is the one that must be adopted. As long as the publication is publicly available in print, or in an electronically published scientific journal that meets criteria for archiving and registered on ZooBank – the official ICZN registry, then it’s acceptable. The Code makes no judgment on the validity of the species description or characterization, not even if it really exists! The Code only provides the rules for how you can name animals and which names take precedence over synonyms.

Hunter registered the name with ZooBank even though it is not required. Melba Ketchum also registered her name for Bigfoot Homo sapiens cognatus after her ill-received self-published paper on field-collected Bigfoot DNA. The Ketchum name is NOT valid because the publication itself did not follow the rules for naming including criteria for description, defining the type specimen, locating the type specimen, and stating the species be given this name. Therefore, it has no standing.

ZooBank nomenclature act

Hunter does complete the task of describing the animal from the morphology he sees in the PG film including the following:

Pelage – Black hair covering body with varying degrees of density; muzzle of face haired; mammae covered in hair.

Head – Prominent sagittal crest; no forehead; distinct brow ridge; nose broad.

Neck – Skull atop slightly curved spine and is positioned below shoulder line; neck relatively short; robust.

Shoulders/back – Broad shoulders and back that appear gorilla-like.

Arms/hands – Powerful arms; hands not elongated; thumbs appear opposable.

Torso – Broad, gorilla-like torso.

Hips/Legs – Tailless; broad hips; well-developed buttocks; powerful legs that appear slightly bent when walking; knees do not appear to lock when walking.

Feet – Feet flat; fully adducted hallux in line with the rest of the digits. Midtarsal break evident.

He also gives estimated measurements, admitting that these will be refined at a later time based on new information. Ideally, the details should be argued within the community but, this is Bigfoot, so there is no professional community of scientists who will hash out the details and disputes.

There are two-and-a-half pages (very large font), just 643 words, on the “evidence” for the existence of the creature and the quality of the film footage. This text consists of several quoted sections of a paper by Munns and Meldrum (2013), “Surface Anatomy and Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue Features in the Analysis of the Patterson-Gimlin Film Hominid” published in The Relict Hominoid Inquiry. Part of this section includes a reference to skeptical anthropologist David Daegling (2004) who is quoted as saying that claims the film was a hoax have never been proven. Daegling’s book Bigfoot Exposed was dated the same year as that of Greg Long’s controversial book The Making of Bigfoot that some count as a reasonable (but entirely circumstantial) argument for why the PG film most certainly was a hoax orchestrated by Roger Patterson. Hunter fails to cite several other reputable sources that also support the existence of Bigfoot as a real animal rendering this document an incomplete review of Bigfoot-reality claims.

He discusses physical features he observes from the film as conclusive evidence of the creature’s validity, even though these are unverified – skin folds, surface anatomical features, hair patterns, muscle motion, and toe and hand flexion. The Munns and Meldrum paper is, again, cited as justification that the film is of adequate quality to make these biological determinations. For additional support of Bigfoot reality, he argues that it was not possible to make a realistic costume at this time. In supplying a few random weak rebuttals of common issues non-believers assert about the PG film, Hunter ultimately resorts to shifting the burden of proof by saying that no one has proved Bigfoot doesn’t exist. Along with the poor proofreading (the obvious misspelling of “gait” as “gate” twice) and lack of professional language and process displayed, this document is not comparable to the quality of scholarly scientific publications.

While the description is based on a dubious subject in a low-resolution film from 1967, it is essentially valid. Dr. Pine clarifies that even a verbal description or basic sketch based only upon a brief sighting would qualify as the basis for naming a new species as long as some distinguishing characteristics are stated and a name is properly proposed. It is disturbing to realize that anyone could have named the species before this, provided they followed the rules acceptable to the ICZN. However, Hunter failed to qualify his proposed genus name Kryptopithecus. While Hunter provides a description of the particular species, Kryptopithecus, as proposed, is without a description. I won’t be surprised if he churns out another slap-dash, unreviewed publication with the genus issue fixed, just as he casually fixed the mistakenly Latinized species name.

