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 Posted: July 1st, 2014 11:44 PM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top


Here's the request for comment we received from the Senior Correspondent for Discovery News in London. Below her request you will find the response from Matt Moneymaker, president of the BFRO:

From: Jennifer Viegas
To: ContactUs@BFRO.NET
Sent: Monday, June 30, 2014 10:53 AM
Subject: Discovery News Query re. Royal Society Papers on Bigfoot

Dear BFRO Directors,

I am a senior correspondent for Discovery News, the news service for the Discovery Channel. I am preparing a piece on the new Royal Society papers, attached, concerning the DNA analysis of hairs attributed to Bigfoot, as well as to Yeti and anomalous primates. Please share your thoughts on the research, and whether or not you agree with the conclusions. What evidence now holds that Bigfoot exists? A prompt reply would be appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

All Best,
Jen Viegas

--
Jennifer Viegas
Senior Correspondent
Discovery News, the news service for the Discovery Channel
__________________________________________________




Hello Jennifer (senior correspondent for Discovery News),

This is Matt Moneymaker. I'm the president of the BFRO.

Here's my opinion about the "Royal Society Papers on Bigfoot" which I shall refer to as "the Sykes study":

The Sykes study is meaningless scientifically.

The actual DNA analysis by Sykes' team was surely performed with the highest integrity and accuracy but the overall effort was already corrupted by that point. It was corrupted at the sample inclusion stage.

Note: The BFRO did not provide any of the North American samples, nor did we endorse those few samples from North America that were focused on in the associated TV program. None of the "bigfoot" samples that came from the US had a strong *credible* connection to a bigfoot sighting or some other credible corroborating evidence (i.e. footprints). The Asia samples had even weaker connections to Yetis.

Much of the DNA work on was directed at samples that were obviously from bears from the start, or were strongly suspected of being bear, or otherwise had a story attached that would provide better content for the well-hyped TV documentary.

Here's part of the flimflam in the Royal Society paper attempting to whitewash the corruption at the sample inclusion stage:

"Of these 58 samples, two were excluded as being non-hair and only 37 of the remaining 56 samples were selected for DNA analysis. The 19 samples excluded from DNA analysis were so designated for a variety of reasons including budget constraints, prioritization of samples of particular historical interest and amount of material available. In this reduced sample, seven of the samples selected for sequencing yielded no DNA. However, all of the 30 samples that did yield DNA contained base-pair sequences that were 100% compatible with known mammal species, though in certain instances the hair sample was reported to have been obtained from a region well outside the speciesí known geographical range."

I could pull this apart all day long ... It renders the whole study meaningless. According to this statement, some samples were excluded based on "prioritization of samples of particular historical interest". That's a clever way of saying a few samples provided better fodder for the TV documentary, and thus received most of the scientific attention.

Even before that point ... "19 of the 57 samples" were "excluded" from the study because it would have taken much longer to find and/or extract sequence-able DNA ... in most cases because there was a relatively small amount of material in the sample (i.e. only a few hairs in the sample ... like MOST authentic bigfoot hair samples).

After that elimination round, seven (7) more samples yielded "no DNA at all."

Hence, according to the study itself nearly half of the DNA samples came from species that could not be identified, because those samples did not yield a sufficient amount of DNA to be amplified and analyzed.

Most people don't understand how it could be more difficult and more expensive to extract DNA from an authentic bigfoot hair sample, and thus why those samples would be more likely to be excluded.

One reason is related to the size of the hair sample (the number of hairs in the sample) and how that increases the difficulty in pulling DNA from the sample. A larger clump of hair will provide more DNA without much fuss, so a larger clump of hair is more likely to be included.

Bigfoot hair is not typically found in large clumps.

The other factor is the nearly non-existent medulla structure (the core of the hair that holds most of the DNA) in samples that have long been thought to be authentic bigfoot hair samples (none of which were included in the study).

If hairs of bigfoots have almost no medulla structure it will be much more difficult, and more time consuming, and thus more expensive, to extract sufficient DNA ... unless there are hair follicles (roots) still attached that are relatively fresh.

For those reasons, any authentic bigfoot samples that might have been part of the original 57 samples available to Sykes ... had a higher probability of being excluded.

