Friday 16 May 2014

The Carcass Problem (Part 2)

Having looked at some of the dubious carcass stories from years and even centuries past at Loch Ness (as exemplified by the front cover above), we now look at the basic question - "Why has no Loch Ness Monster carcass been found yet?".

This question may sometimes be framed as a statement by sceptics. To wit - "A Loch Ness Monster carcass should have been found by now!". However, this issue is better framed as a question as I have seen no detailed or logical argument by anyone as to why such a statement should be true.

Back in the 1930s, it seemed a given that if there was a creature in Loch Ness, it would eventually be captured, dead or alive. By the time the 1960s came around with the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau, this gave way to more cautious hope. Now in the 2010s, one wonders if any prospect of a DNA find is on the cards.

But back to the problem. There are only two answers to the question. The first is that there are no carcasses to find. However, that answer can itself be subdivided into four categories. The first of the four is the position that there is no carcass because there are no monsters and never has been. The second is that the creature is a boneless invertebrate and so any body will be scavenged away in short measure. The third is that the Loch Ness Monster is a paranormal phenomenon and hence no carcasses are to be expected. The fourth is that Nessie is a regular visitor to the loch but not a resident and hence we again should expect no carcasses.

I won't dwell on these categories any further and readers may wish to comment on them below. The second answer to the question is simply that nothing has been found because researchers have not looked hard enough. That answer requires further explanation and subdivides into the nature of the beast, its environment and the search.


There are two ways to find a corpse, by accident or by design. Millions have visited the shores of Loch Ness in the past eighty years and no one we know of has stumbled upon any body part of any mysterious creature. Meantime, a far smaller group of divers have ventured in those waters since the nineteenth century. I have been sniffing round the shores of Loch Ness for decades and have detected nothing I would seriously present as evidence. That tale can be repeated multiple times for all Loch Ness investigators, named and unnamed.

However, it has to be said that I don't often see much of anything around the shores of Loch Ness. I stumbled upon a sheep skeleton on my last visit and it is a matter of unimportant speculation as to how it got there. Polling the statements of others largely bears this out. I asked long term monster hunter, Steve Feltham, what he has encountered from his home on Dores beach. His reply was:

"Deer that drown trying to swim the loch occasionally. We dont generally get fish on the beach, in fact in twenty years I cant recall a fish. One or two eels on their backs in shallow water, thats about it."

Another on site investigator, Dick Raynor, said this of things floating around:

"I have seen dead fish on the surface - there's a Roach on my website, I saw a salmon or trout floating around the bay here last summer and there was a dead sheep near the castle about 4 years ago. My suspicion is that most of the floating dead things were dead and floating before they entered the loch. In the case of corpses, they are sometimes found floating a couple of weeks after dying and it is assumed that they were lying in the shallows until they resurfaced."

So not much of even what is known to exist in Loch Ness is readily found. Perhaps there is some truth in that old legend about the loch never giving up its dead, which brings us to the murky depths below. Dick Raynor makes another statement on the death process at Loch Ness:

"The only large creatures regularly shot on Loch Ness seem to sink immediately, and I'm not aware of one ever being washed up. I refer, of course, to the seals."

I recently spoke to Gordon Menzies, a veteran of Loch Ness cruise ships, who added that a seal could remain afloat for a time if it was shot after taking in a lungful of air. But, in general, they sink and then it is what happens after that which has an impact on the carcass problem.

This absence of floating corpses is explained in terms of the rate of decomposition. In that regard, I would like to quote leading Loch Ness researcher, Adrian Shine, on the problems inherent in locating carcasses. This is taken from the 1976 Loch Morar Expedition report.

There are very few records of unidentified carcasses being found by Scottish lochs. Factors which may account for this are that Lochs Ness and Morar are deep, steep sided and cold (about 5oC below the thermocline). The cold would slow decomposition and allow time for scavengers such as eels to dispose of the remains. Gases, which did result from decomposition, would have their volume and buoyancy reduced by water pressure at depth. One cubic foot of gas at the surface would have a buoyancy of about 621bs but at a depth of only 32ft this would be halved, while at 200ft the buoyancy would amount to only about 8lbs.