Several others have proposed names for Bigfoot. None, apparently, have done so officially, but that point might be debatable. This article by Loren Coleman on the BRFO website contains references to previous conditionally-proposed names that were all within existing genera. Dr. Jeff Meldrum has proposed a name for the iconic footprint, Anthropoidipes ameriborealis. Footprints are considered ichnotaxon, or traces. Meldrum is careful to describe both the genus and species in his publication with the proposed name. Tracks will have a different name as the animal who made them. This is common practice for fossil prints but, in this case, it is not a fossil but a cast of the print made from the location of the PG film site. The Code states ichnotaxa are fossil traces, not casts, thus, Anthropoidipes ameriborealis is invalid.

Major criticisms have been outlined here regarding Erich Hunter’s proposed name. All are important but, ultimately, may not matter in the big picture. From what can be determined so far, there is no other legitimate, accepted species name for Bigfoot. All other proposed names do not matter if the rules were not followed. Should remains of a genuine animal turn up that is determined to be just like that depicted in the film, there would be some appropriately giant arguments about its zoological name, though Hunter’s K. gimlinpattersonorum would have a claim. It doesn’t matter that the scholarship on this original description was shallow and shoddy. He was thinking of a creature that looked just as in that film when he named it and designated the film as a type specimen. As Dr. Pine wrote to me:

“That fact is tied up with the function that the type specimen is supposed to perform — THIS thing and no other, and forever more, is what this NAME applies to, with absolute surety, because the person who named it said so, and regardless of whatever someone might think in the future about the taxonomic identity or shared specific identity of it with other specimens might be, this is the one that the person had in mind when he/she came up with that name.”

If, after study, the animal was determined to be that of another species (either an extinct named species like Gigantopithecus blacki or modern Homo sapiens) then Hunter’s name would become a junior synonym of that designation.

Bigfoot does not exist as a real animal according to scientific consensus. It remains speculative and, therefore, no one actually cares about its name. Yet, in distilling all the various problems of this particular example, we have some unresolved issues.

The naming code allows for spurious research, non-peer reviewed publications, and poor scholarship to exist on equal footing as legitimate activities done by experienced and diligent scientists who care about making the most accurate and useful naming designations.  There is significant “taxonomic vandalism” going on that should be addressed. In some cases (such as global identification of venomous animals) it may result in measurable harm, though, in general, it undermines basic scientific integrity.

Several researchers have petitioned the ICZN to address these lapses in standards of practice, scholarship, and peer review. Quality control standards are not required by the ICZN but clearly should be, for the good of science. As such, there is now an ugly situation that results in careless naming by unqualified people for egotistical purposes.

(Edited for clarification points – use of photos was not allowed via a rule change – it was previously allowed; Hunter’s thesis was for his Doctorate degree; the ichnotaxon A. ameriborealis is unquestionably invalid.)

  24 comments for “Alternative healer proposes legitimate species name for Bigfoot

  1. Bob Jase
    November 18, 2017 at 10:11 AM

    A pendulum healer, eh? Wonder if he can heal my grandfather’s clock?

    Besides, aren’t there aleady several proposed ‘scientific’ names for bigfoot?

  2. November 18, 2017 at 10:23 AM

    As I note, there are previous names proposed. None look obviously valid and there will be big arguments if an actual animal is found to be named.

  3. November 18, 2017 at 12:21 PM

    Gotta hand it to Hunter. He’s a clever guy. Plus he exposes (I’m guessing not purposely) the existing problems in the naming code. I might be guilty of being amused by this.

  4. Bob Jase
    November 18, 2017 at 12:59 PM

    You know that and I know that, you’d think the bigfoot ‘experts’ would know that.

  5. Tim
    November 19, 2017 at 7:44 PM

    “Quality control standards are not required by the ICZN but clearly should be, for the good of science. As such, there is now an ugly situation that results in careless naming by unqualified people for egotistical purposes.”

    I completely agree with you. I say this as a professional scientist who has named four species of bacteria (all in peer-reviewed scientific journals). This isn’t the first time I’ve been shocked by the permissive standards of the ICZN. The International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes (which governs the naming of microbes) is far stricter than the ICZN, and wouldn’t tolerate this sort of taxonomic vandalism. Self-publication by “independent scholars” is a scourge of zoology and paleontology. The ICZN could tighten their rules – especially in light of how easy self-publication is these days – but won’t.

