A new scientific study provides a definite maybe to the existence of a creature resembling the Loch Ness Monster, but casts doubt on any sightings newer than about 66 million years ago.
The study is based on the discovery of some bone fragments belonging to a plesiosaur that was discovered in what scientists believe was a freshwater site in the era of the dinosaurs.
Plesiosaurs have long necks, as the Loch Ness Monster is often portrayed as having. But until this find, the marine dinosaur was only found in saltwater environments, according to the Daily Mail.
— The New Daily (@TheNewDailyAu) July 27, 2022
The fossils were found in the Kem Kem beds of Morocco where a river system flowed through the desert about 100 million years ago, according to the scientists on the study.
“The Loch Ness Monster’s existence is ‘plausible’, according to scientists, after fossils revealed that plesiosaurs may have lived in fresh water,” the Daily Mail reported.
“The bones and teeth were found scattered and in different localities, not as a skeleton. So each bone and each tooth is a different animal,” said Dr. Nick Longrich from the University of Bath’s Milner Centre for Evolution.
A plesiosaur vertebra fossil uncovered by a British university research team recently in a 100 million year old river system in Morocco proving they did in fact live in fresh water. #plesiosaur #dinosaur #fossil #LochNessMonster #Cryptozoology ? pic.twitter.com/qkb2ap50GG
— CRYPTIDS UK ?? (@CRYPTIDSUK) July 27, 2022
The teeth show heavy wear similar to those of a Spinosaurus that also lived there at the time, suggesting they ate armored fish in the river.
“What amazes me is that the ancient Moroccan river contained so many carnivores all living alongside each other,” said David Martill from the University of Portsmouth. “This was no place to go for a swim.”
Although the finds document that plesiosaurs lived in the river millions of years ago, scientists say, there are limits to what can be extrapolated from the find.
“We don’t really know why the plesiosaurs are in freshwater,” Longrich said, according to a release from the University of Bath.
“It’s a bit controversial, but who’s to say that because we paleontologists have always called them ‘marine reptiles’, they had to live in the sea? Lots of marine lineages invaded freshwater.”
He said the extent to which plesiosaurs lived in freshwater is uncertain.
“We don’t really know, honestly. That’s how paleontology works. People ask, how can paleontologists know anything for certain about the lives of animals that went extinct millions of years ago? The reality is, we can’t always. All we can do is make educated guesses based on the information we have. We’ll find more fossils. Maybe they’ll confirm those guesses. Maybe not,” he said.
Bollocks. The leap from ‘some plesiosaurs may have lived in fresh water’ to ‘Nessie is real’ is larger than the hyperspace leap to Kessel.
Loch Ness monster declared ‘plausible’ by scientists after eye-opening discovery https://t.co/c7u4VapX0c
— james_bb (@james_bb) July 27, 2022
So what does all this mean for Nessie, made famous by a grainy 1934 black-and-white photo later claimed to be a hoax? The University of Bath release offered a summary.
“On one level, it’s plausible. Plesiosaurs weren’t confined to the seas, they did inhabit freshwater. But the fossil record also suggests that after almost a hundred and fifty million years, the last plesiosaurs finally died out at the same time as the dinosaurs, 66 million years ago.”
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