The bodies of those drowned in Loch Ness are seldom recovered.  One would not expect the remains of fish living at depth to float. Many animals, which are secondarily aquatic, swallow stones, and it is believed that these may function as ballast. Plesiosaurs did this, as do crocodiles. Sea otters are examples of mammals with the same habit, as are seals, which may contain as much as twenty five pounds of stones. This may well cause a body to become negatively buoyant at depth when the air cavities are compressed. Cmdr. Cousteau has found "graveyards" of elephant seals and these bodies seem to have little tendency to float.

I would add my opinion that the scavenging task is increased by possible cannibalism amongst Loch Ness Monsters. I suspect this would be rare and confined to dead and dying animals. The Loch Ness Monster would certainly not be unique in this regard. Loch Ness Ferox Trout are well known for their predation of other ferox.

If these creatures are mainly benthic dwellers, then we should not expect any floating corpses. However, there are exceptions to the rule. If a creature died in the shallow shelf waters of the loch or a little deeper down amongst the clefts and the ridges of the littoral region, it is theoretically possible for them to remain there for a period of time and be more amenable to discovery. But since the behaviour of your typical dying monster is not known with any certainty, that must remain a matter of speculation.

For example, a dying, aquatic creature would have less energy to move itself up from the depths, let alone haul itself into shallow waters. To me, it seems more likely they would stay deep.


So what is it that prevents discovery of Loch Ness Monster bodies? In an answer, it is Loch Ness itself. I have already pointed out the decomposition problem, but what else hinders a search?

The most likely scenario for a discovery is that part of the creature which endures the longest. That would normally mean the skeleton. For the sake of argument, I will assume this would be an endo-skeleton. Now, there are two things that can happen to bones in Loch Ness. They can either be eventually broken down by the water's acidity or they can be buried in the silt. It is a matter of conjecture as to which process will claim the bones first.

In terms of acidity, Loch Ness researcher, Dick Raynor, had this to say:

"Exposed bones are not likely to survive for many years however as the calcium hungry loch water will cause them to dissolve and crumble in the slightly acid environment."

However, it is unclear how long it would actually take for a skeleton to be broken down. An experiment conducted by the Loch Ness Project in 1984 bears this out. A hessian sack containing beef bones was lowered to a depth of 200 metres and left there for a year. When it was brought back up, no discernible change in terms of bone dissolution was noticed. Clearly, this is a process that would take a number of years (depending on the thickness of the bones).

The question is further complicated if the creature has a cartilaginous skeleton. These bones are less dense than the bones we possess because in water they do not have to be so load bearing. You can find such bones in sharks, sturgeons and so on. As a consequence, these bones will break down faster than terrestrial ones. It is a bit of an irony that the sceptical idea that some sightings of the Loch Ness Monster may only be Atlantic Sturgeon also may suffer from lack of evidence due to the same problems!

The silt that blankets the sides and floor of Loch Ness also presents its own problems. A large number of rivers and smaller burns empty into the loch, bringing with them debris of varying sizes and composition (animal, vegetation and minerals). This continual flow of debris eventually settles into the sides or bottom of the loch where it will be further broken down into smaller particles over time. The higher water pressure of the bottom will also compress and compact the silt over the centuries.

Any larger object that gets caught in this process will get buried but how long that takes is variable. The rate of silt deposition depends on where you are in the loch and when. Clearly, the seasons of higher rainfall will drive debris into the loch at a faster rate and those areas nearest to water inflows will generally receive the greatest depositions.

Moreover, silt may accumulate on the higher ridges and shelves over the years but then cascade down into the deeps when a tipping point is reached. A study of sediment core samples taken in the 1990s by the Loch Ness Project suggest varying levels of sedimentation with a contemporary rate exceeding 1cm per year for the deeper waters of the North Basin.

Other core samples contained markers for the radioactive events of Chernobyl (1986) and the peak in atmospheric nuclear bomb tests (1963). These depths were given as 3cm and 9cm down respectively which suggest more recent depositions rates of 3 to 7 mm per year. A more historic core sample detected the 1868 great flood of Inverness at 30cm to 50cm depth which gives a deposition rate of about 4mm per year. Note that this one off event alone added up to 20cm of silt, probably enough to cover many carcasses.

One could take the contemporary rate of 1cm for further calculations, but it is acknowledged that not all parts of the loch are equal, so I will use the 4mm rate from the 124 year old flood example. So how long would it take the silt to normally bury a Nessie skeleton?

Not knowing what species the Loch Ness Monster may belong to, I will stick with a candidate whose skeleton is well known, the plesiosaur. The largest bone would be one of the main vertebrae and I doubt any of its dimensions would exceed 20cm. At a deposition rate of 4mm per annum, this, the last bone of the carcass would disappear after 50 years.

At our faster rate of greater than 1cm per annum, it is gone in 20 years. If an event akin to the 1868 flood occurs, it is probably covered in a matter of days. You perhaps begin to see how greater a problem this is on closer analysis.


But you may retort that there is more than one Loch Ness Monster and they must die on a regular basis, thus making them more amenable to a search. I would agree with you on that matter. Nobody knows when this creature entered the loch, but in the estimated 20 metres or more of deposits laid on the loch floor since the last Ice Age, there must be a good number of bones in varying stages of decomposition. Indeed, it is hoped that if the bones are encased in the clay quick enough before the slightly acidic waters totally breaks them down, there is a good chance of many examinable bones being found. I say that with a degree of optimism since I am not even sure if bones of known animals have been found in the various core samples collected over the last 20 years.

So let me indulge in some arithmetical speculation. If the loch contains a population of thirty monsters of varying sizes with an average lifespan of thirty years, then one carcass gets deposited every year. If it takes 50 years to completely silt over one carcass then this suggests there are fifty carcasses on the loch bed with varying degrees of exposure.

Concentrating on the floor of the loch and not the sides, the loch is 26 miles or 42 kilometres long and the width of the loch floor is at least half a mile or 0.8 kilometres. This gives an approximates floor area of 33.6 million square metres.

If we assume the area of the floor bed covered by a carcass is 10m by 1m, we get a carcass surface area of 10 square metres. Total up our fifty carcasses and we get no more than 500 square metres. This means the carcasses cover 0.0015% of the total floor of the loch. The probability of a ROV or diver submerging and alighting on one of these carcasses by chance is therefore about 1 in 67000.

Even if a ROV started at one end of the loch with a lit up search area radius of two metres and went to the other end of the loch, the odds of seeing anything is still 200 to 1 against. I am not aware of any such vehicle coming close to achieving this task in practise.

I am not saying this is the most accurate calculation, but in terms of showing the magnitude of the task, I think it has done its job. The bottom line is that it could be one, ten or a hundred carcasses lying on the loch floor or even none. It all depends on the population and its birth and death rates, though one would assume the two rates are nearly equivalent for a stable population.

However, since you or I do not know what this creature is, then it is not the Loch Ness Monster we are critiquing, but the various models put forward to explain it, and there are plenty of them! Indeed, there are monster theories that predict zero or next to zero carcasses. If anyone tells there "should be carcasses", ask what model they are using and why.


Of course, the odds could be improved by dredging up tonnes of the loch floor and panning for bone debris like gold prospectors. Sticking to our one a year carcass assumption, that gives an upper limit of 1000 carcasses buried in the sediment over the last one thousand years. If 1000 years of silt deposition gives us 2 metres of clay then the search volume is about 67 million cubic metres.

If a typical carcass takes up 10 cubic metres then the probability that a dredged up volume of 10 cubic metres contains anything is 6700 to 1 against. Of course, it is possible that the bones may generally be scattered over a wider area. Readers may wish to comment on whether that makes any difference whatsoever to the search.

Now some kind of dredging was attempted by the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau in the 1960s or 1970s. I have no idea how deep or wide that experiment went, but based on these odds, I doubt they had much chance of success.

Today, the sediments of Loch Ness are regarded as something of a scientific treasure trove for other reasons. The lack of water movement on the loch floor means sediment is laid in an orderly chronological fashion and hence provides a valuable natural journal of local and global events stretching back at least to the last glaciation and possibly beyond. In that light, it is unlikely we are going to see any serious dredging operations.

Attempts to search the loch for carcass material has been ongoing for decades, though it has tended to be haphazard, sporadic and limited to the shallower side regions. Anyone who goes down 200 metres to the floor of the loch for a sustained search is going to be susceptible to the bends without careful decompression procedures.

