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Loch Ness monster theory ‘remains plausible’, scientists say | Science & Tech News

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We might be able to safely discount the existence of werewolves and zombies, but scientists say one monster that may really live among us is the one long rumoured to dwell in the waters of Loch Ness.

Researchers who have completed a DNA investigation of the famous site in the Scottish Highlands have said that one theory about the fabled creature “remains plausible”, having taken 250 samples from the depths.

Professor Neil Gemmell, of the University of Otago in New Zealand, led the global team, which took 250 water samples and extracted enough DNA to analyse around 500 million sequences.

Urquhart Castle at Loch Ness, long rumoured to be home to a monster
Image:
Urquhart Castle at Loch Ness, long rumoured to be home to a monster

What they sourced has been used to identify tiny genetic remnants left behind by life in the loch – from skin, scales, feathers, fur, faeces and urine – and establish a detailed list of everything living in the waters.

The full findings will not be revealed until September, but the professor teased: “There have been over a thousand reported sightings of something in Loch Ness, which have driven this notion of a monster being in the water.

“From those sightings there are around four main explanations about what has been seen.

“Our research essentially discounts most of those theories – however, one theory remains plausible.”

Most scientists have quashed the Nessie phenomenon over the years, dismissing the belief that the monster might exist as the result of several hoaxes and wrongly identified mundane objects.

One of the most famous images purporting to show the monster came from 1934.

It was allegedly taken by Colonel Robert Kenneth Wilson, but was later exposed as a hoax by Chris Spurling, who revealed on his deathbed that he was involved in the staging of the photo.

Tourism in the area is reliant on people's fascination with the beast
Image:
Tourism in the area is reliant on people’s fascination with the beast

During a sonar search of the loch for clues in 2016, Norwegian tech group Kongsberg Maritime uncovered what turned out to be a 30ft-long model of the beast.

It was later confirmed to be a prop made for 1970 film The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes, directed by Billy Wilder and starring Robert Stephens and Christopher Lee.

But VisitScotland says the enduring fascination with the creature, which many believe would resemble a dinosaur, is still worth millions to the national economy.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors travelling to Loch Ness and the nearby village of Drumnadrochit each year, many in the hope that they catch a glimpse of the monster.

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