    Great article, BTW.

  6. Bob Jase
    November 20, 2017 at 8:20 AM

    Of course no one died and made the ICZN god, their power is given to them and it can be taken away.

  7. November 20, 2017 at 9:16 AM

    Well, no. It’s not a law exactly but zoology has formed a framework that includes these. Among conventions and rules from the field’s very early days. To suggest that the ICZN have their standing taken away is not going to be helpful. I understand that they don’t want to have more authority and be the police but I don’t quite see how a community of academics can agree on how to proceed if it’s not about the integrity but about some who want personal notoriety.

  8. Chuck P.
    November 20, 2017 at 10:32 AM

    The assumption here is that it is just some un-classified primate. If it were a primate, the head of one would have been on some rich guys wall 50 years ago. Sure folks report a “Gorilla-Man lookin’ critter,” but this is the beings cover. This is something incredibly weird and unexpected as to their true identities IMO.

  9. November 20, 2017 at 11:14 AM

    So you are saying that Bigfoot is paranormal? Or supernatural? That’s even a bigger leap than saying it’s a new species.

    That is an entirely separate discussion that requires a massive amount of justification that ‘IMO’ doesn’t cover. So it isn’t appropriate for this discussion.

  10. Bob Jase
    November 20, 2017 at 12:13 PM

    Still, if the ICZN want to make rules then it should be willing to enforce them at least by issuing statements directed specifically towards misuse of the rules and be willing to withhold approval of names. They owe the community that relies on them the assurance of their credibility.

  11. Erich Hunter Ph.D.
    November 22, 2017 at 1:53 PM

    I am the author and will address the criticisms of my work below:

    “exploited an opportunity to officially name Bigfoot as a new species….”

    -Exploited is wrong term. That is your personal judgment, but not what I did. I merely described the species according the rules of nomenclature.

    “The original species name was “gimlinpattersoni”. This appeared on the cover and in the released print/Kindle copy. That is incorrect Latinization since there are two persons’ names, not just one.”

    -This error was fixed almost immediately. I accidentally released an early version that I believe only 4 people saw. The incorrect name has been fixed and if you contact me I will send you correct version of paper.

    “Provides no legitimate zoological credentials to support why he should be the expert to name this species….Hunter clearly took advantage of a low-bar that allows for naming new animals.”

    -This is a personal ad hominem attack that has nothing to do with the merits of my paper, or my hypothesis that the name is valid. Anyway, I don’t wear my academic credentials on my sleeve. I have an Ivy League education, a M.S. and Research Ph.D., I have described a new species in the past and have several peer reviewed research articles in prestigious journals, including a brief pub. In Science Magazine. My credentials don’t matter, however. The paper stands on its own and I am not relying on credentials, or authority, to make my case.

    -Also, I had to self-publish because no one would accept this for publication. The scientific establishment a priori rejects the hypothesis of Bigfoot (see my study) so the established journals would not even consider this hypothesis no matter how much evidence there is. Anyway, I followed the rules like anyone else naming a new species.

    -Regarding Patterson Film…It can be widely viewed on the internet and also there are copies being held by authorities like Meldrum. Also, many new species are, were, in private collections and no rules against that according to ICZN. Also it is being described as a “lost holotype” so it doesn’t matter.

    “This is a real problem in naming species as many people have engaged in what Dr. Darren Naish called “taxonomic vandalism” via self-publishing in their own journals!”

    -As I said in my paper what I did is common practice. If you have a problem with it change the rules. Also, it is your opinion that the taxon doesn’t exist, but the whole point of the paper was to present evidence contrary to that view, to bring this topic into the fold of science. Where is your falsification of my ideas? You don’t seem to have any other than ad hominem attacks.

    -Also, the idea of taxonomic vandalism” is a subjective argument against ideas you don’t like. If you don’t think Bigfoot is real why do you care anyway? I think the evidence in this paper threatens your belief system because the evidence is strong and you are worried that this species may be real. All new ideas in science are met with hostility. That is normal. At least I have now clearly made the case for the existence of Bigfoot and it is up to scientists to falsify the idea with evidence which is the nature of scientific progress.

