Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Ketchum DNA study: Reading between the lines

If successful the Ketchum study will not only reveal sasquatch as a flesh and blood creature but will also tell us very specifically who/what sasquatch are and where they came from. There are several possibilities:

*I realize there are very specific grammar guideling when discussing taxa (genus species), I'm sure I have made errors. I hope my ideas are still communicated.

Hypothesis #1: Homo Sapiens [Sapiens] (Human/people)
The genotype of sasquatch falls within the normal limits for Homo Sapiens. However, the phenotype is very different from "modern" humans. The genetic difference between Chimpanzee and human is extremely small (genotype) yet the physical appearance (phenotype) is dramatically different. It is possible, yet unlikely, that sasquatch are a tribe of humans. There are rumours of this because of a web domain owned by Dr. Ketchum titled "Feral Human Project."  This hypothesis would be incredibly diffficult to prove without bones or a body because of the possibility of sample contamination. Hopefully, the sasquatch DNA would still have several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) not found in know human DNA, but evident in multiple sasquatch samples/individuals. This would go a long way to validate the findings. 
Hypothesis #2: Homo Sapiens* (Human with an asterisk)
Sasquatch are Homo Sapiens with a larger proportion of genetic material that came from neanderthal, more specifically sasquatch are Homo Sapiens with 5-50% of their DNA originating from Neanderthal . Of non-African Homo Sapiens up to 4% of the DNA came from Neanderthal. Dr. Ketchum has hinted at this through her facebook page by answering questions related to Neanderthal. Since non-Africans don't consider themselves 96-99% human, sasquatch would still be considered Homo Sapiens and therefore could be accurately described as "feral humans." This hypothesis would be easy to prove, using the technique described by Eric Durand one could easily and cheaply find out where the sasquatch DNA fits relative to human and Neanderthal examples. This is hypothesis is the best case scenario, easy to prove, mind blowing, difficult/impossible to fake, difficult to refute.... If this is the case scientific journals would be eager to publish.
Hypothesis #3: Genus Homo
Sasquatch is Neanderthal, Homo erectus, or some other surviving Homo genus. DNA matches that of Neanderthal or other that has its genome sequenced. This would be controversial because scientists would demand to know where the DNA came from, and most of the samples were not collected in a manner that would not satisfy skeptical scientists. It is possible to hoax if Dr. Ketchum had access to Neanderthal DNA (for example), replicated it and contaminated samples with it. However, if samples show a Homo DNA not known to science the paper could be very successful.
Hypothesis #4: Gigantopithecus, or other ape.
To my knowledge the genome of Gigantopithecus has never been sequenced. The Ketchum DNA study could conceivably show DNA which does not match any known species living or extinct and shows characteristics of ape.
Hypothesis #5: Insufficient data
The quality of the DNA data is not enough to change any minds and will remain highly controversial. The DNA equivalent of a blobsquatch.

I'm hoping for #2 or #4.


  1. As much as I would like to see #4, I think #2 is the most likely scenario... but I just can't see how #2 can account for the sizes that witnesses claim. Whatever we find out, it will be interesting. Nice breakdown!

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