For one of our last Bigfoot-related stories, a commenter asked why we even cover Bigfoot material if we’re just going to come at it from the point of view that the hairy creature doesn’t exist. There are two reasons for this. One, a large chunk of our stories cover science fiction, which is clearly what most of these sighting claims amount to. Two, we’re definitely going to report on any story where someone claims to have “scientific proof” of a being that has never been proven to exist before. That’s just how we roll.
So when we — I keep saying “we” when I’m mostly talking about myself — didn’t have a lot of nice things to say whenever Nacogdoches, Texas geneticist Melba Ketchum claimed to have sequenced a Bigfoot’s DNA, it wasn’t a damning view on the possible existence on Bigfoot itself, but rather the unscientific method that Ketchum used to present her “findings.” But if you want to read the words of someone who really doesn’t have time for Ketchum’s work, look no further than Houston Chronicle science blogger “SciGuy” Eric Berger, who chastised Ketchum in one article, quick to hone in on the fact that DeNovo, the journal Ketchum’s study was printed in, seemed to have been created specifically to publish her article. Berger then wrote another story that collected the opinions of several other geneticists on the matter, all of which called her claim out as bad science.
To Berger’s surprise, Ketchum called him up and engaged him in an unbiased and grudgeless conversation. You gotta respect that. Berger became the intermediary between Ketchum and a well-respected Texas geneticist who chose to remain anonymous, as taking part in a Bigfoot study might make his colleagues look at him funny. Berger agreed not to write about the subject again until Ketchum’s DNA samples were lab tested and the unbiased truth could come forth.
And as is the case with just about every study analyzing cryptozoological data, it was found that the DNA did not belong to some mysterious undomesticated manbeast, but rather “a mix of opossum and other species.” Cue the backwards drum roll, because this doesn’t get any more exciting.
Admittedly, I wish Berger’s story went into a more detailed explanation of the testing process, but I guess he wasn’t privy to it, or didn’t think it was necessary to include. This, of course, will probably make Bigfoot enthusiasts wary of these results, but that’s the vicious cycle we’ve come to know and love.
Now feel free to check out the below episode of America’s Book of Secrets that centers on Bigfoot while I check out whatever that is in my backyard. If I’m not back in 10 minutes, call Melba Ketchum!