    “Melba Ketchum also registered her name for Bigfoot Homo sapiens cognatus…”

    I was not aware of this study, but it still has no impact on the name I gave for several reasons.

    1) Homo sapiens is already a name in use, so no new taxon was created.
    2) Subspecies are not given formal names in taxonomy
    3) They did not follow the rules of naming new species. Registering it in ZooBank is not enough. You need to make a description, designate a holotype, etc.

    “Bigfoot Exposed was dated the same year as that of Greg Long’s controversial book The Making of Bigfoot that some count as a reasonable (but entirely circumstantial) argument for why the PG film most certainly was a hoax“

    -Making of Bigfoot” is hearsay evidence and has no bearing on my hypothesis. It does not falsify any of the evidence presented to support my hypothesis. Even if Patterson had said The PGF was a hoax on his deathbed, his own movie footage would contradict this statement and it would have no bearing on the status of Kryptopithecus gimlinpattersonorum.

    -Also, I never claimed that I did a full literature review, because I only focused on relevant literature.

    “He discusses physical features he observes from the film as conclusive evidence of the creature’s validity, even though these are unverified.”

    How do you verify them other than by making reference to them? They are seen in the movie, seen on real hominids. How else can you verify when actual specimen is a lost holotype?

    -Also, evidence is evidence. I never said it was conclusive, but it is very strong evidence. Still if it can be proven to be incorrect I would welcome that if done in a scientific manner. The problem is what you are arguing is dogmatic and not science. You are saying to ignore all evidence because of a preconceived belief you have which is not the way science should work.

    “For additional support of Bigfoot reality, he argues that it was not possible to make a realistic costume at this time. In supplying a few random weak rebuttals of common issues non-believers assert about the PG film…”

    -They are not weak random rebuttals. I definitively show that every argument made to debunk the film is flat out wrong and I even backed it up with peer reviewed research where possible.

    -Thanks for pointing out typos. They are fixed now. I am only human (and not a bigfoot ha). Still it has no bearing on the quality or rigor of the ideas presented.

    “While the description is based on a dubious subject in a low-resolution film from 1967…”

    Many frames are of exceptional clarity as pointed out in the paper. Nothing dubious about the subject. Lots of evidence in the film itself that it is a real animal and not a human.

    “I won’t be surprised if he churns out another slap-dash, unreviewed publication with the genus issue fixed.

    -It is a monotypic genus and the diagnosis is the same for the genus and species. It would have been redundant to report that. It is obvious in the description, as I presented the genus and species name simultaneously as new.

    “Meldrum is careful to describe both the genus and species in his publication with the proposed name.”

    -Actually, he did same thing I did but in a different format. He diagnosed genus and then said species has the same description and diagnosis. In my case it is implied and obvious from the text.

    “Tracks will have a different name than the animal that made them. This is common practice for fossil prints but, in this case, it is not a fossil but a cast of the print made from the location of the PG film site. The Code states ichnotaxa are fossil traces, not casts, thus, Anthropoidipes ameriborealis is invalid.”

    -His naming of the tracks was unconventional but not invalid. The Patterson footprints could easily have been faked, however. This is why species described from animal remnants should be given different names that actual animals. This way if the remnants turn out to not be what you think, the name is still valid.

    “That fact is tied up with the function that the type specimen is supposed to perform — THIS thing and no other, and forever more, is what this NAME applies to, with absolute surety, because the person who named it said so, and regardless of whatever someone might think in the future about the taxonomic identity or shared specific identity of it with other specimens might be, this is the one that the person had in mind when he/she came up with that name.”

    -Sorry this is how taxonomy works. Of course, the name could be synonymized, etc. Otherwise everyone would rename species after their best friends, etc. New scientific names do not require consensus to be proposed. That is the way science works. There are not enough people in the field to get a consensus for every new species. Also, there are irrational skeptics who reject all evidence that could block the process of naming new species, or people who are competing to name new species who could hinder the process so consensus not required.

    “Bigfoot does not exist as a real animal according to scientific consensus. It remains speculative and, therefore, no one actually cares about its name.”

    -That is your subjective, and not scientifically backed up with credible evidence, opinion. They should care now. It is a valid species. Sorry to rain on your extreme skeptical parade. 🙂

    “The naming code allows for spurious research..”

