Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The Plesiosaur Theory



A mini debate of sorts has arisen in a small corner of the Web concerning Plesiosaurs. To wit, is the Loch Ness Monster one of their ilk? A recent article by Nick Redfern dismisses the idea and that has led to a growing thread on the Zombie Plesiosaur Facebook page. I chipped in with a few comments but thought after nearly four years of blogging on Nessie, I really ought to say something about plesiosaurs.

In fact, it is well overdue since the Loch Ness Monster and plesiosaurs has been fixed in the public mind since the early days of the Nessie story. Indeed, the two have been almost synonymous in the media representation of the phenomenon for decades. The reason behind that is quite simple when the various theories are considered by the populist press.

Giant slug? Ugly.
Giant eel? Boring.
Paranormal manifestation? Wacky.
Surviving aquatic dinosaur? Now you're talking.

Nothing resonates more with the public imagination than a living dinosaur. Okay, I am not sure plesiosaurs are strictly dinosaurs, but the public doesn't care about that. The earliest reference I have seen on this theory in the Loch Ness story is from the Inverness Courier dated 24th October 1933. That article mentions a Philip Stalker who gave a radio talk on the monster citing this amongst other theories.

This was only just over five months after the first reports began to be published. Rupert T. Gould also mentions a letter to the Morning Post newspaper which promotes the theory on the 14th October 1933. I have not seen that particular newspaper, but it is fairly clear to me that the long neck from the August 1933 Spicers story was the catalyst for this line of thought.

That being said, Rupert Gould was not favourably inclined to the theory in his 1934 book. His reasoning being that the air breathing creature should have been seen more frequently, some bones should have been found and the creature was extinct anyway. He did not discount the idea that some evolved descendant of the original plesiosaur swam the oceans of the world, but he could not see such a beast residing in Loch Ness.

However, the idea that Loch Ness contained an evolved form of the species gained traction in the decades ahead. Loch Ness Monster expert, Maurice Burton, promoted the idea towards the end of the 1950s and his student, Tim Dinsdale, fell in favour with the idea when he published his popular book "Loch Ness Monster" in 1961.

Tim attempted to counter Gould's objections by suggesting ideas such as the monster covertly taking in air via nostrils on the top of the head or even using the reports of "horns" as suggestive of extended nostrils. Meanwhile, Tim could always call upon the trusty ceolacanth to counter arguments about extinction. As a bonus, it would be proposed that a modified plesiosaur could have taken upon itself other quirky abilities, such as the monster's flexible hump configuration (others would also suggest a hypothetical rhomboidal tail misinterpreted as a second "hump").

It seemed to work as the theory gained ground into the 1960s and 1970s. The painting at the top of the article was executed by William Owen and I believe formed part of the Great Glen Exhibition at that time. How many of the monster believers held to the idea of a modified plesiosaur is not clear to me, but it seemed to be ahead of the other candidates such as eels, worms and tulpas.

However, Roy Mackal, in his 1976 "The Monsters of Loch Ness", downgraded the plesiosaur to third place in a list of candidate animals, well behind the giant eel and amphibian. It would seem these days that the giant eel has triumphed over the plesiosaur as a hopeful monster.

By the time Tim Dinsdale published the fourth edition of his book in 1982, he still listed the candidates but he was now non-committal on any of them. He still believed there was an unknown animal there, what it was eluded him (though one might wonder if his less publicised paranormal views had a say).

I myself have not subscribed to the traditional plesiosaur theory in a long time. The problems are too many to me. The idea that a number of air breathing plesiosaurs could be swimming in the upper echelons of the open water column was dealt a blow when sonar failed to register that scenario. Yes, anomalous sonar contacts have been recorded over the decades, but nothing consistent with open water air breathers. The large lungs would have easily shown up on sonar.

The problem with required multiple surfacings to breath was also evident. Dinsdale speculated about the use of extended horns to take in air but this was not a solution to the rarity of monster surfacings. The problem is not inhalation, it is exhalation. Have you ever seen a whale come up for air? The noise and spray that accompanies the exhalation leaves no one in doubt that there is a large animal around.

