Loch Ness monster BREAKTHROUGH: Scientists to use DNA to hunt beast

Rodiano Bonacci
Ottobre 13, 2019

A group of scientists from New Zealand have made a decision to embark on a journey to solve one of the world's most elusive mysteries: the Loch Ness monster.

If Nessie really is out there, she won't be able to hide from us for much longer.

They'll establish exactly what lurks in the 226m deep waters using DNA testing - and if that includes "Nessie".

Gemmell's team will be gathering little bits of DNA shed into the water from the fur, skin, scales, poop and urine of animals.

University of Otago professor Neil Gemmell is leading an global team of scientists to Loch Ness next month to collect water samples from 300 different places in the loch. Others suggest people are mistaking large catfish or sturgeon for the mythical beast, and still others believe the sightings can be traced to odd wave patterns or pieces of wood floating near the surface.

One of the more outlandish theories is that Nessie is a long-necked plesiosaur that survived the period when dinosaurs became extinct.

The researchers are now planning to take 300 samples of water from the Loch, all at different locations and of varying depths.

"I'm going into this thinking it's unlikely there is a monster, but I want to test that hypothesis", Gemmell said. The eDNA in the samples will subsequently be extracted, sequenced, and then compared to global DNA databases of known species.

"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 - the UK's largest freshwater body", Gemmell said.

A sketch released in 2006 by Dr. Neil Clark, a curator of palaeontology at Glasgow University, who believes that Loch Ness Monster Nessie was no more exotic an animal than an elephant. Like thousands of tourists before him, he gazed out over the lake trying to catch sight of a monster. An unidentified photo taken at the lake years ago serves as the only "proof" of the monster's existence so far.

Graeme Matheson, chief of the Scottish Society of New Zealand, said he, too, has visited Loch Ness and gazed out over the water, and that he wishes Gemmell all the best. "Still, it's a good way to get a trip to Scotland".

"You can't help but wonder, when so many swear black and blue that they saw these things, that there might be a biological basis for them", Gemmell said in a video earlier this year, as he prepared for the expedition.

Prof Gemmell said: "There's absolutely no doubt that we will find new stuff".

But past year, sightings hit a record high. "And sometimes, what you find may not be what you were expecting".

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