    -This research is not spurious. I am attempting to scientifically legitimize something that I hypothesis to be a real animal that is of great importance to science and the general public.

    -The fact that you are attacking my study means it is not spurious, otherwise why would you care?

    -It is not my fault that other scientists have dropped the ball and not done what they should have done decades ago. There are many people who agree with my hypothesis. I was just the first person to be brave enough, and have enough knowledge, to put it in print.

    “As such, there is now an ugly situation that results in careless naming by unqualified people for egotistical purposes/”

    -Why it is ugly? The progress of science is a beautiful thing. Only a non-scientist would say what you say. Science is based on evidence and putting forth new hypotheses that other scientists can attempt to falsify. Your take on my paper is unscientific and you are also not seeing all the good things my paper has done to bring the whole Bigfoot question into the domain of science where attempts can be made to falsify it.

    -I personally think all evidence other than the PGF film for bigfoot is fake. I would love to see science falsify the idea that the PGF shows a real species. After studying the film and researching it I can come to no other conclusion than that strong evidence exists that it is real, but that hypothesis may be wrong. I would love to see someone prove it with evidence.

    -Also, I did not name this species for my ego. Do you think I want to be subjected to personal ad hominem attacks by people like you on the internet? This name was put forth because I believe that the PGF is the best evidence there is for Bigfoot and I also believe that evidence strongly suggests it is real biotaxon. I wanted to give this species a standing in science and take it out of the realm of internet kooks and conspiracy theorists. Evaluating the few scientific studies done in the past made me realize how the topic had not been fairly evaluated. I am attempting to correct this. Anyone interested in science and the scientific method should laud my work, even if they don’t agree with the hypothesis. This has nothing to do with my ego and honestly this paper is of no help to my scientific career (If I was still pursuing that in the traditional way).

  12. Bob Jase
    November 22, 2017 at 7:16 PM

    “Also, evidence is evidence. I never said it was conclusive, but it is very strong evidence. Still if it can be proven to be incorrect”

    Tell you what, how about you provide solid testable evidence for your claim first? There are huge holes in the PG film story considering what a short blurry piece of film it is.

  13. November 22, 2017 at 8:17 PM

    Haha, good luck with that! Sounds like Erich needs to do some homework. Dr. Melba Ketchum already named them Homo Sapiens Cognatus in 2013 based on DNA evidence from hair samples proving that the sasquatch are human; not animals. “Homo sapiens cognatus is the scientific name that was applied for and later published by ZooBank, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. Homo sapiens cognatus was selected since cognatus means blood relative in Latin. Since the mitochondrial DNA that determines maternal lineage was 100% modern human, the Sasquatch people are literally our blood relatives. Zoobank has officially validated the application for the name Homo sapiens cognatus for the Sasquatch people. This is the first official step in scientific recognition of the species.”

  14. John Reynolds
    November 22, 2017 at 9:23 PM

    My question, after watching the PG footage, is: why does Bigfoot have such flat, snow-covered soles? It is almost as if it was wearing boots which, if s/he is real, suggests that a career as a cordwainer may well have been on the cards or that a distinctive feature of the creature is a flat, shoe-like sole.

    If anyone could advise me on the above, I would be most grateful.

  15. Ronald H. Pine
    November 22, 2017 at 9:58 PM

    My advice to anyone who thinks that he/she is naming a new genus or species is for that person to consult the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. It is written in English (also in French) and has an index and a glossary. Thinking that there are no rules that apply to certain actions that one wishes to take in nomenclature or that you can just make them up yourself as you go along can get one in trouble.

    Concerning the original name gimlinpattersoni, it’s my understanding that the author was unaware of how to correctly form a name honoring two people, as opposed to just one, until he just happened to be in communication with someone who volunteered this information, without being asked about it. Therefore, it doesn’t seem to me as if the document with the initial spelling was released “accidentally.” At that time the author hadn’t realized that he’d made a mistake. If there were only four people who saw the original mistake, then I wonder who the other three are. I bought a printed-on-paper copy and it had the original spelling. This was some time after the 20-page document had been listed for sale, so I would assume that there might have been a number of purchasers. The author may have compounded his original error by committing a second one by emending gimlinpattersoni to gimlinpattersonorum. The Code has rules for when such changes are to be made, if they are to be made at all. The only cases that I know of, in which exactly the same mistake was made by other authors, are ones in which the change from -i to -orum was not allowed by the Code, and the original name had to be maintained.

