Legend of Loch Ness Monster will be tested with DNA samples
Legend of Loch Ness Monster will be tested with DNA samples The undated file photo shows Scotland's 23-mile long Loch Ness, home of the elusive monster, Nessie. In foreground is Urquhart Castle. (AP Photo, File)
Legend of Loch Ness Monster will be tested with DNA samples
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The stories seem as tall as the lake is deep. For hundreds of years, visitors to Scotland's Loch Ness have described seeing a monster that some believe lurks in the depths.

But now the legend of "Nessie" may have no place left to hide. A New Zealand scientist is leading an international team to the lake next month. They will take samples of the murky waters and conduct DNA tests to determine what species live there.

University of Otago professor Neil Gemmell says he's no believer in Nessie. But he wants to take people on an adventure and communicate some science along the way. Besides, he says, his kids think it's one of the coolest things he's ever done.

One of the more far-fetched theories is that Nessie is a long-necked plesiosaur that somehow survived the period when dinosaurs became extinct. Another theory is that the monster is actually a sturgeon or giant catfish. Many believe the sightings are hoaxes or can be explained by floating logs or strong winds.

Gemmell said that when creatures move about in water, they leave behind tiny fragments of DNA. It comes from their skin, feathers, scales and urine.

He said his team will take 300 samples of water from different points around the lake and at different depths. They will filter the organic material and extract the DNA, sequencing it by using technology originally created for the human genome project.

He said the DNA results will then be compared against a database of known species. He said they should have answers by the end of the year.

"I'm going into this thinking it's unlikely there is a monster, but I want to test that hypothesis," Gemmell said. "What we'll get is a really nice survey of the biodiversity of the Loch Ness."

He said the real discoveries may come in determining things like the prevalence of invasive species.

Gemmell, 51, said he first visited Loch Ness in his late 20s while on vacation. Like thousands of tourists before him, he gazed out over the lake trying to catch sight of a monster. He said he first came up with the idea of testing DNA from the lake a couple of years ago and it resonated with many, including his children, aged 7 and 10.

Graeme Matheson, chief of the Scottish Society of New Zealand, said he, too, has visited Loch Ness and gazed out over the water. He wishes Gemmell all the best.

"I hope he and his cohorts find something, although I think they'll be battling," Matheson said. "Still, it's a good way to get a trip to Scotland."

Gemmell said that even if they don't find any monster DNA, it won't deter some Nessie believers. He said they've already been offering him theories, like that Nessie might be on vacation after swimming to the sea via hidden underwater caves, or that the creature might be extraterrestrial and not leave behind any DNA.

"In our lives we want there still to be mysteries, some of which we will ultimately solve," Gemmell said. "That's part of the spirit of discovery. And sometimes, what you find may not be what you were expecting."

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween78/legend-loch-ness-monster-will-be-tested-dna-samples/

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Why is the Loch Ness Monster considered a “legend?"
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • BrianT-dec
    11/05/2018 - 12:48 p.m.

    it is a good speeches to him it is go tri to fin the monsters

  • wschl-wim4
    12/13/2018 - 11:07 a.m.

    The Loch Ness Monster is considered a legend because, there is no way to prove that it's real. This story has also been pasted down for years and years. In the article it said that one of the scientist went to the Loch Ness lake to find the monster like everyone else. Of course he didn't find the monster. Now is going to take a DNA test of the lake to find if it's a "legend" or real knowledge.

  • ldemp-wim5
    12/13/2018 - 12:51 p.m.

    I think this is very cool. I also think there is no way you can prove there is a loch ness monster without real proof. Have people go in the water and look for it. Take samples of each the water and see if its different.

  • ldemp-wim5
    12/13/2018 - 12:52 p.m.

    I think you could send a probe under the water to look. It could look in caves and other places it would be dangerous. Those are just some of my thoughts on this subject.

  • ldots-wim5
    12/13/2018 - 01:09 p.m.

    The Loch Ness Monster is considered a legend because it is a story sometimes told as a historical story but not proven. some people say Nessie is a long-necked plesiosaur that somehow survived the period for when dinosaurs became extinct and that isn't very reasonable. Gemmell says, "I'm going into this thinking that there is no monster,"

  • ShearerA-dec
    1/03/2019 - 09:43 a.m.

    This was interesting. I like the loch ness monster they make it seem like the monster is real but the picture is fake and maybe it is fog over water.

  • CarsonG-dav
    9/13/2019 - 09:32 a.m.

    It's considered a legend because it was spotted a long time ago and some people thought it was a hoax or an actual plesiasaurus.

  • NateW-dav1
    9/13/2019 - 09:37 a.m.

    Because no one knows what it is. Some say its a log other sources a plesiosaur, others a sturgeon, and many other theories. People have discussed this "legend" for thousands of years. The reason why it's a legend is because they haven't unveiled the truth.

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