The 30 samples that were included in the Sykes study were, for the most part, the ones that easily yielded DNA of known species. Most were hair samples with plenty of material (i.e. a lot of hair), provided by people who simply found a clump of hair in the woods and then wondered (or hoped) that the hair was from a bigfoot. I say "probably" without knowing the actual specifics of each sample because that's USUALLY the case for most hair "possible bigfoot" hair samples that get sent to a scientist. It has always been that way. And those larger clumps of hair found in the woods have always come from animals that are much more numerous (e.g. bears), as one would expect.

Unfortunately there's no way to know if ANY of the samples from North America had any connection with a credible witness who had a close encounter, during which the observer actually saw the bigfoot leave clump of hair behind.

Unless the sources and circumstances of each "bigfoot hair sample" were to be documented and released, I would assume the hair samples were simply found in the woods by layman finders who wondered if they could be bigfoot hairs ... Nowhere is there documentation for how each non-excluded sample was collected. Again, none of the samples examined by Sykes came from the BFRO, nor did he ask for any from us.

I don't want to pillory Sykes because I do believe, based on a close viewing of the documentary, that he was put in a difficult position. He was asked to perform a study that he was honestly interested in, and he was paid to perform that study, but with a budget and calendar that was destined to yield inconclusive results.

The important conclusion that SHOULD emphasized in the media right now:

NEARLY HALF OF THE SAMPLES IN THE SYKES STUDY COULD NOT BE IDENTIFIED.

The ugly truth underlying the Sykes study is that the DNA samples were "prioritized" to help yield more conclusive results for a TV documentary. The Royal Society Paper had to be consistent with that TV documentary.


Matt Moneymaker




 
 
Coop
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 Posted: July 2nd, 2014 03:03 AM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

Good to know Matt Moneymaker issued a response and a well thought out one.
I'm sure they were expecting a surrender.

After reading the early press releases, I have to admit I was disappointed at first blush.
I was hoping to hear some positive news about further evidence for the existence of Sasquatch.
Yeah, I'm disappointed, but I'm not defeated, in fact, I'm invigorated and kind of freed up now from wondering what the results of the study would be. As Matt pointed out, there were some flaws in the selection process.
I think we should take some inspiration from this moment. Success doesn't mean never failing, it means never giving up, after failing.
Now every new expedition is even more important. Every hour in the woods even more valuable.
I just see possibilities not dead ends from this news.
The quest continues.

There's still plenty of work to do ahead, evidence to track and tons of good people out there to do it.





May the Forest Be With You.
 
 
patvince
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 Posted: July 2nd, 2014 07:13 AM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

One is happy about Sykes' conclusions about the yeti results (ie bear) : Reinhold Messner, who always claimed " the yeti" was in fact a "bear".......which i totally disagree with him, even after read twice his book (last time few weeks ago) i still don't know how he could think he has seen a "bear" running on two legs......
R.
 
 
alphadog
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 Posted: July 2nd, 2014 09:09 AM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

Well thought out response by Matt and it needed to be done. Since last fall I kind of already knew this would be the conclusion by the Royal Society which had been corrupt since the days of Sir Issac Newton, that being what and who is included and excluded. It is a good ole boy network. The first show of the Bigfoot Files hosted by an Englishman named Mark Evans who had absolutely zero working knowledge of the Sasquatch field and failed miserly in an attempt to associate double step bear tracks with bigfoot tracks was at best laughable and it went on from there. It was clearly evident that the production company, I think Icon Films, had an agenda that was purely anti bigfoot and that both Evans and Sykes were mostly pawns in their game, as were the American witnesses that were interviewed like Derek Randles and Justin Smeja who unknowingly were cleverly edited to make them out as kooks, something the know nothing main steam media has been doing for many years now.

The exclusion of the BFRO is also a huge red herring about where this was intended to go whether Sykes new it or not and most likely he did not at least in the beginning.
What now needs to happen is going to take massive funding from some source be it Wally Hersom or some other rich benefactor or group ( it will not come from gov't grants ) to set up a single national clearinghouse lab/institution for the sole purpose of doing DNA analysis on any sample provided in a highly scientific method and setting up a data base to catalog everything for current and future use.
Chuck
I have a tremendous interest in learning as much as I can about Bigfoot. I live in Darke County, Ohio, however I go to the Huron National Forest in Michigan several times a year.
 
 
meuler
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 Posted: July 2nd, 2014 09:44 AM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

Quote:
Coop wrote:

I think we should take some inspiration from this moment. Success doesn't mean never failing, it means never giving up, after failing.



Well said.
Matt
 
 
franqurolane
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 Posted: July 2nd, 2014 10:44 AM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

So, does this paper "Change our understanding of human history"?
 
