Texas is no stranger to Bigfoot sightings, but now the elusive creature is making appearances in places other than the Piney Woods—like in a geneticist’s laboratory. A Nacogdoches-based scientist released a statement November 24 claiming to have successfully sequenced Bigfoot’s DNA.
The statement, published by DNA Diagnostics Inc., reports that a team of scientists has concluded a 5-year study that “confirms the existence of a novel hominin hybrid species, commonly called ‘Bigfoot’ or ‘Sasquatch,’ living in North America.” Melba S. Ketchum, PhD., founder of DNA Diagnostics, led the team of “experts in genetics, forensics, imaging and pathology.”
As Bigfoot believers are something of a fringe group, it is perhaps no surprise that Ketchum’s claim is raising big, hairy eyebrows all over the Internet, especially among science enthusiasts.
As Houston Chronicle science reporter Eric Berger wrote in SciGuy, one of the most questionable elements of Ketchum’s release is that the study’s findings are being broadcast before they have been peer-reviewed or published. “Ketchum is stating a discovery as scientific fact before other scientists have studied her evidence,” wrote Berger. For those familiar with the peer review process, unvetted findings are tantamount to rumor and hearsay or worse: pseudoscience.
Doubtful News, a website devoted to calling pseudoscience into question, is (surprise!) doubtful about Ketchum’s news as well. “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,” they wrote November 24.
John Hawks, an anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin, was not impressed: “One benefit of the world of genetics as opposed to traditional anthropology: The original sequence data must be made available to the public. No data, no discovery.”
Could there be some other explanation for the purported results besides “the existence of a novel hominin hybrid”? At NeuroLogica Blog, Steven Novella, offered a different hypothesis: “The bottom line is this – human DNA plus some anomalies or unknowns