If the Loch Ness Plesiosaur comes up for air, even just below the surface, we should hear it before we see it. I would also add that even if the creature was regularly just swimming inches below the surface, the head and part of the neck would be visible from cruise boats. The conclusion is simple, the Loch Ness Monster cannot be an air breather, even by surreptitious means.

Apart from the fact that the plesiosaur is extinct in the fossil record, there is the problem of those shape shifting humps, that very flexible neck and a head that is so small it is often described as a continuation of the neck. We even have reports of the head-neck extending in length and retracting into the main body! These are more suggestive of a neck-like appendage that is boneless rather than the neck vertebrae of the traditional plesiosaurus. Furthermore, could the plesiosaur move on land like our beast has been reported doing?

When all you have is 70 million year old bones, there is plenty of room for speculation. This all points to the conclusion that the plesiosaur as known from the fossil record is an unlikely candidate for the Loch Ness Monster. However, this did not deter those such as Tim Dinsdale who initially suggested a modified plesiosaur that had developed various Nessie-like attributes over geological time.

So is it as simple as adding in skin/gills which have replaced lungs to extract oxygen from water? How simple is it to add in those multiple humps? If the lungs change into a buoyancy mechanism, how does it still evade sonar? It should be clear that the more features that are added in, the more improbable our converted plesiosaur becomes.

The idea is not impossible, it is just unlikely that an extinct plesiosaur has turned up at Loch Ness with all these add ons. Like Tim Dinsdale, I regard the Loch Ness Monster as something else - an unknown creature yet to be identified. That may seem a retrograde step when one can at least come up with something known to science from the past. I agree, but in my opinion the sightings database says "No" to plesiosaurs.













138 comments:

  1. Hi GB,

    I believe Roy Mackal's favourite zoological candidate for the LNM was a rather large Sirenian (Manatee, Dugong). That 2010 sighting that you featured on your blog the middle of last year was curious in that the creature seen was proportionally whale-sized yet the creatures skin-texture was like that of an elephants. I remember watching an episode (I'm not sure) where theres a clip of Roy Mackal who stated that 'Sirenians are related to elephants, but completely aquatic'. Could be food for thought but then the largest Sirenian was the Stellar's Sea Cow, which was a saltwater species, as are Manatees and Dugongs though.

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  2. At the end of his book Mackal decides on the amphibian as the best candidate, with the giant eel coming next. I'm not sure if he was aware of the eunuch eel hypothesis, which has the unique advantage of not requiring a breeding population of large animals.

    GB's arguments against there being large air-breathers in LN would apply equally to a sirenian. Unless, possibly, they had acquired the ability to breathe out slowly and quietly!

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    1. True, I doubt anything with lungs could hide in Loch Ness today.

      It was suggested on the plesiosuar forum that this problem could be avoided if Nessie was itinerant between Loch Ness and the sea. Though I am open to individual creatures sometmes doing that, such a scenario is not workable for multiple creatures - and I doubt they all clear out when the sonar equipment arrives!

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  3. Geordie Sceptic18 June 2014 12:33

    Hi everyone, I'm back! Did you all miss me while I took a break from my favourite website?

    Have you identified that pesky monster yet? I prefer the figment of the imagination hypothesis to the plesiosaur one.

    Good article again Glasgow Boy.

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    1. Hi Geordie,
      welcome back,did you spend your break at Loch Ness prowling the shore,camera in hand looking for that pesky monster.Or did you just have a chat with Steve Feltham and relax with a pint?
      Jack.

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    2. Geordie Sceptic21 June 2014 10:40

      Hello Jack. No I wasn't up there. Haven't been for quite a while now. I only really go to LN if I have a reason for visiting Inverness.

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  4. I recall Mackal saying somewhere long forgotten, either on film or print, that the LNM breathes from just under the surface and goes on to say he's seen it

    Jon

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    1. Seen it breathing, you mean? Never heard that. To my knowledge he only claimed one sighting, and that he himself decided only merited the 'inconclusive' rather than 'positive evidence' category...
      Basically agree with GB on this. Air breathers are not plausible. And what sonar traces do exist imply animals that do not hang around near the surface often at all.
      That said, I don't see a problem with plesiosaurs being able to get onto the land - any more than with seals. But giant amphibians could get onto the land, and wouldn't need to breathe air. Possibly so could eels but not sure whether knowing an eel's body structure it could support its bulk on land at larger sizes.