 
Roboron
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 Posted: July 2nd, 2014 12:36 PM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

Excellent response!
Now let's see if that gets any news.

R.Boles
BFRO investigator for the Ozarks
" IF Theodore Roosevelt believed,why can't I ?"
 
 
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 Posted: July 3rd, 2014 01:43 AM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top



Good work Matt, that's probably the most succinct and accurate explanation of the faults in that study that I've ever read.


I remember being baffled by the inconsistent reasoning used again and again on that show:

The hair sample from the Himalayas didn't actually come from the Himalayas at all, but rather from a taxidermy "Yeti" purportedly made from the hide of a genuine yeti... they even avoided showing this taxidermy oddity properly, because it was very obviously a "Non-descript", a fanciful monster made from an ordinary animals hide to show off the taxidermists skill. (Every Victorian era estate/manor-house would have such a conversation piece: a display case of genuine dragon scales (pieces of mica); genuine Papa New Guinean shrunken heads (actually pig scrotum skin stretched over a diminutive wooden carved head of horrified expression); or a genuine fairy turned to stone by the darkest magics (kids are bored by ordinary porcelain fairies)).

Non-descripts are well known oddities: P T Barnum constructed a "sea-monster skeleton" from a hippo skull arranged with hundreds of sheep ribs and vertebrae. Cambridge and Oxford universities both have fully articulated "centaur fossils" on display: made from pony/dog skeletons affixed to monkey torsos. I believe there are a few gun shops in the US with mounted "Sasquatch heads": made by taxidermists indenting glass eyes into the buttocks of a buck rump and using scrotal skin to create a nose and mouth (which inevitably holds a set of plastic Halloween vampire fangs).


Claiming the Yeti might be a bear, because hair taken from a taxidermy Fortean oddity of an albino monkey creature (the owner of which CLAIMS is a yeti) was matched to an extinct polar bear is just ridiculous.

That's equivalent to claiming Abraham Lincoln must have been a boulder because samples taken from the Lincoln Memorial turned out to be marble.


All they managed to prove on the show, was that hair taken from a taxidermy "Non-descript" turned out to be from a polar bear... meaning a polar bear hide was used to make the non-descript display piece/oddity. You couldn't take hair from a throw rug, identify it as lion mane and then conclude that everyone who's ever reported seeing a throw rug must be mistaken, having actually all seen African lions instead...?

Interviewing a mountaineer who saw a bear in the Himalayas doesn't fix this type of faulty reasoning... but that's what the show did.


It's also disingenuous to claim the link to an extinct polar bear variant (extant prior to the end of the last ice age: 12,000 years ago).

That's because the bear family genome is poorly sequenced and there is still quite active academic debate as to which genetic markers are best used as taxonomic targets. A recent scientific paper on the subject showed rather conclusively with exhaustive DNA sequencing that the modern global population of polar bears are all descendents of a population of Irish bears from approximately 14,000 years ago.

That was reported in the popular media as: "Scientists Prove Polar Bears Came from Ireland"


But what the DNA actually showed, was that during the last Glacial Maximum (height of ice coverage during the last Ice Age) polar bears were forced south across the globe into new feeding grounds (seals and birds are found at the coast/sea-ice-edge, game is in forests: not on barren ice), such as central Russia, central United States, Mongolia, China and even Doggerland (the land bridge encompassing Ireland and the United Kingdom and extending all the way to Scandinavia in the east and Spain in the south: created by much lower sea levels).

So the polar bear population, forced south by the ice sheet went from being a circumpolar population to being three or four distinct/separated populations:
-a North American population, which interbred somewhat with (extant) grizzly bears and (now extinct) short-faced bears (the monstrous giant cave bears of Indian legend).
-an Asian population which presumably interbred with whatever suitable bear species could be found in Asia (the fossil record is sketchy; but keep in mind, a short-faced/Giant Cave Bear was supposedly shot and killed in northern Russia as recently as 1974)
-and a Eurasian/Doggerland population (presumably separated by the Ural mountains) which interbred with, among other species, the Irish Cave Bear

Hence, the DNA shows that the modern (circumpolar) polar bear population is descended from a re-mixing of the regional populations of polar bears separated by the last Ice Age (and presumably a similar remixing and separating of the population the Ice Age before that, and the Ice Age before that... etc). One of those separated populations interbred with the Irish Cave Bear somewhere in Doggerland... and since the last Glacial Maximum, re-integration of the polar bear populations in the Arctic has mixed this Irish Cave Bear DNA thoroughly throughout the circumpolar modern polar bear population/genome.


