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Thread: Morphology exams

  1. #1 Morphology exams 
    Forum Professor WVBIG's Avatar
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    How accurate are morphology exams for determining animal species?


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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    When a google search turns up only 34 hits I know I am not the only person who may be puzzled by the term. What is a morphology exam?


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  4. #3 Morphology exams 
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    Excuse me. I'm referring to microscopic examination of hairs
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  5. #4  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Thank you. I do not know the answer to your question, but I would think it could be pretty conclusive in the hands of experts. Chemical analysis of hairs can now reveal where people have been living and what they have been eating, so I would think identifying species should be a no-brainer.

    But that is only an opinion.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Thank you. I do not know the answer to your question, but I would think it could be pretty conclusive in the hands of experts. Chemical analysis of hairs can now reveal where people have been living and what they have been eating, so I would think identifying species should be a no-brainer.

    But that is only an opinion.
    Ah. but could they conclusively identify Bigfoot? I suspect that's what WVBIG's after... 8)
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  7. #6 Morphology exams 
    Forum Professor WVBIG's Avatar
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    Not exactly. I know they couldn't conclusively "prove" the existence of Bigfoot because there would have to already be a proven sample of Bigfoot hair for comparison. What I'm getting at is, if a hair sample is compaired to hair samples of all known animals & doesn't match any of them, is that proof, or at least solid evidence that the hair is in fact from an unknown creature?
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  8. #7  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    even if a DNA analysis of hair turned out to give no match with any known species, that would at least confirm that we're dealing with a species currrently unknown to science

    + it should be possible, by comparison with known genomes, to decide what part of the animal kingdom its closest relatives belong to (e.g. it should be possible to answer the question of whether the unknown animal is a primate)

    on the other hand if there's a match with a known species, then the identification would be straightforward
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  9. #8  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    even if a DNA analysis of hair turned out to give no match with any known species, that would at least confirm that we're dealing with a species currrently unknown to science

    + it should be possible, by comparison with known genomes, to decide what part of the animal kingdom its closest relatives belong to (e.g. it should be possible to answer the question of whether the unknown animal is a primate)

    on the other hand if there's a match with a known species, then the identification would be straightforward
    For DNA they would need intact follicles though, just hair fibres wouldn't be enough. I believe the question was about hair morphology, which must be conserved in many species, perhaps as said above an expert could do it. Though I doubt any expert on the planet is capable of recognizing every animal hair in existence. I believe previously claimed bigfoot hair had been identified as Ox hair once.
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  10. #9 Morphology exams 
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    I believe you're thinking of the alleged Yeti scalp that has been identified as an Ox or Yak scalp. Or perhaps the alleged Bigfoot hair found by two Eskimo boys 3 or 4 years ago that was determined through DNA analysis to be Bison hair. Dr. Henner Fahrenbach has twenty samples of what he is quite sure is Bigfoot hair, based on years of analysis & comparison to hairs of known animals. I believe he has also identified them as primate through comparison to known genomes.
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    Most such investigations start with "we don't know what this is" and so, yes, the conclusion from such an investigation could be "we still don't know what this is" but in no way does such a failed analysis mean "we think this is evidence of Bigfoot."

    A bone sample would be better, and DNA would allow placement within a phylogeny. I suppose som protein sequencing could be done on the hair which might allow some phylogenetics, but not much.
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  12. #11 Morphology exams 
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    It seems to me that science has no room for common sense. If you find hair that defies identification, particularly if there are indications that it's primate, in an area with at least one of the following:
    1)Bigfoot sighting reports(Especially a long history of them)
    2)Large human-like footprints
    3)Recordings of unidentifiable vocalizations
    4)Unidentifiable scat
    the only logical conclusion is that Bigfoot does exist
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  13. #12  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    For DNA they would need intact follicles though, just hair fibres wouldn't be enough.
    Hair fibres should be enough for mitochondrial DNA tests, no? You could probably get a good idea of the origin of the hair through mitochondrial DNA analysis?
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  14. #13 Re: Morphology exams 
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    It seems to me that science has no room for common sense. If you find hair that defies identification, particularly if there are indications that it's primate, in an area with at least one of the following:
    1)Bigfoot sighting reports(Especially a long history of them)
    2)Large human-like footprints
    3)Recordings of unidentifiable vocalizations
    4)Unidentifiable scat
    the only logical conclusion is that Bigfoot does exist
    Sorry, no. Were that the case, every silly notion conjectured (UFOs, ghosts, levitation, the resurrection .... ad nauseum....) would be 'proven.'