The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that any activity on the bed of the loch may stir up the sediment into impenetrable clouds of silt. Any search would have to be careful to maintain a certain height above this volatile surface.

Underwater searches of the loch bottom certainly go as far back as Operation Deepscan in 1987 when Osprey low light video cameras were sent down to investigate sonar hits.  Hours of observation were achieved with no "monster" success. However, it is to be noted that next to nothing at all was observed on the fine silt surface. Only the occasional twig was observed, not even logs were seen. If your search can't even find a common log, how can you expect to find a Nessie skeleton?

That lack of observation of even presumed common objects was somewhat rectified in later expeditions. A number of visits to the loch with remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) have occurred in subsequent years (see clip below). If a sum of the total operational hours on the loch bed could be added up over the last 25 years, one may begin to get an idea of how close or far they have got to beating the long odds.

But note, operational hours does not equate to productive searches. Most forays into the loch have been primarily for the purposes of testing equipment, not monster hunting. If the ROV merely dropped to the bottom but did not move around much and focused on testing its robot arms, that is of little use.


In practise, the one expedition that caught my interest was the 2005 search by Robert Rines, his Academy of Applied Science team and others. A summary of their search was presented to the Oceans 07 conference in Aberdeen seven years ago. Armed with a side scan sonar, some ROVs and underwater video cameras, they towed the transducer down the loch at a depth of 150 feet looking for targets of interest as it mapped the bottom and sides. Presumably anything above the transducer was not recorded (hence it was not a whole loch scan as some aver).

From this, they identified over one hundred objects of interest, which brings us to the first point. Sonar does not distinguish between skeletons and known debris that litters the loch. The normal gas filled cavities that register strong signals with living animals are not present and even decomposition gases will be short lived and small at greater depth. Doubtless, there were other sonar features which were more numerous and deemed not of interest. There appears to be a high noise to signal ratio in what was essentially a loch contour inspection.

One sonar hit was described as resembling straight long neck vertebrae. When the ROV got there, it was nothing more than staggered layers of shale rock. Other hard signals from under the Horseshoe Scree proved to be massive rock cliffs and chasms dropping to 600 feet below. So the second point is that multiple echoes from the sides were causing so much ambiguity as to make interpretation of the images difficult.

It was not stated how many of the one hundred targets were located in this potentially ambiguous zone of interpretation. Perhaps they would have more luck on the flat bottom. Below is a sonar hit at 112 feet and the corresponding tree trunk that was found by the ROV. Admittedly, this was well off the maximum depth of the loch, but it demonstrates the sonar potential.

Does this surface mapping approach reduce the long odds mentioned above? Yes it does, depending on the resolution and interpretation of the images. Assuming the axes on the sonar image are in metres, that would suggest that objects down to our 20cm vertebrae would be on the borderline of resolution. The problem is our hypothetical bone would not be readily distinguished from a 20cm stone or lump of wood and so there would be a drain on resources investigating each one.

So, it appears that Robert Rines' strategy was to look for larger, whole carcasses where some degree of structure definition could guide precious ROV deployment time. This particular tree trunk arrangement covered a length of about 14 metres - a good monster sized target. Whether any of those one hundred or more targets was a carcass is a moot point. The point being that unless a diver or ROV is sent down and comes back with a sample, it is all conjecture.

As it turns out, one of the ROVs went AWOL and the other two had to be diverted into finding it. Because of this, only a few targets were investigated before they had to pack up and go. Some might say that the Loch Ness Hoodoo struck again but it would have been interesting to have seen what was made of these other targets. In fact, just seeing the candidate sonar images would be a start!

I would also liked to have known whether there was any targets in the deepest parts of the loch and how signal attenuation affected interpretation of sonar returns.  Also, as a control experiment, it would have been interesting to see if any seal, human, sheep, cow or deer bones were found. After all, if you can't find them, it is unlikely you will find rarer Nessie bones. All in all, this was an expedition which showed promise but events constrained them. Nevertheless, future ventures of this kind may yet be fruitful.


Talk of finding Loch Ness Monster skeletons has always been a bit of a subjective affair. Critics tend to issue words like "should have" or "must have" without giving any solid reasons why. I hope the numbers above give a sense of the magnitude of the task. But looking to the future, the task of going to the bottom of the loch to conduct an intensive search is an unlikely event.