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    2. As I remember, he was referring that the animal's head would lie just below the surface and breathe through some tube affair on the top of its head and that he witnessed this.

      The only other time I recall him saying he thought he was seeing the creature was how easily it was to be fooled in that it turned out to be a fishing cormorant.

      I have no opinion either way,,, I'm just making conversation about the topic at hand. :)

      Jon

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    3. Mackal did recount a sighting, don't recall anything about breathing.

      http://lochnessmystery.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/roy-mackal-1925-2013.html

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  5. Geordie Sceptic18 June 2014 21:59

    I have to say, I really don't understand this Mackal fixation so many of you have. You seem to regard him as some kind of Nessie oracle, as though he had special knowledge above all others. I have his book and all it does from my perspective is show that both reptiles and mammals are very problematic as candidates for the Loch Ness Monster. Other than that it just seems to be another monster book, even though he laid it out in a manner which implies it's a serious biology textbook.

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  6. I believe garden slugs drown in water after a few hours. Marine slugs do not; however marine slugs do not exhibit the behavior attributed to Nessie: motion, breaching, speed across the surface and speed in the water column. IMO, this leaves eels or a variation of an eel-like creature to be the most likely candidate.
    Regarding the word 'boring' referring to eels. I once caught a large river eel as a teen. Upon removing the hook, the eel sank its teeth into my thumb and started to twist its 4-foot body. I assure you the next few minutes in my rowboat were not 'boring.' My brother nearly died laughing, but I was not as amused as he. The prospect of a thirty-foot eel and what it might be capable of leaves me full of interest. Great stuff, GB. Keep 'er going.

    Regards,

    richard

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    1. I agree, Richard. A 30 foot eel would be nothing short of sensational - especially at Loch Ness.

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    2. Yes, the giant killer eel was the villian in Steve Altan's book set in Loch Ness. Not great literature but entertaining enough to finish.

      Jon

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    3. A good enough read ... would like to see it turned into a film.

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    4. I don't discount eels at all. In many ways the most reasonable candidates. I doubt huge ones could go ashore, but I've always been a bit ambivalent about the land sightings - they seem so inherently unlikely, and also appear to differ from each other in terms of description much more than the water ones.

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    5. The giant eel hypothesis is an interesting one. If there's a 30 foot eel (or eels plural) floating around the Loch then i may have to rethink my periodic dips off Dores Beach!

      As for the Alten novel - awful. Absolutely awful.

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    6. I believe the rights to a film had been secured and plans for a feature movie were in the works. See this Wikipedia entry for details of the novel and a link to the YouTube trailer.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Loch

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    7. Burton Caruthers22 June 2014 05:33

      Steve Alten's 'The Loch' was embarrassingly bad. What a hack. Quite honestly, given their respective dates, I would say Alten watched the equally atrocious 'Beneath Loch Ness' and said, "Cool! Loch Ness and 'Braveheart' war paint! I'll change the monster to an eel and I got me a story!" Ugh, dreadful!

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  7. There's only one critter that can be a candidate for the statement - "We even have reports of the head-neck extending in length and retracting into the main body!" - and that would be the snake necked turtle. The family named chelidae are sometimes called "side-neck turtles" because they have a cavity in their shells in which they fold that long neck in half, completely retracting the neck into the body. The largest lake turtle of all time, the mini-van sized Stupendemys lived just a few million years ago. It is over 100 times bigger than it's closest living relative the Podocnemis.
    Only one fossil specimen has ever been recovered. If there were an existing, similarly large version of it's close relative the snake neck turtle (both are from the sub-order Pleurodira), then that could easily explain what folks have been seeing all these years on Ness, Champlain and anywhere else long-necks are consistently reported from. Not only do stealthy lake turtles use just the tip of their nose above water to get air, but because they don't have a diaphragm like mammals, no sucking air sound is made. As far as finding shells of dead individuals, lake turtles are famous for completely burying themselves in the bottom. If they did that before they expired, then they wouldn't be found easily.

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    1. You make some interesting points there, pogsquatch.

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  8. Plus, aquatic turtles can stand the cold of Ness. In Lake Champlain, they even mate in 40ish degree water. Plesiosaurs are generally thought of as near the surface, warm shallow sea loving animals. Could be that convergent evolution is the name of the game with Nessie. A turtle that looks like a Plesiosaur. Wouldn't take much. Flippers instead of feet, large size and a very long neck are all things turtles can and do have. No rules of science are broken and the conditions at Ness would be fine. Turtles eat very little food in comparison to their body weight and can be omnivorous to boot. The few Zoologists who give lake monsters a glimmer of hope of scientifically existing do so under the auspices of it being from an order of animal that already exists, not one thought to be extinct for 60 million years. The order of Testudines is the best candidate under those conditions too. Some people are Plesiosaur slap-happy, but my money is on the quarter billion year surviving Chelonians !

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    1. Interesting. What about the reports of the LNM's head and neck waving from side to side? Would that fit in with the idea?

      *AnonStg*

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    2. Interesting. I live in New York state but far south from Champlain. And speaking of head, neck and hump.... Sandra Mansi's photo and eyewitness testimony is hard to dispute unless she's an outright fraud which she doesn't appear to be.

      What's funny though... as relating to the 'photo jamming force field effect' regarding all things paranormal. While she got her photo, she says she destroyed the negative for 'fear of ridicule'.

      Now why in hell would anyone do that? If everyone was like my family during the brownie/instamatic camera era, you just tossed the envelope with the negs and pics in a box or a drawer to be left for the ages.

      Jon

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    3. I covered this behaviour in my book, I don't see it as consistent with a normal head scenario.

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    4. Photo jamming? Happens all the time ....

      http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1901&dat=19930206&id=KI8fAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ytMEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3524,2398997

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    5. The biggest ever turtles would be large enough yes. And like amphibians they would not be so restricted by food supply as mammals (as for plesiosaurs, we can only guess how much food they might have needed)... but since a 20-foot python can go for a couple of months on a meal of a rabbit, we know cold-blooded animals are better placed to survive in low-energy environments.
      What you say about turtle breathing is very interesting. But don't they all need to lay eggs on land? With the steep shores and handful of narrow, rocky beaches that characterise Loch Ness, I can hardly see giant turtles finding suitable nocturnal habitats for their egg-laying.

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    6. Ben, the strange Mata Mata turtle, of the family chelidae are one of the snake neck turtles. It lays eggs that are activated by getting wet, so live birth or birth via egg sac is only just a short step away for an unclassified species.

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  9. I think turtles could be similar to plesiosaurs. In looks behaviour and character! People assume how plesiosaurs behaved but if our turtles had died out we wouldnt know that some could hold their breath for hours underwater and even some breath through their anus!!!! Turtles have suprised people in how they have adapted a bit similar to modern terrapins which have survived in cold water ponds all over the uk despite experts saying they need to be kept warm. Ya never know what the plesiorsaur could do and it would propably leave a few suprises !!

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  10. I will have to disagree with your views on airbreathers GB. Now im not saying nessie is a plesiosaur but i disagree with you saying you would see or hear them coming up to the surface. Ive bin watching some turtles in my local zoo in a large aquaruim and they spend all their time near the bottom of the tank or in the side rocks then every now and again they shoot up slowly head snd neck first and just touch the top of the water and breathe. I watched them underwater through the tank then watched from the surface could barely see them from the surface and only knowing they were there cus i saw them coming up through the glass in the tank. The body didnt even go close as the neck was stretched straight up! Just my opinon of course. Another great article again GB

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    1. Well, there is the scenario of a creature staying largely at the bottom (or sides) and then quickly nipping up to the surface for air every few hours before heading back to the depths.

      Yes, that is possible (or plausible?)