Best practice would have been to note that the taxidermist who constructed the yeti-mannequin with polar bear hide, seems to have somehow sourced a polar bear hide which has a DNA match with certain polar bear alleles only previously seen in archaic polar bear fossils.

WITH THE CAVEAT that we don't know enough about the bear family genome to be sure which allele markers are definitively taxonomic for each individual species.


You certainly can't claim that people are reporting seeing black/brown/reddish/auburn/white bipedal hairy hominids in the Himalayas... but they must actually be seeing polar bears because someone used a polar bear hide procured from God-knows-where to make an albino monkey mannequin... and called that a yeti...?

For corroboration, here's an interview with an accomplished climber who saw a bear (not a polar bear) in the Himalayas...?


Could I coat a clothes store mannequin in iguana skin, call it a Yankee, then claim to have DNA proof that North America is populated by lizard men?




Also:
Why not interview Jeff Meldrum (the recognised world authority on Bigfoot/Sasquatch hair) regarding the absent-medulla problem? and difficulties sequencing Bigfoot/Sasquatch hair?

This very problem was the reason I tried so hard to get the DNA Research Team at Waterford University (here in Ireland) to take some Sasquatch scat samples for their d-loop mitochondrial DNA amplification project (d-loop mtDNA is somewhat resistant to digestion and can be used to identify the species of the pooper). Instead, they're monitoring the rate of inbreeding among Canadian pine martens... real cutting edge science there.

Why not do a FULL DNA sequence of Khvit's skull? (or Zhana's for that matter? Igor Burtsev actually has Zhana's skull too!)

If I ran a DNA lab and someone gave me the skull of a large man who was supposedly the offspring of interbreeding between humans and an Almasty hominid, I'd investigate further than simply identifying the mtDNA as being some sort of sub-Saharan African Black.

Especially if I'd personally met eye-witnesses who claimed to have seen Zhana and insisted she was a hair covered sub-human hominid...

Especially if I suspected Zhana might be best explained as a member of a relict population of very ancient proto-homo-sapiens isolated in the Caucasus's for the last 50,000 to 100,000 years...

Especially if I was perplexed by the many archaic/primitive Cro-Magnon features present in Khvit's skull...

Imagine:
"Subject is the skull of a large adult male... purportedly the product of interbreeding between a Caucasian Russian male and a domesticated pelted Almasty hominid female. The brain case is apparently modern human, with a high vault and lacking any indication of a Neanderthal occipital ridge or bunning... however the jaw, brow, face, teeth, nasal cavity, eye-sockets and forehead are all so far to the extreme end of robustness seen in modern homo sapiens that the subject skull has very much of the appearance of a large, primitive, early Cro-Magnon."

"A very CURSORY mtDNA sequence indicates the maternal parent of the subject was of sub-Saharan African extraction... a sub-Saharan African black female; living wild in the Russian Caucus's in the nineteenth century, mute, unclothed, inured to the cold and covered head to toe in long dark hair... who was then domesticated and bred with to produce Cro-Magnon children..."

"Yep, best put this skull back on the shelf, and not do any further DNA sequencing. It's probably just conclusive evidence of a breeding population of proto-human Homo Sapiens Ethiopicus living wild in the Russian Caucus's isolated from the modern human population for the last 50ish thousand years."

"Yep, no mystery here... move along. i don't want a Nobel Prize anyway"


**** drives me crazy.

-Luke Molloy
Erstwhile Monster Hunter
 
 
Coop
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 Posted: July 3rd, 2014 03:04 AM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

Quote:
franqurolane wrote:
So, does this paper "Change our understanding of human history"?
I know. That had me thinking there was going to be some sort of major breakthrough somewhere. Typical T.V.B.S.
May the Forest Be With You.
 
 
monkeychaser
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 Posted: July 7th, 2014 12:57 PM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

If this is the same TV program I'm thinking of, I did find it interesting that they "found" older human/hominid DNA strain in Zana's son. If that is actually true, it does explain a lot. Perhaps descriptions of physical features and height are exagerated by witnesses to match their shock and fear when seeing one. There does seem to be an unconscious desire to portray these as large, dangerous carnivores.

As for not doing further study on the skull; how could they do a follow-up TV special if they disclosed EVERYTHING on one show? Follow the money.

