Scientists ‘hunting’ Loch Ness Monster will test lake’s DNA

Scientists Plan To Scour Loch Ness In Search For the Mythical Monster's DNA

Scientists Plan To Scour Loch Ness In Search For the Mythical Monster's DNA

If there is DNA from an unknown animal, it could suggest that the Loch Ness monster is actually an undiscovered creature. But now the legend of "Nessie" may have no place left to hide. Now, a team of scientists has decided they don't need to rely on their eyes, but instead on DNA analysis.

As a shark or whale moves through the water, it sheds DNA via skin fragments, urine and more.

The scientists plan to investigate the waters of Loch Ness in Scotland next month and use environmental DNA sampling of the waters to try and identify everything that swims in it, the New Zealand Herald reported Monday.

Most efforts were not impressive - unless you're convinced that the monster can be seen from Apple Maps, or that what appears to be bad YouTube video of a floating log is actually old Nessie. The eDNA in the samples will subsequently be extracted, sequenced, and then compared to worldwide DNA databases of known species.

According to the Associated Press, the team will collect 300 samples of water from different points around the lake and at different depths.

The experts hope they can put the argument to bed as to whether there is or has ever been a prehistoric beast living in Loch Ness.

"I don't believe in the idea of a monster", he said. "What we'll get is a really nice survey of the biodiversity of the Loch Ness".

While they hope it will answer some questions about the elusive Nessie, even if they do not find any evidence to explain it, the myth is likely to linger for years to come. 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 about testing DNA from the lake a few years ago and it resonated with many, including his young children.

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

The trip, which has been a year in the planning, will include scientists from universities in New Zealand, Denmark, Australia, America and France, as well as Adrian Shine, leader of the Loch Ness Project in Scotland.

Prof Neil Gemmell is leading the project/holiday, and he's being upfront about not believing in the monster stories.

But previous year, sightings hit a record high.

Gemmell 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.

"If an exact match can't be found, we can generally figure out where on the tree of life that sequence fits", says Gemmell. "That's part of the spirit of discovery".

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