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  11. Geordie Sceptic22 June 2014 03:57

    I remember back in the 70s when people were supporting the plesiosaur theory, and the terribly difficult issue of the lack of surfacings was getting in the way. Someone invented small breathing tubes to allow a plesiosaur to get air unnoticed, as mentioned by GB. It always feels like people are adding on appendages or coming up with highly unlikely behaviour patterns of some unknown animal in order to create some peculiar thing which might just tick all the boxes. It never feels in any way convincing, nor realistically possible.

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  12. And not forgetting GB that a lot of airbreathers have other ways of getting oxygen. Or they can store oxygen and last for several hours. Therefore this type of creature in loch ness would not have to be in the top half of the water so much as you say about not getting picked up by sonar im high water. Again that is just my opinion :))

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    1. Geordie Sceptic22 June 2014 10:49

      Perfect case in point.

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  13. Yes GB think we can safely say we dont know how creatures behaved or adapted just by their fossils !!

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  14. We don't know for sure but we can have a fairly educated guess. Just because science doesn't know everything, doesn't mean it knows nothing.

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  15. Geordie Sceptic23 June 2014 07:47

    Using the "Science doesn't know everything" logic, believers are giving themselves free rein to dream up some bizarre giant animal which swims around scaring people, never needs to surface to breathe, is able to evade sonar and never leaves any trace of a body.

    It's a case of dreaming up the fantastical to match the illogical concept of a monster being at large.

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  16. I would like to add my 2 cents to this debate/conversation.

    GB, you and I have corresopnded about SAR previously.

    I don't know if I subscribe to the hypothesis of a long-necked turtle, but I can say the following:

    a)--No one currently knows what the entire set of breathing apparatus of plesiosaurs entailed;

    b)--No one currently knows what type of inhalation/exhalation behaviors that plesiosaurs exhibited; and

    c)--There are some turtles (specific species of sea turtles) that are reptiles, which can get one set of air at the surface, and then swim well under the surface of the ocean for weeks and weeks on that one set of air that they breathed in at the surface. Saw that mentioned on one of those Attenborough specials on Public Television over here in the States.

    So what that tells me is that you can have a (much) higher order of animal inside Loch Ness, and it could have this characteristic of sea turtles (and yet, not necessarily be a sea turtle).

    d)--I would like to add that Rines mentioned in his co-authored article in Technology Review in 1976 (page 40 by the way) that he took some imagery via a Questar telescope of the following (caption reiterated here verbatim): "The top photo taken at long range through a Questar telescope during the 1975 expedition shows twin wakes created by small projections moving down the loch. It was calculated that these wakes were about a foot apart, interestingly, agreeing with the distance between the 'horns' and on the 'head' shot."

    It seems that the photo might have been taken at night, because it looks like in black-and-white (however, I am not certain, and perhaps someone else who reads these comments might have the accurate context for the timing of when this photo was taken).

    This latter source material (the Rines article from 1976) coutresy of Scott Mardis.

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    1. I accept there is a possibility of more exotic oxygen intake given what we know of existing reptiles. I even notice some reptiles have anti-freeze proteins in their blood. That is why an animal more akin to a turtle may be a better fit than a plesiosaur. The probosces reported on the loch ness animals could be air passages though it does not detract from my initial hypotheses that lung breathers is not a likely scenario. It's the open water rarity that points elsewhere to me.

      The breathing apparatus of plesiosaurs could well be unknown and it would be a double unknown if one also has to take 70 million years of further evolution into account!

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    2. 70 million years of evolution with 70 million years of no fossils? Eh? Is that what you're actually saying here big fella?

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    3. Double unknown, that's what I am saying.

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    4. You're normally more logical than this GB. It's the likes of Jake who hold up the idea that a creature from our wildest imaginations could exist in LN.

      if we're talking about a colony of animals entering LN 12,000 years ago, then there would be (a) something in the fossil record this creature was at least very close to, and (b) modern day carcass remains. The lack of (b) is far and away the most problematic thing for the pro Nessie camp, though I have seen your attempts to convince us otherwise.

      Some strange critter you've got here. It evades photography, sonar, carcass state. You name it, this critter seems to avoid it.

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    5. I doubt "wildest imaginations" is a proper summary of thinking.

