Scientists search for proof of Loch Ness monster using DNA tests

13 Octobre, 2019, 03:13 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Loch Ness monster hunters will dip into lake's DNA

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

His will hardly be the first attempt to apply science to the mystery of the Loch Ness monster - though the project differs from others because it promises to find something in the hidden depths of the lake, even if it's just the DNA of fish and newly discovered bacteria.

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.

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.

If there is DNA from an unknown animal, it could suggest that the Loch Ness monster is actually an undiscovered creature.

The monster's legend dates back almost 2,000 years, to a northern Scottish tribe that carved images of a odd, flippered beast into its nature artwork - among the usual depictions of geese, horses and deer. It was revealed 60 years later to have been a hoax that used a sea monster model attached to a toy submarine.

Others theorize Nessie is actually a sturgeon or giant catfish. It found nothing unusual.

Maybe the closest anyone has come to success was a 2016 expedition that found a 30-foot-long Loch Ness monster movie prop, which had sunk to the bottom in 1969.

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Gemmell's project, in a sense, can't fail.

Members of the Loch Ness Monster Investigation Team scan the loch for a sighting of the monster in 1968 (AAP) A shot from an underwater camera, taken on May 5, 1976, which was placed forty feet below the surface of Loch Ness, according to scientist Charles W. Wyckoff.

Environmental DNA sampling is now used to monitor marine life.

The team will then filter out any DNA.

The study may also shed some light on the extent to which invasive species, like the Pacific pink salmon, have disrupted the loch's ecosystem. If they pull DNA from a plesiosaur dinosaur, it would fundamentally change our understanding of zoology.

"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 U.K.'s largest freshwater body", Gemmell said.

After the team's trip next month, the samples will be sent to labs in New Zealand, Australia, Denmark and France to be analysed against a genetic database. He said they should have answers by the end of the year. "It's only months away".

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