The question of if Bigfoot exists has graduated from mysterious footprints and fuzzy images to the forensics of DNA research.
News reports last week suggesting that Bigfoot DNA evidence had been analyzed and confirmed through the peer-reviewed DeNovo Scientific Journal raised questions over the legitimacy of the publication.
Questions were also raised -- and have still not been fully answered -- about Texas veterinarian Melba Ketchum's involvement with the journal, threatening the credibility of her five-year study of various alleged Bigfoot DNA samples.
Ketchum's Sasquatch Genome Project site has released the following short video, reportedly showing a sleeping Bigfoot in Kentucky in 2005:
The video above certainly raises many questions about the circumstances surrounding an alleged sleeping Sasquatch.
- Why only show 19 seconds?
- How did the videographer get so close to the creature without disturbing it?
- What was the outcome of this event?
- Did the Sasquatch just get up and run away, or turn to attack the cameraman?
- Why has it taken eight years for this to be shown?
- Why can't the public see the rest of the footage?
Ketchum has felt that the scientific community tried to prevent her work from seeing the light of day.
"We encountered the worst scientific bias in the peer review process in recent history," Ketchum wrote on her Sasquatch Genome Project site.
"Several journals wouldn't even read our manuscript when we sent them a pre-submission inquiry. We were even mocked by one reviewer in his peer review. We did finally pass peer review with a relatively new journal," she wrote.
Over the past week, some have alleged that Ketchum somehow "purchased" a little-known journal in order to re-register it under a new name -- DeNovo Scientific Journal -- and then publish her own results of over 111 samples of reported Bigfoot hair, blood, toenail, saliva and skin.
"I'm certainly not ruling out the possibility that there was a conspiracy of sorts, or a concerted effort to not give this a fair shake, given the controversial matter," said Idaho State University anthropologist Jeff Meldrum, a leading academic and recognized scientific authority on Bigfoot.
"To make an end-run around the process by erecting a facade in the form of a so-called new journal and allege that it is edited and reviewed, without providing any of that information on the public web page, it appears that she has undertaken an effort to self-publish, just to get it out there," Meldrum told The Huffington Post. "And, to boot, she's charging $30 a pop for a copy of the paper."
Meldrum said he doesn't think any credible scientific journal would shy away from the topic simply because of its controversial nature.
"I wouldn't rule it out entirely. There are certainly politics involved in the selection of papers. If it's solid work, this is the discovery of the century, if not the millennium," Meldrum said.
"Any journal, if they were confident in the results and in the expertise of their reviewers, and it came down positive -- I would think they would clamor for the opportunity to have that on the front cover of their journal."
While this drama was played out in the media, other related Bigfoot DNA stories quietly emerged.
In Colorado, a group of researchers that contributed possible Bigfoot samples to Ketchum's study claim to have evidence that could prove Bigfoot's existence.
"This DNA is like nothing else in the world," Paulides said about strands of hair from a reported Sasquatch in Northern California. "This isn't an animal. This is a subspecies of a human, and we believe they travel in groups."
Watch this CBS 4 Denver news report here:
While this information came out of Colorado, researchers in Arizona were talking about the DNA analysis of a possible Bigfoot toenail -- and a potential sighting.
"When I saw [Bigfoot], it was lifting branches up with its arms and walking into the space through the thickets at the side of the road," said Alex Hearn of the Arizona Cryptozoological Reasearch Organization.
Hearn told TV affiliate CBS 5 in Phoenix that a resident in nearby Seligman discovered a reported Bigfoot toenail.
The toenail sample was among the materials given to Ketchum for her DNA analysis. While it's not known definitively if the toenail comes from an unknown primate, Hearn acknowledged that not everyone believes in Bigfoot.
"I don't try to persuade them. But I will show them the evidence that we found. They're welcome to come with us," he said.
Exactly how the Ketchum-DeNovo Scientific Journal issue will play out is still up in the air.
In a previous statement, Ketchum said that her Bigfoot DNA research was an important step toward obtaining some sort of legal, protective status for the alleged creature.
"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."
Check out these photos of Bigfoot through the years: