The story that just won't quit
A lot has happened in the year since I first wrote about the Ketchum DNA tests. Veterinarian Melba Ketchum (reportedly) collected over 100 samples of Bigfoot DNA from across the country and (reportedly) had the samples analyzed. The DNA was (reportedly) found to be that of a creature which had split off from the human branch 15,000 years ago, when humans hybridized with an "unknown primate." The samples were (reportedly) hair, blood, skin, and other tissue collected from locations in 14 states and Canada.
Unfortunately, in the year since the results were first announced, no one has been able to verify any aspect of Ketchum's claims, nor have the results been reproduced.
Her results were published in a scientific journal which is considered dubious at best. (The journal in question has only ever published one article, and that article was Ketchum's study.) And reputable geneticists who were asked to read the article said that even if it had been legit, the results of Ketchum's study were inconclusive at best.
Meanwhile, on the few occasions where other scientists have been able to test some of Ketchum's samples, the results have come back badly. One test came back as "a mix of opossum and other species."
Despite all the doubters, Dr. Ketchum continues to promote her cause, which is to set legal restrictions in place against hunting or killing Bigfoot. Ketchum feels that Bigfoot is a sentient creature, a relative of humans, and should receive protection under the law.
In a surprising development today, ZooBank accepted the Ketchum DNA results and created a scientific classification for Bigfoot. ZooBank is an international registry for (among other things) animal species. The new officially-recognized scientific name for Bigfoot is Homo sapiens cognatus.
However, let's not get ahead of ourselves here. ZooBank creates entries based on registration requirements, it does not get involved in validating the scientific legitimacy of these claims. In this case, everything about Ketchum's application was in order, so ZooBank accepted it and registered the name.
Meanwhile, Ketchum has been busy pushing back against those who criticize her work, saying that they are "just out there to create drama" and casting allegations of "jealousy," and accusing her main opponent (Houston Chronicle reporter Eric Berger) of switching the samples in order to make her look bad.
Unfortunately, Ketchum has succeeded only in making everyone look bad, mainly herself. In a field rife with rubber masks in frozen coolers and guys who go "squatch hunting" on television, Ketchum has certainly made a name for herself. And that's saying something.