The Truth About Sample 26 of the Ketchum DNA Study
(The Justin Smeja Alleged Bigfoot Shooting Flesh Sample)
- Justin Smeja claimed to have shot two Bigfoot, one adult and one infant. He could not find the adult body, but inexplicably left behind the infant.
- At a later date he returned with help to recover a piece containing hair, skin, and flesh. Since this was recovered at the shooting location it was presumed to be from one of the Bigfoot.
- Justin Smeja sent a small piece of this sample to the Ketchum DNA Study that was ongoing at the time of the incident. (Figure 1).
- Dr. Ketchum wanted to make sure this sample was from a Bigfoot and not a known animal so she had the flesh analyzed by Douglas G. Toler, MD, F.C.A.P. of the Anatomic and Clinical Pathology, Huguley Pathology Consultants, P.A. 11803 S. Freeway Ft. Worth, TX 76115. Dr. Toler determined that the skin was not human and that the tissue was not contaminated with bacteria or fungus. If the skin was from a bear or other known animal Dr. Toler would have made that identification. He did not. (Attachment 1).
- Dr. Ketchum also removed several hairs with follicles from Sample 26 and sent it to Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences (Dallas, TX) for analysis. The hair was determined not to be human or any other known animal. The hair was consistent with the Bigfoot control sample and determined to be from a Bigfoot.
- Hair Samples were also sent to Patrick W. Wojtkiewicz of the North Louisiana Criminalistics Laboratory, Shreveport, LA or DNA extraction and sequencing. The follicles were processed for DNA using a robotic extraction process to ensure no human contamination. mtDNA and nuDNA were successfully extracted and sequenced. The DNA from the hair follicles that were extracted robotically and at this independent facility matched the core sample DNA processed by Dr. Ketchum.
- Dr. Ketchum removed a core sample from the flesh to ensure no contamination. This sample contained a high quality DNA that yielded both mtDNA and nuDNA. The mtDNA was consistent with the finding of the other samples in the study with the same unexplainable anomalies found in the other 111 samples. The nuDNA did not match any DNA in the Genbank Genome Database but was consistent with the other two samples in the study that yielded a complete Genome. (Samples 31 and 140). The results were added to the study before submission to the Journal Nature for Peer Review.
- The Journal Nature acted in a very unprofessional manner. They unethically leaked the first peer review. The bloggers and other celebrities in the “Bigfoot World” used this leaked peer review to criticize both Dr. Ketchum and the study. The attacks were both personal and professional in nature and damaged the public’s confidence in the study. Dr. Ketchum was invited by the Journal Nature to make revisions and resubmit the paper for a second round of reviews. Dr. Colm Kelleher was brought in to edit, revise, and co-author the revised manuscript.
- This study and the peer review process was now going on 3 years and many in the “Bigfoot World”, and sample submitters to the study were growing impatient. The unethical leak of the first Peer Review had already inflamed many and confidence was low in the team.
- I think there was a loosely coordinated effort by the critics and detractors of the DNA Study to destroy Dr. Ketchum’s personal and professional reputation. The ultimate goal was to suppress the DNA Study and destroying Dr. Ketchum. During the second review the Journal Nature also began using delaying tactics. They requested pictures of footprints and video of the Bigfoot. This delayed the Peer Review process for several weeks as the team made calls to submitters for the requested material.
- Bart Cutino and Tyler Huggins grew impatient with the Peer Review process. They decided to take what they claim were flesh samples from the same source that was sent to the Ketchum DNA Study and have the samples tested independently. The independent test came back Black Bear with human contamination. (Attachments 2 and 3). They then began a campaign to destroy the DNA Study and ruin Dr. Ketchum based on these results. Since the study was still in Peer Review, Dr. Ketchum could not defend herself, the team, or the study. The Peer Review process requires that the submitter keep the Manuscript and the Peer Review confidential. If Dr. Ketchum had violated the confidentiality agreement she risked the Journal Nature refusing to complete the Peer Review and possibly publishing the paper.
