Along with the Yeti and the Mothman the Loch Ness monster is one of many fabled creatures said to inhabit the earth. For centuries people have claimed to witness the sea serpent trawling Scotland’s Loch Ness but there has never been any solid proof of its existence. This could all change as a global team of scientist are conducting an experiment using environmental DNA (eDNA) to discover if the monster really does exist.
The group of scientists are going to comb Loch Ness for a two-week period and collect a wide variety of DNA samples from the large stretch of water to determine what types of creatures live beneath the surface.
“This DNA can be captured, sequenced and then used to identify that creature by comparing the sequence obtained to large database of known genetic sequences from hundreds of thousands of different organisms,” said team spokesman Professor Neil Gemmell of the University of Otago in New Zealand on the project's website.
Stories about the underwater monster first surfaced during the six century when Irish monk St Columba wrote about saving a man from a “water beast” he encountered in the Loch Ness.
Since then there have been thousands of sightings of the creature, with the most famous coming in 1934 when a man appeared to capture an image of Loch Ness rearing its head out of the deep water. Known as “the surgeon’s photograph” the picture was exposed as a hoax in 1994 by Christian Spurling, who claimed his stepfather set the whole thing up.
The most recent sighting was two years ago when a sonar image revealed something at the bottom of the loch that resembled the shape of the creature. An underwater drone sent to search the area discovered the shape was an abandoned prop from the 1970 film The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes.
There have been many attempts at finding Loch Ness over the years but no hard proof has been found confirming it’s a real creature. While members of the Loch Ness Projecthope the team find evidence of the creature’s existence, Gemmell is more excited about the prospect of finding any type of new life.
“There’s absolutely no doubt that we will find new stuff, and that’s very exciting.” Gemmell said. “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 findings of the study are expected to be revealed in January 2019.