The headlines said that scientists called Nessie from Loch Ness “plausible” after discovering the fossil, but the monster itself was not what they believed could be real.
The legend of the Loch Ness Monster has grown in global notoriety for nearly 100 years, and has existed in local folklore for even longer. The creature, nicknamed Nessie, is believed to be a sea monster that lives in the Scottish lake from which it is named: Loch Ness.
telegraph And LAD Bible The two were among many media outlets that published headlines claiming that the existence of the Lake Loch Monster became “acceptable” in modern times after the discovery of the fossil.
The stories claim that a team of researchers has declared the existence of the Nessie, a legendary sea monster living in a Scottish lake, “plausible” after archaeological digs in Morocco found evidence of plesiosaurs, ancient sea reptiles that lived alongside dinosaurs. lived, may exist. He lived in fresh water
In accordance with Fictionthe Loch Ness monster is best described as a plesiosaur.
Did the scientists say that a fossil discovery was “plausible” to mean that the Loch Ness monster was real?
No, scientists didn’t say that the discovery of a fossil meant that the Loch Ness monster was real.
What we found
On July 21, scientists from the University of Bath, the University of Portsmouth and the Hassan II University of Morocco published a study where they found fossils of small plesiosaurs in a 100-million-year-old river system in the desert regions of Morocco.
The discovery suggests that some species of plesiosaurs, traditionally thought to be marine creatures, may have lived in fresh water. University of Bath He said a few days later
Plesiosaurs were ancient, aquatic reptiles that resembled dinosaurs and lived at the same time as dinosaurs. They had long necks, sharp teeth, and fins attached directly to their bodies. The largest plesiosaur they could find among the fossils was about 10 feet long.
So how does this tie into the Loch Ness monster?
The fossils, though smaller than the 20-foot-long Nessie, are similar to the popular interpretation of the Loch Ness Monster, which, according to popular legend, is believed to be a plesiosaur that survived into modern times. But until this new study, plesiosaurs were thought to live only in saltwater, and the lake is a freshwater lake.
In their press release about the study, the University of Bath addressed the legend of the Loch Ness monster. While it is “plausible” that a plesiosaur lived in fresh water millions of years ago, that does not mean a giant monster lives in Loch Ness today, researchers say.
But what does all this mean for the lake monster? At one level, it is acceptable. The press release states that plesiosaurs were not restricted to the seas, but lived in fresh water. But the fossil record also suggests that after roughly one hundred and fifty million years, the last plesiosaurs finally died out with the dinosaurs, 66 million years ago.
particle for direct object The University of Portsmouth used the same phrase in its press release Regarding the findings, the lake monster is never mentioned in the abstract study The researchers wrote about their findings.
According to paleontologist Nick Longrich, one of the authors of the study, headlines calling the existence of the Loch Loch Monster “plausible” take that line from the press release out of context.
“The presence of a plesiosaur in Loch Ness is not likely, likely or even plausible,” Longrich told VERIFY in an email. It turns out that plesiosaurs did enter freshwater (surprisingly often!), so *part* of this scenario is indeed plausible, and it’s conceivable that plesiosaurs inhabited large Mesozoic lakes, like the Baikal seal. Today in Lake Baikal.
The Siberian Lake Baikal has this more water than any freshwater lake in the world, and millions of years old. particle for direct object Seal of Baikal It is the only large oceanic animal that has evolved to live in a freshwater lake.
So this new fossil discovery shows that more than 66 million years ago, there were probably plesiosaurs that could live in a freshwater river. And it was even plausible that a plesiosaur could exist in a large lake.
Longrich said Loch Ness was still not adapted to these conditions even 66 million years ago. The lake is too small and not old enough. it has 3000 times less water It is millions of years younger than Lake Baikal. Loch Ness was buried under an ice sheet during the last ice age 10,000 years ago.
“Being buried under ice isn’t exactly a good place for a marine reptile to survive for thousands of years,” Longrich said.
Then there’s the final nail in the coffin, hinted at in the press release itself: according to the fossil record, plesiosaurs died out 66 million years ago. Longrich said that plesiosaurs, even just a small group of them confined to a Scottish lake, should have left behind fossils if they had survived continuously for the past 66 million years.
“So it’s an interesting and curious thought experiment that one part of the scenario isn’t completely impossible, but the rest are,” Longrich said.
More from VERIFY: Yes, there’s an abandoned Burger King in a Delaware mall, but it’s just been undiscovered.
Want something verified?