    People who don’t “wear their academic credentials on their sleeve” don’t generally stick Ph.D. after their name on supposedly scientific articles they’ve written or in comments like those in this series. The author says that his credentials don’t matter and that his paper stands on its own. I would have to agree, but for ironic reasons.

    It’s interesting that the author refers to the existence of bigfoots as a mere hypothesis. The aforementioned Code does not recognize names provided “provisionally” or “conditionally.” The only names that are regarded as valid are for creatures which the author is assured actually exist for sure and that are separate kinds from all other kinds. Names for hypothetical creatures are not allowed.

    The author regards his “idea” as a “new idea in science” and states that all new ideas in science are met with hostility. Four points: All new ideas in science are not met with hostility (some are and some aren’t), the “idea” that there actually are such creatures as bigfoots is hardly new, I and many others would not regard that “idea” as part of science, and how other ideas in science have been received has no bearing on the author’s ideas (the old “they laughed at Galileo too” argument).

    The author shows profound ignorance of the Code when he gives reasons why Melba Ketchum’s name is not valid. Her new name is the “species-group name” cognatus, not Homo sapiens. What genus and species she put her putative new subspecies in has no bearing on its validity according to the Code. The Code certainly DOES regulate subspecific names, they ARE given formal names in taxonomy and an older name proposed as one for a subspecies takes precedence over and replaces a later name originally proposed as a species name given to the same creature. If Ketchum had actually done everything she should have done in naming the supposed subspecies cognatus and that name and gimlinpattersoni/gimlinpattersonorum were shown to apply to the same new and actual real creature, the acepted name cognatus would be the one universally used.

    The registration with ZooBank by the author, although making his publication look “sciency” was, I believe, a waste of time because it has validity only if the online version printed first is letter for letter identical with the later published print-on-paper text. And no such registration is necessary for print-on-paper editions.

    As for typos, misspellings and the like, no one engaged in anatomical writing should think there is a muscle called the “quadricep” (the singular is quadriceps). (I wouldn’t mention such a trivial matter except that the author brought up the issue of corrected spellings.)

    When one wishes to name a new genus, one has to state explicitly that he/she is doing so. Also, some characteristic or set of characteristics separating it from some other genus or genera (not species) must be given. This was not done and the new genus name has no standing, just as Sharon said. The “intent” of an author being “implied and obvious from the text” has no bearing on this issue.

    The author states that Meldrum’s name for an ichnogenus (in this case one based on a cast of a track) is valid. It isn’t. No name for any track is to be regarded as valid if that name was published subsequent to 1930 and is not a fossil track. Again, the Code is there for anyone to read. It’s written in English (and French) and has an index and glossary.

  16. November 22, 2017 at 10:32 PM

    This is entirely incorrect. Ketchum’s paper is nonsense and her name is invalid.

  17. Ronald H. Pine
    November 22, 2017 at 11:55 PM

    Ketchum’s name has no status in zoological nomenclature because she never did anything in the way of saying all the stuff you’ve got to say to make a NAME as a NAME acceptable according to the Code. All she did was say what name she would use if she ever did so. Whatever actual if any biological basis she may or may not have had for thinking that there was anything that needed a name in the first place is another issue as far as the Code is concerned. I said that if Ketchum had actually done everything she should have done in naming her supposed new subspecies, then certain hypothetical things could have followed. I never said she did such things and, as far as I know, she never did. All of that is why her name has no standing. My disagreement with “Hunter,” or whatever his name is, is that he gave reasons for saying that Ketchum’s name was invalid that were wrong. He said that her name was incorrect because it was used as a subspecies of Homo sapiens and Homo sapiens has already been named. That is an invalid reason. That fact makes no difference. He also said that subspecies names have no standing in zoological nomenclature. That statement is false. They have equal status as NAMES in zoological nomenclature as those originally given to species and can replace them as the name of the species if they have temporal priority. The third reason that “Hunter” gave for Ketchum’s name “cognatus” not being acceptable, namely that she didn’t write a description of her putative new subspecies was a correct and sufficient reason for the name having no status in nomenclature, if, in fact, she never did so. However, if she had done all of the technical name-giving tasks required by the Code, one of her supposedly tested samples from one of the actual kinds of creatures represented could be designated as the type specimen and if it could be shown that that specimen represented the same kind of creature as had “Hunter’s” gimlinpattersoni/gimlinpattersonorum, then Hunter’s name would be a junior synonym of Ketchum’s “cognatus.” “Hunter” was saying that if both his name and Ketchum’s name were shown to actually apply to bigfoots, that Ketchum’s name, although it had temporal priority, would not be used instead of his name. This is correct, but assuming that Ketchum hasn’t published something pertinent and that we don’t know about, “Hunter” was correct only for one of the three reasons he gave. I totally agree, as you say, that Ketchum’s paper is nonsense and that her name, based on what we currently know concerning what she’s published and not published, is invalid.

    (Edited 11-23-17)

  18. Ronald H. Pine
    November 23, 2017 at 11:54 AM

    In regard to a matter that I alluded to in my first reply above, I have reread “Hunter’s” paper and it can definitely be argued that since he frequently refers to his idea about the identity of the creature filmed as a mere hypothesis and its having deserved a new species name can presumably be shown for sure to be the case only if more information becomes available such as, say, the finding of an actual bigfoot body, to substantiate the existence of bigfoots, then the name is one proposed “conditionally” or “provisionally” and the Code does not recognize such names as having standing.

    (Edited 11-23-17)

  19. November 23, 2017 at 7:46 PM

    It is being discussed on the Tetrapod Zoology Facebook group that with such a short definition of characteristics, it would be difficult to justify naming K. gimlinpattersonorum. But, Ron, if a real animal did materialize and a complete description be published, would this Hunter version still stand even though it is considered provisional? Maybe the question I’m asking is why are provisional or conditional names even proposed if they don’t count if the animal ultimately is collected?

  20. Tim
    November 23, 2017 at 9:14 PM

    ” That is normal. At least I have now clearly made the case for the existence of Bigfoot and it is up to scientists to falsify the idea with evidence which is the nature of scientific progress.”

    This is just plain wrong. This is not how “scientific progress” works. You do not get to make outlandish claims, and then say “I’m right – Until someone proves me wrong!” This is what creationists say, and it’s a fallacy.

  21. Tim
    November 23, 2017 at 11:04 PM

    I pretty much skimmed Hunter’s response, all the way to the last paragraph, which I read in full. Sheesh, where to begin…

    “This name was put forth because I believe that the PGF is the best evidence there is for Bigfoot and I also believe that evidence strongly suggests it is real biotaxon.”

    No, it doesn’t. Next.

    “I wanted to give this species a standing in science and take it out of the realm of internet kooks and conspiracy theorists. ”

    Please, this bigfoot nonsense (including the PG footage) is best left within the realm of internet kooks and conspiracy theorists, where it belongs. Giving the thing a scientific binomen gives the film a veneer of scientific respectability that it doesn’t deserve. The ICZN should not be suborned for this purpose.

    “Evaluating the few scientific studies done in the past made me realize how the topic had not been fairly evaluated. I am attempting to correct this. ”

    This has been fairly evaluated. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The existence of bigfoot is an extraordinary claim. The PG film is not extraordinary evidence. It’s dubious, at best.

    “Anyone interested in science and the scientific method should laud my work, even if they don’t agree with the hypothesis. ”

    I actually found this statement offensive. Giving a make-believe creature a scientific name, and claiming to be upholding the scientific method, AND (if all that wasn’t already bad enough) wanting to be lauded for this abuse of zoological nomenclature… What utter horsesh*t. If you want to play the part of a real scientist, then show some cojones and submit your work to a peer-reviewed scientific journal. This self-publication route is an act of cowardice, trying to avoid scientific scrutiny.

