This is our first foray into cryptozoology, the intense study of wild animals that probably don’t exist. Enthusisasts, of course, have their own society.
Two of the most famous “hidden creatures” are Bigfoot (Sasquatch) and The Abominable Snowman (Yeti). The Yeti seems to be out of the limelight these days.. But the most famous of all is most likely “Nessie” the Loch Ness Monster, who has been sought for many centuries. She is estimated to be worth $53 million a year to Scotland.
Nessie has become the object of fascination and is a huge tourist draw (500,000 annually) for the remote Loch Ness in Scotland. Enthusiasts believe Nessie is one of a remnant population of Plesiosaurs, aquatic dinosaurs who vanished about 66 million years ago. Nessie and her family somehow remained alive and elusive in the cold depths of the lake.
Scientists have been, and remain, skeptical. One reason was that until very recently plesiosaurs were uniformly believed to have been salt water beings. Whoops! A recent discovery of plesiosaur fossils in an ancient riverbed suggests at least some were fresh water creatures. According to Newsweek, research by English and Moroccan university researchers found the bones and they are rethinking possibilities.
That is where the upgrade to “plausible” comes in. It is now plausible that at some point plesiosaurs lived in Loch Ness. But if so they likely died out some millions of years ago. The popularity of Nessie and the hordes of tourists looking for her have found nothing. The host of famous hoaxes hasn’t helped credbility either. Expeditions using sonar and submersibles have not found the beast. No fossils bone or other traces have shown up so far.
According to Newsweek:
“While the tales are often dismissed, according to these findings it’s actually plausible that such a creature would have inhabited freshwater lochs such as Loch Ness.
Scientists can’t rule out the fact that these creatures may have been permanent freshwater residents. They suspect that these ancient creatures possibly lived in freshwater, having found the same “food-chipping their teeth on the armored fish that lived in the river.” (SIC) This suggests they feasted on freshwater prey.”
This is not proof they still exist.
However, enthusiasts point out that the lake is gigantic and they say the volume of water is big enough to submerge humanity. I don’t know about submerging humanity but they have the first part right. The lake is 23 miles long and up to 750 feet deep and 1.678 miles across. So they believe some lucky plesiosaurs may be enjoying themselves eating fish and hiding from us. There is also the coelacanth. It was thought to have been extinct for millions of years. Until they started turning up in 1938. It was supposed to have gone extinct about the same time as the plesiosaurs…Hmmmm?
All I can say is it would be nifty to find Nessie. If archaeologists can find Richard III in an English parking lot, than modern science can find her if she is out there.
On firmer ground we have reported on the finding of rarely seen creatures here,