Past searches have always been thin and opportunistic due to lack of funds. If that was the way it was when the climate was more receptive to a monster in the loch, what will it be like in this more sceptical environment?  Let's just say I am not holding my breath.

Monster hunters such as myself, Gordon Holmes and others cannot carry the can on this. The loch bed is hundreds of feet below us and those that have influence are not going to help us in any attempt to dredge something up. If one invested in diving equipment, then side searches along the shallower regions offers some chance of finding something. But with over 50 miles of shoreline going down to a searchable depth of 70 feet, this could become a thankless task.

But perhaps there is another route in the search for traces of the Loch Ness Monster. I am referring to the recent advances in DNA analysis. A year or so back, it was revealed that a Dutch study had managed to discover the various species resident in a number of lakes by examining their DNA traces in a sample of water. To put it in their own words:

Freshwater ecosystems are among the most endangered habitats on Earth, with thousands of animal species known to be threatened or already extinct. Reliable monitoring of threatened organisms is crucial for data-driven conservation actions but remains a challenge owing to nonstandardized methods that depend on practical and taxonomic expertise, which is rapidly declining. Here, we show that a diversity of rare and threatened freshwater animals—representing amphibians, fish, mammals, insects and crustaceans—can be detected and quantified based on DNA obtained directly from small water samples of lakes, ponds and streams.

We successfully validate our findings in a controlled mesocosm experiment and show that DNA becomes undetectable within 2 weeks after removal of animals, indicating that DNA traces are near contemporary with presence of the species. We further demonstrate that entire faunas of amphibians and fish can be detected by high-throughput sequencing of DNA extracted from pond water. Our findings underpin the ubiquitous nature of DNA traces in the environment and establish environmental DNA as a tool for monitoring rare and threatened species across a wide range of taxonomic groups.

So how applicable is this technique to the mysterious animals of Loch Ness? The first problem is to decide what constitutes Nessie DNA. Since it is not known what this might be, the analysis of any sample would have to eliminate the known species and see what is left. Anything which is unknown would clearly be of great interest and could at least be compared to species with similar DNA sequences.

The second problem is whether the vastness of Loch Ness and the potential Nessie biomass makes sampling possible. Loch Ness may be more oligotrophic than the lakes tested for this sampling technique and hence less suitable. The way ahead here would be to first of all test whether all known species are indeed detectable using this procedure.

Finally, samples would have to be taken from various locations underwater since it is also not known where these creatures are most likely to frequent. So we are talking here about samples from the open pelagic regions, the littoral, abyssal and benthic regions.

Undoubtedly, this would cost thousands of pounds to process. Who would foot that bill? The ideal people, in my opinion, would be the owners of the exhibition centres who take in revenues of millions of pounds per annum because of this mystery. Will any of this happen? At this point in time, I have no confidence it will.

Depending on your preferred model of the Loch Ness Monster, there may be zero or more bodies awaiting discovery. If no bones are found after intensive searches, that certainly puts any vertebrate model of the Loch Ness Monster under pressure. To others who believe in no monsters, paranormal monsters, invertebrate monsters or travelling monsters, this will merely serve to strengthen their position.


  1. This is a really good piece of reading GB.i didnt realise that seals got shot in loch ness!!!! And just to add to sheep skeletons , over the years i have seen a few washed up in borlum bay a one year i saw three in that area but one was bigger so probably a deer!!!

    1. Thanks, Jake. I am wondering how these sheep end up dead. Disease, predation?

  2. Dunno. Last year i went down borlum bay but didnt see any but bout 7 years ago i saw three looked like it had bin there a while

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Saying that GB i took it they were sheep but my mate in fort augustus suggested they could be mountain goats that had fallen into the loch ! But i dont k ow

    1. In the area of Borlum Bay i'd reckon far more likely to be sheep or perhaps deer. The mountain goats seem to frequent the southwestern shore between Foyers and Fort Augustus. You see them in the area of horseshoe screes often.

  5. Good thoughtful post as ever Roland.

    I've seen a couple of sheep carcasses down by Urquhart Bay in my time, and one by Dores beach. But then again i've also stumbled upon sheep carcasses regularly around the wilds of Scotland. I would attribute these deaths to natural causes.

