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Creatures, Myths & Legends

New study casts doubt on Loch Ness Monster plesiosaur theory

By T.K. Randall
January 20, 2022 · Comment icon 25 comments

A model Nessie found at Drumnadrochit. Image Credit: Immanuel Giel
The famous Scottish loch monster is often said to be a plesiosaur - but just how plausible is that?
The quintessential Loch Ness Monster sighting is typically that of a large, long-necked creature that appears as a head and neck (or a series of humps) protruding from the water.

Over the years this has lead some to speculate that the creature could be a plesiosaur - a type of prehistoric aquatic reptile - as depicted by an oft-photographed model that can be found outside the Loch Ness Exhibition Center at Drumnadrochit on the western shore of the loch.

Casting aside for a moment the fact that plesiosaurs went extinct millions of years ago - is it at all plausible that the Loch Ness Monster could be such a relic from the distant past ?

According to Dr Paul Scofield of Canterbury Museum in New Zealand, a recent study of an elasmosaurus - which is a type of plesiosaur - has indicated that these creatures would have held their heads either at the same level or below the level of their bodies while swimming through the water.
This makes it unlikely that they would have stuck their head vertically up out of the water as often depicted in photographs and drawings of the elusive Loch Ness Monster.

"The labyrinth of the ear works best when the tiny bones within are able to hang unaffected by gravity," said Dr Scofield. "For this reason, the position of the inner ear within the skull of an animal reveals a lot about how an animal habitually holds its head."

"We have examined the inner ear of elasmosaurs and determined that their resting position was with the head horizontal to the body or even well below the body."

"The 'traditional' posture shown in many a popular article on Nessie - like a sock puppet - is not something elasmosaurs were in the habit of adopting."

"The idea of it lifting its head up like a sock puppet is extremely unlikely."

Source: Mirror | Comments (25)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #16 Posted by stereologist 2 years ago
Originally Nessie walked on land on 4 legs. Now it is an aquatic animal. It's shape changes with time. The only reason Nessie is even famous is that the British news service decided it was better to report on a hometown monster than on the Lake Champlain monster which had been the most famous monster in the world.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Uncle Yammy 2 years ago
You haven't visited, the Loch or Scotland have you? 
Comment icon #18 Posted by Davros of Skaro 2 years ago
R.I.P. Nessie/Champ myth.
Comment icon #19 Posted by lismore 2 years ago
If anyone has read Constance Whyte's book 'More than a Legend'.  There's food for thought in that.  I first went to Loch Ness as a child in the 1980s, it's amazing how much it's changed since then. The number of tourists have increased ten fold.  And back to the sightings of the 1930s-1950s was another world again, a world now gone.   
Comment icon #20 Posted by stereologist 2 years ago
Well what about the earlier reports in which Nessie has legs and walks on land?  
Comment icon #21 Posted by Alchopwn 2 years ago
I think Nessie is a giant eel.  I remember reading this pile of 19th Century Gentlemen's fishing magazines in a library in Bristol that covered how big eels get, and some were immense.   I live in terror that the library turfed the magazines out or retired them, because when I went back 15 years later, they were all gone.  The magazine put forward the hypothesis that the "wyrms" of Arthurian and Medieval legend were in fact land-going giant eels, and given the size of the "prodigies" discussed, they were more than capable of taking a sheep or a child. I have looked everywhere to find copie... [More]
Comment icon #22 Posted by stereologist 2 years ago
There is the notion that there are giants eels in the ocean because a large juvenile eel was once caught. It was extrapolated that this eel would be very large. Later specimens of the adult were caught and they were not large. The idea of gigantic eels has by and large been dropped in science, but not in crypto circles.
Comment icon #23 Posted by lismore 2 years ago
Yes that's what I mean.  A different world back then   
Comment icon #24 Posted by lismore 2 years ago
A giant eel was captured on video in the River Ness: Boffins believe they’ve finally got video proof that Nessie exists…and is actually a giant eel – The Sun
Comment icon #25 Posted by stereologist 2 years ago
That's an interesting video but it's hard to see if that is an eel or trash floating by. Even if it is a fish it is not that big. There is no scale to determine the size. Take this from the article. The reference is to Gemmel who did an eDNA study in Loch Ness. Here is a link to the work Correctly, Gemmel states that there might be eels of any size including large eels. The eDNA evidence does not tell us about size. What is known is that there are eels. Peop... [More]

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