Researchers are DNA testing Loch Ness to identify the monster

  • Researchers are DNA testing Loch Ness to identify the monster

Researchers are DNA testing Loch Ness to identify the monster

Even the project's leader, Neil Gemmell of New Zealand's Otago University, doubts that the Loch Ness monster actually exists.

If there is indeed a "monster" in Loch Ness, its DNA may show up as a type not found in the other three lochs. It comes from their skin, feathers, scales and urine.

Prof Gemmell: "Large fish like catfish and sturgeons have been suggested as possible explanations for the monster myth, and we can very much test that idea and others".

The University of the Highlands and Islands' UHI Rivers and Lochs Institute in Inverness is assisting in the project. "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 team will then filter out any DNA.

According to the Otago Daily Times, an worldwide team of researchers from the UK, Denmark, USA, Australia and France will use environmental DNA samplings of the water to identify possible DNA remnants left behind by living species in the loch, the United Kingdom's largest freshwater body.

Gemmell's team, which comprises scientists from Britain, Denmark, the United States, Australia and France, is keen to stress the expedition is more than just a monster hunt.

The story of the monster can be traced back 1,500 years when Irish missionary St Columba is said to have encountered a beast in the River Ness in 565AD.

Mr Campbell's report described a whale-like creature and the loch's water "cascading and churning".

The legend of the Loch Ness Monster has puzzled people for generations, however a group of scientists are hoping to finally uncover what really lies in the waters of the Scottish lake by using DNA sampling techniques.

Over the years various efforts have tried and failed to find the beast.

In tourism terms, there are two exhibitions dedicated to the monster and there is not a tourist shop in the Highlands, and even more widely across Scotland, where a cuddly toy of Nessie can not be found.

While finding Nessie might be the "fun" part of this expedition that brings it attention, the global team's goal is to study the overall wildlife within Loch Ness.

A submarine is lowered into Loch Ness in 1969 to begin its search for the monster.

Sightings of the supposed Loch Ness Monster, which some claim to be a descendent of the plesiosaur whose lineage has survived in the isolate loch, have been ongoing since the sixth century.

Gemmell said he'd be surprised if there's any evidence of DNA sequences similar to those of a large extinct marine reptile, but he's eager to see what his team will find.