The press release
describes Ketchum as a veterinarian with 27 years of experience in genetics research, including forensics, who has previously been published as a participant in mapping the equine genome. The release says she began testing the DNA of purported Sasquatch hair samples 5 years ago.
"A team of scientists can verify that their five-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."
Dr. Ketchum said: “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."
Ketchum claims that Sasquatch nuclear DNA is "incredibly novel" with "distinctly" non-human, non-archaic hominin, and non-ape sequences. Ketchum described the DNA as "a mosaic of human and novel non-human sequence."
Ketchum claims that their test has ruled out Homo neanderthalis and the Denisova hominin as contributors to the purported Sasquatch mtDNA or nuDNA. Ketchum said: "The male progenitor that contributed the unknown sequence to this hybrid is unique as its DNA is more distantly removed from humans than other recently discovered hominins like the Denisovan individual."
Ketchum suggests that the "males of an unknown hominin species" had sex with modern human females and produced the North American Sasquatch.
reports that Ketchum said the samples used came from researchers tracking Bigfoot.
reports Ketchum said: "Four other university laboratories have tested the samples prior to this study and they all found human DNA, so they all made the assumption that the samples were contaminated. That's why we took a forensic approach, going to two different laboratories and testing two different ways and we were very careful to avoid contamination."
Ketchum suggested that because Sasquatch are a human hybrid with modern human maternal ancestry, government must recognize them "as an indigenous people and protect their human and Constitutional rights against those who would see in their physical and cultural differences a 'license' to hunt, trap, or kill them."
But Live Science
comments that since no one has ever trapped or killed a Sasquatch and it is not even clear that the creature exists, it is doubtful they need any federal protection.
claims that the paper is currently under peer-review. The Register
reports that Ketchum said the team hadn't intended to make the news public beforehand, but that one of the Russian team leaked the information.
reports the scientific community is skeptical about the claims and that nothing can be said about it since it has not appeared in any peer-reviewed scientific journal. Live Science
suggests a "simple" explanation of Ketchum's claims: that the samples were contaminated with DNA from human handlers, and points out that no one knows how the alleged Bigfoot samples were collected or where they were found.
"How did the team definitively determine that the samples were from a Bigfoot?... If the samples were found in the wild, how do they know it wasn't left by another animal — or possibly even a hunter, hiker or camper?"
Ketchum is not the only scientist who claims to have collected Bigfoot DNA samples. Digital Journal
reported in May that a joint project between Oxford University and Switzerland's Lausanne Museum of Zoology was examining organic remains claimed to belong to cryptid creatures. Wolfson College, Oxford, also requested from the public "samples of hair and teeth of cryptids."
Bryan Sykes of Oxford's Wolfson College, working with Michael Sartori, director of Lausanne Museum in Switzerland, said: "I'm challenging and inviting the cryptozoologists to come up with the evidence instead of complaining that science is rejecting what they have to say."
also reported last month that Spike TV, in partnership with Lloyd's of London, offered a bounty of $10 million as part of its new reality television show "10 million Bigfoot Bounty," to any person or team that can first provide "indisputable evidence" to a panel of experts that Bigfoot exists.