Speculations and musings on my part.
Bill Brewer, NorCal division
 
 
chipho
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 Posted: July 7th, 2014 02:48 PM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

Thanks Matt for explaining what the media didn't in regards to the "samples" that were tested in the study. I truly was hoping this study would yield conclusive evidence of large undiscovered primates inhabiting different parts of the planet. Without incurring the wrath of my fellow "Squatchers" I truly believe only a body will suffice to show the world these beings exist. Then maybe they can be protected but that may be just a pipe dream too! Thanks!

Chip
chipho
 
 
monkeychaser
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 Posted: July 7th, 2014 09:27 PM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

The "Mermaids" mockumentaries have forever clouded any of these shows with a pall of suspicion. Even a legitimate study revealed via TV show will come off as another mockumentary.
Bill Brewer, NorCal division
 
 
drtom
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 Posted: July 17th, 2014 07:50 AM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

To Matt Moneymaker:

"The Sykes study is meaningless scientifically.

The actual DNA analysis by Sykes' team was surely performed with the highest integrity and accuracy but the overall effort was already corrupted by that point. It was corrupted at the sample inclusion stage.

Note: The BFRO did not provide any of the North American samples, nor did we endorse those few samples from North America that were focused on in the associated TV program. None of the "bigfoot" samples that came from the US had a strong *credible* connection to a bigfoot sighting or some other credible corroborating evidence (i.e. footprints). "

Sooooo, as you have admitted that Prof. Sykes' team carried out the analysis with integrity and accuracy, why don't you make available to him a sample that has a"credible connection" to a Bigfoot sighting?
You have basically cried foul here by suggesting the "wrong" samples were analysed.
Here's your chance to put forward the best sample you have access to.



 
 
narrowfoot
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 Posted: July 17th, 2014 12:12 PM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

Sykes is one of the foremost experts in the DNA field. Surely drtom's suggestion is an excellent one, assuming the Sykes lab would accept BFRO input. I seem to remember that they are willing to analyze more samples, but at the expense of the sender.
"Technological advances are not limited to human populations."
 
 
Kevin25
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 Posted: July 18th, 2014 04:54 AM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

I am still a bit baffled.

What samples, if any, were submitted by the BFRO?

Where any Ketchum samples included? This might have helped solve the controversy over those results.

Are there any samples out there that have a really strong chance of success that could be submitted? (Would need wealthy person to cover the cost).

There just seems to be the air of a wasted opportunity as any "successful" result would have been accepted by most scientists and moved things forward.
 
 
epostman421
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 Posted: July 18th, 2014 10:10 AM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

Matt stated in his letter to Discovery News that they did not submit any samples.

"Note: The BFRO did not provide any of the North American samples, nor did we endorse those few samples from North America that were focused on in the associated TV program. "
I believe.....
 
 
HobsSquatch
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 Posted: July 18th, 2014 12:11 PM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

Quote:
Kevin25 wrote:

Where any Ketchum samples included? This might have helped solve the controversy over those results.

"As the sequence of mitochondrial 12S DNA segment is identical in H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis, amplification and sequencing of mitochondrial DNA hypervariable region 1 (bps 16000 - 16400) of no. 25072 was carried out and identified the source as being identical to the revised Cambridge Reference Sequence [11] and thus H. sapiens of likely European matrilineal descent."

(regarding the Ketchum sample no. 25072)

I want to know what happened to the "sub-Saharan African" result from Kwit's skull? Sykes admitted in the documentary that this result could mean relict hominid. How is it totally absent from the paper??
 
 
aksarben
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 Posted: July 18th, 2014 02:18 PM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

In respect to the science being conducted to identify Sasquatch DNA it is still largely conjecture without a body. Matt has rebuked the findings of the Sykes study and has litigiously pointed out the flaws. There is some evidence to suggest that Sasquatch bury their dead. Perhaps expeditions should focus some efforts in locating and identifying purported burial sights. I know this is a needle in a hay stack suggestion but collectively deserving an effort.
"We build on our collective knowledge"

Richard
 
 
Kevin25
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 Posted: July 19th, 2014 03:48 AM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

Thanks epostman and HobsSquatch.

For what reason did the BFRO not take the opportunity to submit samples to this study?

Did the likes of Jeff Meldrum have any samples for them?

Just seems like none of the credible folks dealing with this subject submitted anything at all.

Or have I got it all wrong? (again!)
 
 




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