Have you heard of the Loch Ness monster? For centuries, people have been captivated by the story of a giant beast lurking beneath the surface of Scotland’s Loch Ness.
The legend can be traced back as far as 1,500 years, when Irish missionary Saint Columba is said to have encountered a mysterious creature in the River Ness. Fast forward to the 1930s, and the first modern sighting of Nessie was reported in The Inverness Courier. The creature was described as being whale-like, with the water cascading and churning as it moved.
Is The Loch Ness Monster A Dinosaur? Probably Not
Some people believe the Loch Ness Monster is a Plesiosaur. They are characterized by their long necks, small heads, and four large, flipper-like limbs, which they use to swim through the water.
The vast majority of credible scientists believe Plesiosaurs went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period, around 66 million years ago, along with the dinosaurs.
Nick Longrich, a senior lecturer at the University of Bath, says Loch Ness is approximately 20 square miles and too small to support a Plesiosaur. “How would they exist undetected?” he asked. “Something like a plesiosaur, it’s large. It’s conspicuous. It has to surface and breathe air. If they existed, people would see them come up for air. One would die and wash up on-shore like whales.”
A Plausible Explanation For The Loch Ness Monster
Researchers recently tried to document all living species in Loch Ness by extracting DNA from water samples, per the BBC:
“Following analysis, the scientists have ruled out the presence of large animals said to be behind reports of a monster. No evidence of a prehistoric marine reptile called a plesiosaur or a large fish such as a sturgeon were found. Catfish and suggestions that a wandering Greenland shark were behind the sightings were also discounted.”
Prof Neil Gemmell, one of the scientists, explained there isn’t any marine reptile DNA in the waters of Loch Ness. “We can’t find any evidence of a creature that’s remotely related to that in our environmental-DNA sequence data,” he said. “I don’t think the plesiosaur idea holds up based on the data that we have obtained.”
So, what’s the most likely explanation? Giant eels. “There is a very significant amount of eel DNA,” said Prof Neil Gemmell. “Eels are very plentiful in Loch Ness, with eel DNA found at pretty much every location sampled — there are a lot of them. We can’t discount the possibility that what people see and believe is the Loch Ness Monster might be a giant eel.”
It’s worth noting that scientists discounted the possibility of the Loch Ness Monster being Catfish, Sturgeon, or another large species of fish. “There’s no shark DNA in Loch Ness based on our sampling. There is also no catfish DNA in Loch Ness based on our sampling. We can’t find any evidence of sturgeon either.”
Even if the Loch Ness Monster isn’t a Plesiosaur, the legend will continue to attract tourists to Scotland every year. After all, people will visit the loch to seek answers for themselves. And maybe, they’ll catch a glimpse of Nessie — the mythical beast that lies beneath.
What do you think? Leave a comment with your thoughts. And if you think more people should read this article, share it on social media.
Comments / 32