- Bart Cutino, Tyler Huggins, Justin Smeja, Robert Lindsay, Shawn “Evidence” of the Bigfoot Evidence Blog, Jeff Meldrum, Matt Moneymaker, the group then known as “Team Tazer”, the Cryptomundo Blog, and other minor blogs seized upon this set of circumstances to savagely and unfairly criticize and attack Dr. Ketchum, the DNA Study Team, and the DNA study. They made false claims that the study was a “hoax” and made unprecedented personal attacks against Dr. Ketchum. The motive in my opinion was to destroy Dr. Ketchum’s credibility and thus destroy the validity of the study. The above mentioned groups knew Dr. Ketchum could not defend herself. All the data and documentation that she had to defend herself and the study had to be kept confidential. Those on the DNA study team could do nothing but standby and watch the critics unethically and systematically destroy the study and our hands were tied.
- In my opinion the motive for the attacks centered on the DNA Study coming to the conclusion that the Bigfoot was a human hybrid and not a bipedal unknown ape species. Most of the critics mentioned above were both professionally and financially invested in the Bigfoot being a bipedal ape. The scientific community had hinted that it would accept the possibility of the Bigfoot being a bipedal ape. I think that the conclusion that the DNA showed a human hybrid was just too much for many in the Bigfoot community to handle. Also many had built their carriers on claiming Bigfoot was a bipedal ape. The study had to be destroyed in order to keep the money flowing and save reputations. There was speculation that Justin Smeja was afraid of prosecution. I agree with this possibility and even a sympathetic friend of Cutino/Huggins, Thom Powell, blogged in support of the study and theorized that Smeja was afraid of prosecution (http://www.thomsquatch.com/2013/03/bigfoot-dna-evidence-redux.html)
- In order to continue I must define the term “haplotype”. A haplotype is a contraction of the phrase “haploid genotype”, is a set of closely linked genetic markers present on one chromosome which tend to be inherited together (not easily separable by recombination). Another way to think about it is that a haplotype is half of a genotype. Since the mtDNA of the Bigfoot in the study were found to be human it was possible to determine what haplotype the Bigfoot belonged too. This is a unique marker and if two individuals have the same haplotype then they may be related. The most important aspect of haplotypes for this discussion is that it is a unique identifier. If the flesh samples that Bart Cutino/Tyler Huggins had tested were from the same piece of flesh sent to the DNA Study the haplotypes would match.
- The DNA Study was published in the Denovo Journal (February 2013) and the documentation to refute the claims of Bart Cutino, Tyler Huggins, et al was now publically available. To review, the DNA test performed on two samples of flesh that Cutino/Huggins claimed was from the same source that was given to the Ketchum DNA Study (Sample 26) came back with the results “bear contaminated by human”. The human DNA from the two Cutino/Huggans samples had the following haplotypes. DNA Solutions reported the human contamination DNA was a T2 haplotype (Figure 3, results received 1/28/2013). Wildlife Forensics reported the human contamination of the DNA was A haplotype. (Figure 4, results received November 2012). In the Ketchum DNA Study the haplotype of Sample 26 was H1a. (Figure 5) It is IMPOSSIBLE for Sample 26 to be from the same source as the two samples of flesh tested by Cutino/Huggins.
- It is clear from Cutino/Huggins own lab reports that the haplotypes from the two samples Cutino/Huggins submitted for testing were not from the same source as Sample 26. This fact incensed Cutino/Huggins and when I blogged about this fact I was attacked by them both. (http://www.bf-field-journal.blogspot.com/2013/03/just-facts-smejacutino-flesh-sample-hoax.html). I was called a “liar” and “brain washed”. They demanded Dr. Ketchum release all her raw results from all the labs. They also challenged her to produce Sample 26 for “blind testing”. Dr. Ketchum refused to cooperate. Frankly I do not blame her, given the circumstances and the savage personal attacks I definitely would not trust them (Cutino, Smeja, and Huggins) to conduct themselves with integrity or honesty.