      I would presume something would appear in the fossil record, hence the reasonings of my plesiosaur/plesio-turtle colleagues,

      I think the long neck parameter can be a red herring though as (IMO) it is boneless and retractable and hence not so amenable to fossil preservation. We may be looking for long necks in the geological column when there may be precious few to find.

      The carcass issue has been addressed here and I think the LNM has only evaded photo and sonar when people such as you pronounce existing photo/sonar evidence worthless. (I also expect you to declare as "fake" any good pictures that come in the future .....)

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    6. Name even one photo a large % of the general public find convincing.

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    7. None, because y'all would take the "too good to be true" attitude.

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  17. Only a few weeks ago a new fossil was found of a large dinosaur. Many new fossils waiting to be discovered. Who knows what creatures swam the seas and lakes . Like someone said above.....its all guess work !!!!

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    1. Well, we can build a picture of what the LNM looks like independent of candidates. That is not pure guesswork.

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    2. We could if we had any convincing photos.

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  18. But how it breathes and survives is guesswork!!!

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    1. It's not that broad, its either lungs, gills or skin.

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  19. Dr S Thomson24 June 2014 13:54

    All,

    For a number of years I lectured macrobiology in a Scottish university. My students and I conducted a great deal of research into Loch Ness, including detection of the animals within.

    We obviously conducted much of our research under the guise of more mainstream biology, in order to prevent bringing the university into disrepute and causing ourselves potential funding issues.

    I have long since retired and I would be keen to reveal our quite frankly startling results and the evidence to support these. I can assure readers of this blog that there are indeed creatures of up to 30 feet in length inhabiting Loch Ness, and that these creatures exhibit behaviours which are eccentric to say the least.

    Kindest regards,

    Dr S Thomson.

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    1. Well,Dr.Thomson, as author of this blog, I would be interested to hear what you have to say. You can email me at shimei123@yahoo.co.uk

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    2. Be very interesting to see that. However, forgive me for sounding a bit dubious - if you are long since retired and the results of your research were indeed 'startling', i fail to see how they haven't been published before now.

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    3. Very interesting indeed! I wonder what he knows, or proof he has that hasn’t been in the public domain for years. Where has Mr. Thomson been since his long retirement and why has it taken him so long to divulge his “startling results and the evidence to support these.” Since he is retired and his research completed, what repercussions would there be now?

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    4. You don't want to post a lot of snarkasm (because that means you're a sceptic). You want it to be true. You want a Cruise missile to score a direct hit on Geordie HQ.
      But...you wonder about the uni's rights over any such material. You wonder about 'colleagues' sworn to silence. You wonder about the decision to bypass various Royal Societies and the British Museum.
      [Well, not really on the last one. Cos GB is The Go-To Guy!]
      Anyway,
      In Hope, and on with the show.

      *AnonStg*

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    5. Dr S Thomson29 June 2014 05:29

      All,

      Since my last post I have been in communication with the university, and they are happy for me to release our findings into the public domain (with a small number of reasonable caveats).

      However, the research and results need to be amalgamated into a less disparate form than they are currently in. The university stresses that the publication should not be via a blog or other social media. I am in discussions with their IT department with a view to publishing shortly on the university webite.

      I will inform all here when this work is complete. I would love to see the looks on the faces of the sceptics when they see what we have. Jaws will drop to the floor!

      Kindest regards,

      Dr S Thomson

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    6. Shouldn't be a problem telling us the University in question and the dates over which the research was conducted then i presume?

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    7. Chasing Leviathan5 July 2014 11:37

      Thank you, Dr Thomson. I await your findings with great interest.

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    8. There's something about this good Doctor's story which doesn't ring true. If anything of substance is produced i'll gladly eat humble pie and apologise of course.

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  20. Yes GB its either one of the 3 but my point is we dont know how long creatures can store air or how long they can stay underwater. One turtle can stay under for 5 hours without surfacing. We know this cus we have studied them but we wudnt know this by their fossils.

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  21. Not so much wildest dreams lol. Maybe the megamouth shark and the coelecanth and all the new discoveries were once a wild dream lol.