  22. Ronald H. Pine
    November 23, 2017 at 11:20 PM

    The length and even the accuracy of a description of a supposedly new species has no bearing on whether the Code would dictate that that name was properly established or not. I think that it would be sufficient to give only one characteristic of the supposedly new species and even that characteristic would not necessarily have to be one that would distinguish the new species from other species. And the characteristic could even be wrong–one not found in any specimens of that species. This seems strange and some might think that the Code should be modified to change these facts. However, the only function of the Code is to tell you simply yes or no as to whether certain technical requirements have been met in order for that name to be applied to some species if it has never been named before or if it can be shown immediately or at some time in the future that all other names that have been given to that species have issues that keep them from being used. All biological-type issues, e. g., specimen identification issues, actual characteristics of specimen or species issues, classification issues, etc., etc., are left up to the zoologists who are actually studying the animals in question. This strict division of labor is actually necessary if we want to keep wrangling to a minimum as to whether a name is actually usable or not. The Code is already so complicated that to try to introduce more issues into it than are there already would make it impossible to use. If we are to say that “Hunter’s” name is to be rejected as a NAME, it must be done on other grounds than how complete or accurate his description is. Also, although his doing so should have been more explicit, it looks like he adequately designated a type specimen, and that counts for a lot as far as our being able to know what the characteristics of his supposedly new species are. We can look at the film. The Code does not recognize new names that are proposed “provisionally” or “conditionally.” If we are to conclude that “Hunter’s” name was named “provisionally”/”conditionally,” then it was invalid from the instant that it was published. We don’t have to wait for any future events such as an actual specimen of a bigfoot to turn up for us to call “Hunter’s” name into question. In the event that such an animal turned up, it would need a new name if no one prior to “Hunter”or contemporary with Hunter or since “Hunter,” or “Hunter” himself in the meantime, in a second publication, had published a name correctly. Whenever someone publishes a name “provisionally” or “conditionally,” either he/she doesn’t realize that the Code says that that name is automatically invalid, or he/she doesn’t realize that he/she may have done it sort of accidentally/de facto by an injudicious choice of wording. I have now concluded that by “Hunter’s” repeated statements than the existence of bigfoots is a mere hypothesis, and that the filmed entity is one of those bigfoots, a hypothesis that can be verified only by acquisition of an actual specimen, he is de facto making his name “provisional”/”conditional.” The Code expects you to say something to the effect that, “This is without question a new, previously unnamed species, dammit, and here’s my evidence for that.” Of course, the person making that statement could be wrong, the species may have already been named or something, but purely by virtue of that statement having been made (assuming that everything else is in order), the NAME has gotten the kind of validity that would make it possible for that name to actually come into use if certain sorts of events occur and certain sorts of judgments concerning competing names are rendered. Those are conditions that would have to be met, in order for the name to come into use, but the important thing is that no such conditions were mentioned by the person publishing the new name. I now believe that “Hunter’s” name has no standing in nomenclature because it was, de facto, named “provisionally”/”conditionally.”

  23. November 24, 2017 at 6:01 AM

    Dr. Hunter also thinks my post bordered on libel (his words) which is ABSURD. If you wish to make an extraordinary claim, or even a not so extraordinary one in science, you’d better be prepared to have it criticized. That’s how science works. Just because you self publish doesn’t mean a free pass from informal peer review.

  24. John Muir
    December 11, 2017 at 1:40 AM

    Here’s a rebuttal for Dr. Hunter. Despite being seen frequently on or near roads, no Bigfoot has ever been hit by a motor vehicle. I submit that if Bigfoot existed, this would be impossible. Everything, including humans, that walks around in North America is hit by motor vehicles. The non-profit shop in which I volunteer has over a dozen stuffed birds that were hit by motor vehicles. Population estimates of animals like deer are done in part by recording how many were hit by motor vehicles. Yet a Bigfoot has NEVER been hit? Give me a break. Of course, there’s all the other stuff, like where are the dead bodies, where do they spend the winter, why don’t they have feeding patterns, why don’t old and sick animals wander into areas where humans will see them, why can’t we find the sites where mothers with young live and all that. The big issue is how can a creature not advanced enough to
    create any means of transportation other than walking and which is often seen next to or crossing roads avoid being hit by motor vehicles, not even once? Well, Dr. Hunter?

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