For kids who love animals by a kid who loves animals
Out of all the cryptids/monsters/hoaxes/whaddi-ya-call-its, the Loch Ness monster will forever remain iconic and nearly synonymous with all things supernatural. Since the May 2, 1933 sighting described in the Inverness Courier, the story of an aquatic, long-necked beast lurking in this 23 mile long freshwater lake about 14 miles away from the Gothic style city Inverness has brought thousands of tourists to the Scottish Highlands.
On that day, a couple claimed to have spotted “an enormous animal rolling and plunging on the surface” of the largest “loch” (Celtic for lake) in Scotland. Within a few years of this local sighting, with some ‘Nessie’ hopefuls of a circus offered a 20,000 pound sterling reward for anyone who could capture the beast. It’s easy to see where the motivation for “finding Nessie” by any means possible came from. And motivated people were! Cunning Robert Wilson snapped the iconic, black-and-white photo purporting to display the Loch Ness Monster in 1934, only for it to turn out to be a toy submarine-turned-cryptid crafted by Chris Spurling. Since then, hundreds of Nessie-hunter-wannabes have submitted photos to newspapers and posted them online, but none of them have been proven to be real.
Turns out, even without a host of bungled-up and suspicious photos, it CAN be proven that it’s incredibly unlikely that there’s foul, long-necked beasts in the Loch Ness. For one, as big as the Loch Ness is, it likely would not be big enough to sustain a lineage of monsters the size of Nessie. Moreover, a large, aquatic, cold-blooded reptile like Nessie would struggle to live in Scotland’s cold climate. Even if we can’t fish Nessie out of the Loch Ness, the fossilized remains of prehistoric dinosaurs similar to Nessie (Pleisaurs) can tell us that they were tropical-dwelling creatures. Man, science ruins everything!
Although theories about Nessie being a giant eel (which are actually quite populous in the waters of the Loch Ness) or a pet dropped of by aliens are fun to research, the general legend of Nessie pins this mythical creature most to a real prehistoric dinosaur called the Plesiosaur. Boasting four smooth flippers up to 15 inches long, a long, maneuverable neck, and sharp, needle like teeth for catching fish, the Plesiosaur seems to check all the Nessie boxes. As exciting as it is to think that a giant reptile that died out more than 65 million years ago still hangs on by a thread, there’s next to no chance that any Plesiosaurs survived the extinction event that wiped out approximately 70% of life on Earth and the subsequent series of oceanic transformations in the epochs that followed. What a bummer! That being said, knowing the Nessie is totally fake gives me one less reason not to be afraid of the Ocean….although not quite enough to send me deep-sea diving any time soon.