If The Loch Ness Monster Exists, Genetic Researchers Now Plan To Find Evidence

The Loch Ness Monster has baffled scientists for centuries, but a new group of experts are now hoping modern technology will reveal what really lives in the murky depths of the Scottish lake.

Professor Neil Gemmell, a researcher from New Zealand, will lead the international team in the search for Nessie using DNA sampling techniques to uncover the secrets of Loch Ness.

7th July 1969: One of the members of the Loch Ness Monster Investigation Team keeping a watch on the surface of Loch Ness. The team, several of whom are students, will devote the summer to the investigation (Photo: Ian Tyas / Getty Images)

Genetic code will be extracted from the lake's water, collected over a two-week period, to determine the types of creatures that make the lake their home. 

Speaking with the Press Association, Prof Gemmell claims that while he is not yet convinced the Loch Ness Monster exists, he is certain the mission could still throw up some interesting surprises.

"I don't believe in the idea of a monster," he said. "But I'm open to the idea that there are things yet to be discovered and not fully understood.

"Maybe there's a biological explanation for some of the stories."

DNA can be captured in the lake through tiny fragments left behind by creatures as they swim through the waters – from skin and scales, for example.

After the team's endeavours in June, the samples will be sent to laboratories in New Zealand, Australia, Denmark and France to be analysed against a genetic database.

"There's absolutely no doubt that we will find new stuff," explains Gemmell, who works at the University of Otago in Dunedin, "and that's very exciting."

"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."

The legend of the Loch Ness Monster is embedded within Scottish folklore, with the earliest sighting of a "water beast" being reported by an Irish monk in 565AD.

Nessie is said to have a long neck, with camel-like humps that protrude from the water - and more than 1,000 people claim to have spotted it.

However, many believe the "monster" could just be a large fish like a catfish or sturgeon - theories the scientists will be able to explore during their investigations.

Although the scientists hope their trip will answer some questions about the elusive Nessie, even if they do not find evidence to explain it, the myth is likely to linger for years to come.

(Photo: Christopher Rusev via Unsplash)

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