    I've thought for a while DNA sampling may be the way forward in the Nessie hunt.

  6. A lot of work and calculations in compiling that post. But what about possibility no. 5 for lack of corpses -- cannibalism?
    Re the use of stones for ballast, I seem to remember reading something a few years ago about piles of stones having found on the bed of the loch -- but what was the source?


    1. I did mention cannibalism, but I would still expect a skeleton to be left behind.

    2. I suppose you could say that a form of sampling took place when the Caley Canal was being cut. Nothing much found, so chalk up half a point to Geordie Sceptic there. Not that there was any Highland Council archaeologist on hand to sift for traces of amphibian or munched-up monster.
      Of course, that's based on the idea that Loch Ness extended at least as far as Kytra Lock thousands of years ago before Glacial Loch Roy burst and brought down a lot of debris. It may have extended quite a lot further than that.
      So there were catastrophic changes to deposits in ancient times. Then, in the early 19th century Nessie started getting dumped on:
      "…the mouth of the river [at Fort Augustus], where the dredging machine was at work – an engine of enormous power…The rubbish is emptied by the buckets as they revolve, upon a shoot, down which it slides into a boat ; that boat they row some 50 or 60 yards out into the Loch -- into 40 fathom water ; and when the rubbish is let out by a trap door, the boat being suddenly lightened of its whole burthen, bounds up like a cork in the water."
      (Robert Southey, "Journal of a tour in Scotland in 1819")


    3. Good point about the Caledonian Canal dredging. What was being dredged though, the exisiting river or the new waterway? if the new waterway, nothing can be expected there as it was dry ground originally. If the River Oich, I am not sure there would be anything to find there either?

    4. Not quite sure. The canal occupied the old mouth of the River Oich and the river was moved to a new cut to the north. but thousands of years ago the area may all have been loch -- although anything of interest is quite likely tens of feet down under gravel &c.
      Southey also referred to the "mini-tsunami" at the time of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. Maybe that was more than a tremor being felt. Maybe it triggered a slump of material in the loch. There was something a bit similar in Loch Tay in 1784 and it couldn't be linked to any known earthquake -- so maybe again caused by a landslip in that loch.
      Horseshoe Scree has a raw, unstable look to it -- I suppose that unless there's an old sketch of it we don't know if some material fell from there before the mid-19th century.


    5. The 1755 earthquake should leave a marker in the sediment core, just like the 1868 flood. Whether it would have laid as much new sediment is another matter.

    6. "At our faster rate of greater than 1cm per annum, it [a plesiosaur vertebra] is gone in 20 years. If an event akin to the 1868 flood occurs, it is probably covered in a matter of days. "

      Just to jump back in I seem to recall that there was a major flood affecting Inverness about every 25 years in the 19th century. I'll need to do a bit more digging to confirm that, but the 1829 "Muckle Flood" which affected the area from Loch Ness to Montrose was the most notorious. And how the small matter of Loch Lochy overtopping its lock gates by 3 feet in 1834 played further up the Great Glen I'm not sure.


    7. Hmmm, I wonder when the last one was? Could have a bearing on carcass burial.

  7. Just a trivial note: in March 1934 press reported that the LNM was seen in December 1933 at Inverness port heading out to sea and therefore the Querqueville pseudoplesiosaur could be the LNM.

    1. I seem to recall the late Tim Dinsdale in one of his books (no bodies found floating question) suggested the cold temperature at deep points in the lock and the water pressure would stop a body decomposing in the normal way, hence reducing the probability that a dead creature would float to the surface (or words to that effect)

  8. Could be, if they are a type of Trionychide, that they completely bury themselves before they croak. Softshell turtles can simply sit on the bottom and vibrate themselves under the muddy or sandy bottom. From there they could expire and would remain hidden unless located and dug up.

    1. A 30ft humped monster knowing when its time is up and burying itself in that bottom silt, even though it's pretty firm and clay-like just a foot or so below the bottom of the water. Errr... no. Just no.

    2. Well, Dick Raynor assured Victor Perera that the silt was so deep, it could easily bury a fifty foot carcass.

    3. Deep yes, soft enough for a huge animal to burrow into? No.

    4. I am not so sure. Some silt you can walk thru, some is too compact to dig into. That suggests a form of silt in between.

