Bigfoot is people! At least that’s according to a new five-year study of the creatures purported DNA by a prominent Bigfootologist. “Genetically, the Sasquatch are a human hybrid with unambiguously modern human maternal ancestry,” reads a statement released last weekend by former veterinarian Melba T. Ketchum, the lead researcher of the study. “Researchers’ extensive DNA sequencing suggests that the legendary Sasquatch is a human relative that arose approximately 15,000 years ago.” Yes, that would mean that Bigfoot is more man-ape than ape-man. However as the hominids are notoriously reclusive, if not entirely fictional — there has never been a single confirmed sighting — it’s unclear whether we will need to extend an invitation to our Sasquatch relatives for Easter brunch.
For her study, Ketchum “sequenced 20 whole mitochondrial genomes and utilized next generation sequencing to obtain three whole nuclear genomes from purported Sasquatch samples.” As her team interpreted their findings, the Sasquatch is a human hybrid with mitochondrial DNA identical to human mitochondrial DNA and nuclear DNA that is of “novel,” or non-human, sequence. To hark back to high school biology for a moment: mitochondrial DNA is inherited from the mother, while nuclear DNA mixes genetic material from both parents. That means that according to Ketchum’s study, Sasquatch’s parents were a human female and some unknown third species, a “novel non-human” male.
At this point it’s probably important to note that the study has not yet been peer reviewed and Ketchum has thus far refused to release her data, explain her methodology or say where she got the “Sasquatch DNA samples” in the first place. Also, according to Houston Chronicle science writer Eric Borger, Ketchum has credibility issues of her own: her company, DNA Diagnostics, has received more than two dozen customer complaints and gets an F from the Better Business Bureau. Oh, and those mysterious third-species males who were supposedly picking up human women on some kind of proto-Craigslist? According to a blogger and Bigfoot enthusiast named Robert Lindsay, earlier drafts of Ketchum’s study claimed they were angels.
The scientific community remains, unsurprisingly, dubious.”The bottom line is this,” Yale neurologist Steven Novella wrote at NeuroLogica Blog: “Human DNA plus some anomalies or unknowns does not equal an impossible human-ape hybrid. It equals human DNA plus some anomalies.”
For her part Ketchum, a Texas veterinarian who claims among her bona fides “27 years of research in genetics, including forensics,” wants Sasquatch to be immediately afforded civil liberties and protected by state and federal governments as an indigenous people. “Genetically, the Sasquatch are a human hybrid with unambiguously modern human maternal ancestry. Government at all levels must recognize them as an indigenous people and immediately 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,” she writes. We guess that would exclude a blimp hunt.