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What is the Loch Ness Monster?

By M. Dee Dubroff
Updated Feb 04, 2024
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Stories of a sea creature living in the depths of Loch Ness date back to pre-medieval times, but no image of the Loch Ness monster was ever captured until the summer of 1933. There are many who believe that a throwback from the age of dinosaurs had some how survived the Ice Age and found a nesting place in this sheltered highland nook of water. The Loch Ness monster is said to live in this deepest of lakes in the Scottish Highlands, which is a cold and calm ribbon of water about 24 miles (39 kilometers) long and a bit more than 430 feet (131 meters) deep.

Witnesses claim to have seen the Loch Ness monster, a fantastic sea animal with a long neck, with as many as six humps and a reptilian head. Whether the sightings are true or not, the promise of a peek at the Loch Ness monster has brought hordes of tourists to Loch Ness from as far away as Japan and South Africa. The area has become one of the most photographed patches of water on the face of the earth, although the Loch Ness monster has always remained a bit camera shy. Some cameras did capture several bulky shapes of unknown origin, and the most famous photo of 1933, which was widely denounced as a fake, revealed the small head and long snake-like neck of the Loch Ness monster bobbing in and out of the water.

Geologists estimate that Loch Ness was once an arm of the sea, a fjord, until about 5,000 years ago. It is possible that some species of marine creature now extinct in the oceans had survived and continues to breed. Although the Loch Ness monster could be any type of marine animal, many scientists lean toward a gastropod, which is a huge form of sea slug.

Although Loch Ness is an extremely narrow body of water, it is also twice as deep as the North Sea and is constantly fed by no less than five rivers and forty-five mountain streams. At six feet (1.8 meters) down, the water becomes very murky, the result of floating peat particles. This greatly limits underwater exploration and possible discovery of the Loch Ness monster.

New species of animals heretofore thought extinct are discovered very often in this baffling and complex world of ours. Is it so implausible that an unknown creature could be nesting in the waters of Loch Ness? Is that possibility so frightening for scientists and the world at large? Some sensitive souls might claim it to be a lot scarier for the Loch Ness monster.

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Discussion Comments
By Cageybird — On Nov 26, 2014

Personally, I think the Loch Ness monster legend is all nonsense. The whole point of the exercise from the beginning was to generate more tourism in that area. I think some people may have seen something they couldn't explain right away, but it was probably something normal that just looked mysterious. I've seen carp that were massive compared to other fish, but they were still just carp, not living dinosaurs. I'm sure I could take a picture of a lake sturgeon and make it look like a plesiosaur at the right angle.

As much photographic and sonar equipment there is around most of Loch Ness, I would think someone would have captured a more convincing image by now. They even take a fleet of boats out once in a while and scan the bottom of the entire lake. I've heard there's a fairly realistic movie prop from an old Loch Ness monster movie that surfaces every once in a while. Maybe that's what people are reporting these days.

By Inaventu — On Nov 26, 2014

I sincerely hope a legitimate search agency finds real evidence of a Loch Ness monster in my lifetime. I grew up reading books about Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster, and I've watched dozens of TV shows about them, too. I want to believe in the Loch Ness monster legend, but I need a lot more concrete evidence than some grainy photos and blurry radar readings.

The one thing that keeps me from becoming a true believer in the Loch Ness monster is the fact that there would have to be an entire family of these creatures in order to survive this long. I would think that at least one Loch Ness monster body would have washed up on shore by now.

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