    5. No silt at the bottom of that loch which is soft enough below a foot or so for a 30 ft humped beast to burrow into. Just ask Adrian Shine and his assistants.

  9. scientific sid20 May 2014 at 15:40

    Yes in certain places soft enough to bury a large creature.

  10. Great post GB and lots to think about. Glad the loch never giving up its dead has been given some references - I referred to it on a previous thread and Geordie Sceptic asked (perfectly reasonably) for my source, but this was simply people having told me, which I didn't think would pass muster as a justification! In one case it was a story told me by a Lewiston resident about a millionaire who had a wedding party on a boat and his wife fell overboard and drowned, never to be found. This was all supposed to have happened in the modern era, at least not earlier than the 1980s, so maybe someone might know if this happened, but I'll admit it has the flavour of the beginning of a ghost story rather than the relation of a real event.
    The point about the rarity of finding things we know have drowned in the loch is of key importance though and Dick's comment on seals is interesting in that regard. The slower decomposition thing, with gases under pressure not leading bodies to float, is probably relevant here.
    The loch bottom's pristine condition, what it can tell us due to that and so on are good arguments against dredging (even if anyone had the resources to do a dredging job on a scale which might find something, which seems unlikely). I understand that there are machines used by palaeontologists which can find dinosaur bones by sending a tremor through the ground and catching echoes of different densities - but presumably none has been adapted to work at depth, and I think they are hit and miss machines whose success depends on having a fairly shrewd idea of where what you're looking for is likely to be in the first place.
    DNA traces in water - had no idea that was even possible. Seems worth a shout. And on the hardness of the silt, wouldn't Adrian Shine and the others who worked on the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition be able to provide some info? They seem to have probed the nature of the loch bottom more than anyone else.

    1. Thanks. You may be thinking of the Hambro incident regarding the millionaire. he was a banker on board a boat with his wife and others in 1932 when it caught fire.

      All swam to safety apart from his wife who drowned (despite being a good swimmer). The divers never found the body and we have apochryphal tales of giant eels swimming around them.

      My own opinion is that they were very unlikely to find the body given the darkness down there and the great depths off the Horseshoe Scree.

  11. Sorry to change the subject Glasgow boy but rumours of a sighting on tues morning. Any truth in it?

    1. I have seen nothing, where did you pick it up?

    2. I see it now, Jake. No details whatsoever!

  12. Yeah nothing GB.. maybe something will come to light.

  13. Back for another bite, or gulp [ugh!] of Nessie DNA?

    Another quote from the poet Southey :
    "The water is said to be unwholesome, acting as a purgative upon man and beast. It cannot derive this quality from the peat mosses thro' which the feeders of the lake pass, and from which they may proceed ; for peat would rather impart an opposite effect."
    A strange echo here of Ted Holiday quoting the parish minister of Alness in 1730:
    "They say the River is not sonsy, nor yet the loch from which it comes being Loch Glaish [Glass], 3 miles in length. Apparitions they report to be seen about it and that called the Water-horse."



    1. So what if they find hooves in the silt? :)

  14. They have a DNA process by which they sample the lake water and can detect everything that's swimming in the lake.what do you think GB?

    1. That's what I mentioned in the article.

    2. Oops..
      BTW,is it difficult and,or expensive to do it?many the lochness mystery blog readers can crowd fund it,especially GS since he appears to be getting paid to post comments.

    3. Adrian Shine and the Loch Ness Project should do it - funded by his employees at the Loch Ness Centre.

  15. I agree with Jake this is a very good write up Mr Watson. And seeing as we have another john in here i will change my name 2 avoid confusion. Im now John B ha

  16. It would appear to me, that the skeptics quoted in the article have answered the question of floating or rather the lack of floating carcasses much in the favor of why no dead bodies of an unknown animal have ever been recovered. Sometimes they are their own worst enemies, how ironic.

  17. "a dying, aquatic creature would have less energy to move itself up from the depths, let alone haul itself into shallow waters"

    What is the weak link that would be most likely to finish off elderly amphibians in an environment without predators? Come in, Steve Plambeck...or anyone, really.


  18. hope they can see this one soonest. :) if this is really true then this will be one of the greatest myth discovering :) "IF"