Otago Scientists Explain Loch Ness Mystery
The most famous photo of the Loch Ness monster has long been discredited as a hoax, but University of Otago scientists have come up with a new explanation for other sightings of the elusive beast – it could be just a giant eel. CNN’s Emily Dixon investigates.
The team of researchers used DNA samples taken from the lake in Scotland where “Nessie” is believed to dwell and concluded that a more familiar creature was behind the legend, Dixon reports.
“There are large amounts of eel DNA in Loch Ness,” Neil Gemmell, a geneticist from the University of Otago said.
Scientists began the study of the lake’s biodiversity in June 2018, taking 250 samples of water from various locations and depths to identify its inhabitants.
They found about 3000 distinct species, Gemmell told a press conference at the Loch Ness Centre in Drumnadrochit, Scotland. “Most of those are so small, you’ll never see them.”
Gemmell said that while the study’s primary focus was the lake’s biodiversity, a Loch Ness monster sighting would’ve been a bonus.
Although the discredited 1934 photo was later said to be a toy submarine, with a model head and neck attached, various theories over the years have suggested the monster could actually be a dragon, a marine dinosaur or just a really big catfish.
The eel theory, however, “remains plausible”, thanks to the significant amount of eel DNA.
However, Gemmell added: “We don’t know if the eel DNA we are detecting is gigantic, from a gigantic eel, or just many small eels. These normally grow to about four to six feet in length, and some people are saying they are observing organisms that are much, much larger than that.”
Nevertheless, there might still be hope for the Nessie believers. As Gemmell pointed out: “A lack of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence.”
“There may well be a monster in Loch Ness,” he said. “We didn’t find it.”
Original article by Emily Dixon, CNN, September 6, 2019.