Scientists will test the water in Loch Ness to look for DNA evidence that the Loch Ness monster exists. The two-week survey will discover what lives in the UK’s largest freshwater body.
Scientists will extract genetic code from the lake over a two week period to begin to understand what lives in the water. Lead scientist of the global team, New Zealander Prof Neil Gemmell, said: “I’m going into this thinking it’s unlikely there is a monster, but I want to test that hypothesis. What we’ll get is a really nice survey of the biodiversity of Loch Ness.”
The extraction will take place next month and then the samples will be sent to labs in Australia, Denmark, France and New Zealand to be analyzed. “There’s absolutely no doubt that we will find new stuff, and that’s very exciting,” Gemmell said.
“While the prospect of looking for evidence of the Loch Ness monster is the hook to this project, there is an extraordinary amount of new knowledge that we will gain from the work about organisms that inhabit Loch Ness.”
DNA could finally monster mystery
Sightings of a large creature in the lake attributed to the ‘monster’ could be a large fish such as catfish or sturgeon. As creatures move through water they deposit trace DNA through skin and scales removal, feces and urine.
Gemmell said: “This DNA can be captured, sequenced and then used to identify that creature by comparing the sequence obtained to large databases of known genetic sequences from hundreds of thousands of different organisms.” The scientists predict the project will reveal new species, particularly bacteria.
A local Loch Ness expert will also join the team, Adrian Shine leads the Loch Ness Project, he told reporters in 2017 that the appeal of the Loch Ness monster had remained strong as ‘the human world shrinks, people tend to look for something bigger than themselves – something frightening, something mysterious or something hidden”.
Stories of the Loch Ness Monster date back to the seventh century. St Columba was said to have encountered ‘a water beast’ and saved a man from the creature by ordering it to retreat. In more recent times there have been more than 100 reported sightings of the Loch Ness monster, familiarly known as Nessie to locals.
Fake photographs baffled for 60 years
The village close to the lake, Drumnadrochit, has two permanent Loch Ness monster exhibitions. Photographs of the Loch Ness are among the most popular exhibits A 1934 image, known as ‘the surgeon’s photograph’, appears to show a creature with an elongated neck and head looming out of the water.
This famous image was revealed to be a fake in 1994. Christian Spurling, claims his stepfather, Marmaduke Wetherell arranged the stunt with the photographer Col Robert Wilson.
The image was actually created using a toy submarine with a fake snakehead attached. In 2016 scientists completed sonar-imaging of the lake which revealed a shape similar to the famous photograph.
Further investigation revealed that the researchers had actually discovered an abandoned prop from the 1970 film The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. The 10-meter long model was discovered lying 180 meters beneath the surface by a robot, which was sent to survey the lake’s bottom.