    As far as explanations for sightings of bigfoot, hoax is a good start.
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  15. #14 Morphology exams 
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    For DNA they would need intact follicles though, just hair fibres wouldn't be enough.
    Hair fibres should be enough for mitochondrial DNA tests, no? You could probably get a good idea of the origin of the hair through mitochondrial DNA analysis?
    The way I understand it, Mitochondrial DNA analysis is only good for determining if two humans are related to each other.
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  16. #15 Re: Morphology exams 
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    Quote Originally Posted by free radical
    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    It seems to me that science has no room for common sense. If you find hair that defies identification, particularly if there are indications that it's primate, in an area with at least one of the following:
    1)Bigfoot sighting reports(Especially a long history of them)
    2)Large human-like footprints
    3)Recordings of unidentifiable vocalizations
    4)Unidentifiable scat
    the only logical conclusion is that Bigfoot does exist
    Sorry, no. Were that the case, every silly notion conjectured (UFOs, ghosts, levitation, the resurrection .... ad nauseum....) would be 'proven.'

    As far as explanations for sightings of bigfoot, hoax is a good start.
    Like I said. No room for common sense.
    1)By the way, "U.F.O." stands for "Unidentified Flying Object" A top secret miliatary aircraft would fit the definition of a U.F.O. In fact, in 1975 I saw a U.F.O. But when the government revealed the stealth bomber, what I saw in 1975 became an I.F.O. (Identified Flying Object) So to say there is no such thing as a U.F.O. is technically incorrect.
    2)You think 12,000 Bigfoot sighting reports are all hoaxes? Now that's a silly notion
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  17. #16 Re: Morphology exams 
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    The way I understand it, Mitochondrial DNA analysis is only good for determining if two humans are related to each other.
    All humans are related to each other.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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  18. #17 Morphology exams 
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    Umm...Only identical twins have identical DNA
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  19. #18  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Actually mitochondrial DNA is inherited 100% from your mother so you would have identical mitochondrial DNA to your mother, grandmother, great-grandmother. With the assumption that no mutations would occur.

    I don't think hair follicles have mitochondrial DNA, but I'll dig around and see if they do >.>

    Edit: Siblings would also have identical mitochondrial DNA if they have the same mother .

    Edit2: woops I obviously meant hair shafts not follicles.
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  20. #19 Re: Morphology exams 
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    Umm...Only identical twins have identical DNA
    sure. You are still related to your grandpa though.
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  21. #20 Morphology exams 
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    But I'm not related to you
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  22. #21 Re: Morphology exams 
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    But I'm not related to you
    of course you are.
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  23. #22 Morphology exam 
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    We're both humans, but I doubt we share any relatives
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  24. #23  
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    I can't seem to find a good article that i don't have to buy! I did gather from surfing around that mitochondrial DNA can be extracted from hair shafts and that is a pretty foolproof method of species identification. Apart from hair, usefull mtDNA can be extracted from scat as well. :wink:
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  25. #24 Morphology exams 
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    According to this article, it's only good for determining ancestry
    http://www.dnaheritage.com/mtdna.asp
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  26. #25 Re: Morphology exam 
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    We're both humans, but I doubt we share any relatives
    Of course we do.

