Sightings of Bigfoot have been occurring since long before Europeans began colonizing the Americas. There have been eyewitness accounts, thousands of footprints examined, stories of wild, half-ape, half-men passed down by Native American tribes, and pictures and videos taken for decades of what appears to be Bigfoot (or of someone wearing a convincing a convincing Bigfoot costume). On the other hand, skeptics are quick to point out an integral piece of evidence of Bigfoot that we are missing: DNA. If Bigfoot really does exist, why haven’t we been able to identify sasquatch DNA?
Bigfoot made big news in 2013, when scientist, Dr. Melba Ketchum decided to self-publish her work which became known as The Ketchum Project. She said had found Bigfoot DNA which proved their existence. It seems that she tried to create a journal and website in order to publish her work, and the shoddy presentation of her findings quickly overshadowed the actual work itself, and her findings were hugely criticized.
She alleged that her study of possible Bigfoot DNA was not treated fairly by the scientific community, and that scientific journals would not touch it and she wasn’t able to have her work fairly peer reviewed. She was forced to create her own platform for presenting her work just so she could get her findings out there.
When the dust had settled and Ketchum’s work was finally peer reviewed, it was found that, “The DNA sequence did indeed contain matches to human chromosome 11, a lot of undetermined DNA, and some that in part matched to other animals (Hill, 2013, p. 39).” Critics maintained that her sample may had even been contaminated. Regardless of the criticism, Ketchum remained convinced she had found evidence of the existence of Bigfoot.
In 2014, a group University of Oxford researchers including geneticist Bryan Sykes analyzed thirty hair samples linked to Bigfoot and Yeti sightings from countries around the world including the U.S. Bhutan, Russia, Nepal, India, and Indonesia. The findings show that the samples are from common animals including bears, wolves, and raccoons.
Geneticist Bryan Sykes had previously linked a sample to a fossilized 40,000 year old Arctic polar bear, which was exciting news for cryptozoologists. That finding was challenged, however, and Sykes ended up admitting that his research may have been flawed and that the DNA sequence could have come from a modern polar bear. He maintained that the sample was from something similar to an ancient polar bear, and that it could have been from a polar bear or ursine hybrid. Sykes said to BBC in 2013, “I think this bear, which nobody has seen alive… may still be there and may have a lot of polar bear in it (Guarino, 2017).”
Despite the setback, Bryan Sykes doesn’t seem to be shutting the door on Bigfoot and seems eager to get his hands on some more DNA, “I don’t think this finishes the Bigfoot myth at all. What it does do is show that there is a way for Bigfoot enthusiasts to go back out into the forest and get the real thing (“Was it a Yeti?”, 2014).”
Was Dr. Melba S. Ketchum’s work unfairly criticized from all angles including the scientific and Bigfoot fanatic communities? Are we on the right track to identifying Bigfoot DNA using better science? It seems that DNA analysis of possible Bigfoot samples has only just recently begun. Is it only a matter of time until we reach a breakthrough? Or have we not found DNA evidence of Bigfoot because Bigfoot simply doesn’t exist? If Sasquatch does exist, how is it possible that his DNA could have evaded us for this long?
Guarino, B. (2017, Nov. 28). Scientists DNA tested nine ‘yeti’ samples. They didn’t find Bigfoot. Retrieved from https://washingtonpost.com
Hill, S. (2013). The Ketchum project: What to believe about Bigfoot DNA ‘science’. Retrieved from https://cscicop.org
Was it a Yeti? Bigfoot? Hair DNA reveals monsters’ true identity. (2014, July 2). Retrieved from https://nbcnews.com