- The controls from the Cutino/DNA Solutions report DO NOT MATCH the controls from the Ketchum DNA paper, Table 5. Please see Attachment 4 for the side by side comparison. Again this proves it is impossible for Sample 26 to be from the same source as the Cutino Sample.
- Below is a side by side comparison showing the hair from Sample 26 is completely difference in appearance to the Cutino sample:
- Conclusion: In my opinion the two samples provided to Cutino/Huggins for DNA testing WERE NOT THE SAME as Sample 26. I can only speculate as of the motive, but it is clear to me that the main goal was to discredit the study and destroy Dr. Ketchum’s reputation. Due to the confidentiality agreements Dr. Ketchum was unable to defend the study or herself and Cutino/Huggins took full advantage of this to spread false claims, rumors, and lies. They along with the others mentioned above successfully misrepresented the study as a “hoax” and a “farce” before the results were ever made public. This crippled the DNA Study, made the major media outlets shy away, and gave the hostile scientific community more ammunition to criticize the paper without even reading it.
Sample 26 compared to samples claimed to be from the same piece of flesh
From the DNA STUDY
Supplemental Data 1
Four outside slides are reviewed which include and H&E, Giemsa, GMS and Gram stain. The H&E demonstrates skin with surface keratosis that is uniform. It includes small inclusion cysts and evaginated crypts that contain laminated keratin debris. There is a sparse scattering of benign peripheral nerves and small vessels and capillaries. No unusual inflammation or evidence of granulomatous inflammation or malignancy is found. There are a few skin appendages including sebaceous glands and a few pilosebaceous units. These include hair follicles and a few abortive hair shafts. In addition there are clustered hair follicles and hair shafts. The shafts appear solid and contain a scattering of relatively coarse brown pigment. Some of these hair shafts and clusters of hair shafts occur fairly deep in the dermal portion of the section. The dermal collagen is fairly bland and paucicellular. There are some areas with suboptimal preservation but show components compatible with skeletal muscle bundles with peripheral flattened nuclei near the epidermis. Definitive cross striations are not identified secondary to the nature of fixation. Preservation overall is adequate for review but does include some artifactual shrinkage from dehydration preservation rather than usual formalin fixative. The gram stain demonstrated a few rare structures morphologically compatible with bacterial organisms. However there is no tissue reaction or inflammation in the vicinity. These could be artifact and incidental due to processing and staining. The Giemsa does not demonstrate definitive organism and no silver positive fungal organisms or definitively identified in the GMS stain. There is some background silver positive material both in the dermis and in the surface laminated keratin debris. Some tissue remains intact in the paraffin block and could be used for additional stains or studies if warranted.
This tissue sections reviewed show sufficient preservation for adequate histologic review. The basic epidermal and dermal histological architecture and cellular constituents are intact.
Douglas G. Toler, MD, F.C.A.P.
Anatomic and Clinical Pathology
Huguley Pathology Consultants, P.A.
11803 S. Freeway
Ft. Worth, TX 76115
Addendum: It seems there are some abnormalities with abortive hair shafts, various alopecias etc. where hair follicles can be grouped. However, the clustering deeper in the dermis than the level of dermis where most skin appendages usually occur is unusual and is not generally associated with hair follicle loss as is seen with alopecia. This appeared to be hair follicle addition or at least some extra follicles, clustered and deeper in the dermal region. There was also lesser numbers of eccrine glands and even sebaceous gland/pilosebaceous gland units than you usually see in human skin. The relative number of skin appendages is somewhat dependent on which part of the body the skin comes from so that would be location specific. Some surfaces have lots of hair and others considerably more eccrine glands. It is difficult to say where the combination in these sections came from especially since the deeper dermal clustering is not usually found in human skin.
Attachment 2 and 3
Attachment 2 and 3