    The last human that connected us all as relatives actually lived a few thousand years ago in Asia.
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  27. #26 Re: Morphology exams 
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    According to this article, it's only good for determining ancestry
    http://www.dnaheritage.com/mtdna.asp
    Yes, within a species. The mitochondrial DNA is only inherited from the mother, so you could determine that two samples came from a certain family line, but not that they came from the same person. For that, nuclear DNA is used. But mitochondrial DNA differs between species and once a reference sample is obtained, one can determine with a good degree of certainty from which species the unidentified sample originated.

    This is a small excerpt from THIS site:
    Forensic scientists typically turn to mtDNA for:

    (1) identification of an individual when the recovered specimen contains too little useful DNA for nuDNA analysis (e.g., a hair shaft or an old bone), (2) identification of remains using a maternal relative as a reference (see discussion of inheritance patterns below), and (3) identification of species.......................Investigators do not typically sequence the entire mtDNA molecule, but instead they examine a region that shows variation that is appropriate for their purposes. D-loop sequences are used to distinguish individual humans (Holland et al., 1995) and also may be used to separate very closely related species, while protein-coding genes are most often used to recognize species.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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  28. #27  
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    The basic difficulty with the premise is that something that cannot be identified... cannot be identified. WV wishes to say that a hair sample of unknown origin would be evidence for the existence of Bigfoot. Consider the hobbit skeleton(s) found on Florenisensis. Even with detailed study of complete skeletons (and archeological digs of the site uncovering habits of these individuals) over several years, scientists have not yet determined whether this represents a separate lineage or simply humans with congenital defects.

    Hair isn't going to be sufficient, at least in my opinion. If mt DNA shows a lineage that does not appear human (or other ape like creature), then the sample will still be ... hair that cannot be identified.
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  29. #28 Morphology exams 
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    Thanks for the info. I'll post the link to the article on my forum & a few other sites so my coleagues will know there is a possibility of getting useful DNA without a hair follicle
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  30. #29 Morphology exams 
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    Quote Originally Posted by free radical
    The basic difficulty with the premise is that something that cannot be identified... cannot be identified. WV wishes to say that a hair sample of unknown origin would be evidence for the existence of Bigfoot. Consider the hobbit skeleton(s) found on Florenisensis. Even with detailed study of complete skeletons (and archeological digs of the site uncovering habits of these individuals) over several years, scientists have not yet determined whether this represents a separate lineage or simply humans with congenital defects.

    Hair isn't going to be sufficient, sorry old chap.
    I'm well aware that hair by itself won't prove it. Neither will blood nor tissue. What I'm saying is unidentified hair, along with at least one of the other things I mentioned a few posts ago, should be sufficient enough for the mainstream scientific community to investigate further. I'm currently trying to develop a better way to get casts of footprints showing dermal ridges. Hopefully if I or someone else are able to do this, a database can be set up to match track casts from one area to track casts in other areas. Developing a method of track casting that consistently shows dermal ridges should also help either eliminate the hoaxed tracks or determine that they are all hoaxed. Either one is a step toward the resolution of this mystery, which is our ultimate goal. It's just at this point, we happen to believe they do exist.
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  31. #30  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    You would be better of with a lower jaw for identification purposes.

    So next time you come across one, chop off his head.
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  32. #31 Re: Morphology exams 
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    Thanks for the info. I'll post the link to the article on my forum & a few other sites so my coleagues will know there is a possibility of getting useful DNA without a hair follicle
    Just remember that you can only get usefull mitochondrial DNA from hair shafts. But as free radical pointed out, without a reference sample you would still not be able to prove the existence of Bigfoot. All you would be able to do is eliminate possibilities.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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  33. #32  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Excuse me. The shaft consists out of a biomatrix. No cells. No DNA. Very difficult to extract DNA from that.

    The cells are present in the bulge (the stem cell niche) the sebaceous gland or the 'root'.
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  34. #33  
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    Yes, no nuclear DNA. But I am talking about mitochondrial DNA.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
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  35. #34  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    oh wait...

    there are cells at the bottom of the shaft. my mistake.

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