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    1. The coelacanth is a great anti-nessie example. If this rare fish can't remain undetected by humans in our vast oceans, how could a colony of monsters up to 30 feet in length remain undetected in a lake with properties around it?

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    2. They don't remain undetected. People claim to see them every year and we have photos and sonar hits. That may not satisfy your definition of "detected" but it does for others.

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    3. Quite frankly, one would be remiss if one didn't demand rather more than a handful of indistinct snaps and a number of anecdotes. Under no sensible definition would this qualify as "detection".

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    4. Indistinct? Do you think the MacNab is "indistinct"? Hard to make out those two humps, is it? Don't tell me .. it's a fake. Can't win, can we with you lot.

      1200 "anecdotes" and counting. Don't tell me, 1200 anecdotes are no better than one. Not even by one iota. Can't win, can we with you lot. If 1200 people claimed to witness a murder, that is no better than one witness ... right!


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    5. "The coelacanth is a great anti-nessie example. If this rare fish can't remain undetected by humans in our vast oceans, how could a colony of monsters up to 30 feet in length remain undetected in a lake with properties around it?"

      One rare fish has been detected in the oceans. So how many rare fish remain undetected there? I don't know and neither do you.
      So what does that have to do with Nessiteras or the price of fish?

      *AnonStg*

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    6. Roland, far better than your murder analogy is if 1200 were looking at a horse in a field and about 400 of those people had cameras and they knew it would be a world-changing event if they captured images of the horse... would we really have no good photos or videos?

      Can't win with you lot can we?

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    7. Did I just notice that you ignored the MacNab photo? Completely sidestepped it, can't let you away with that.

      This is not a better analogy at all. A horse in an open field compared to a creature that spends most of its time at the bottom of a murky loch? As I said, can't win (especially when you completely ignore the photos that are already out there).

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    8. First point: I didn't reply about the MacNab photo because it's not even worthy of serious discussion is it? Do you really think monsters nearly the size of Urquhart Castle are surfacing at the loch without anything similar photographed since the 1950s? Also, didn't MacNab prove his dishonesty when lending a fake negative to Mackal?

      The point about the horse in a field analogy is correct, because during the 1200 so-called sightings the "monster" was on the surface and not at the bottom of a murky loch. Unless you're suggesting murder witnesses could swear in court that they know what went on several hundred feet below at the bottom of a murky loch? :-)

      Delete
    9. Yes, I do think it worthy and your reply shows you only read what sceptics say about it.

      My point is our horse is there all the time to view and verify, I could take any scientific instrument up to it to confirm it is a horse. Our creature is not so accommodating to your demands.

      (I exclude sonar as a "witness" here).

      Delete
    10. Ok but even if the horse was only there for 10 or 20 seconds we know a large % of the camera carriers would get some good images.

      The MacNab photo is of no use to anyone. He showed his propensity to take photos of photos and conceal the fact through the Mackal negative incident. Sheer dishonesty.

      Delete
    11. Depends how far away it is ....

      Meanwhile, you reject the good pictures of the "horse" through a skewed view of the history of this photo (and others no doubt).

      Delete
    12. Have you read the Mackal account of the loaning of the "ORIGINAL" negative by MacNab, which was anything but the original? Or do I have to post it here? Mackal was very pro-Nessie and the deceit by MacNab upset him. How can you put your trust in MacNab after reading about that scam?

      Delete
    13. Who said it was an original? I have gone over the Mackal controversy on this blog and pointed out some problems with it.

      Delete
    14. If a skeptic was that deceitful - lending a negative of a photo of a photo and not disclosing it - you would be all over it. You know you would.

      Delete
    15. I don't think the issue of the negative is a deceitful issue.

      Delete
    16. Geordie Sceptic13 July 2014 05:55

      GB, to lend a researcher a negative which turns out to be a negative of a photograph taken of the original photograph, is - by any definition - deceitful, unless this situation was made clear at the time of the lend. And we know from Mackal's book that he was led to believe he was being loaned the original negative. What use would a secondary negative be for research purposes?

      I would never support this behaviour from a sceptic, and you should not excuse it from MacNab.

      Delete
    17. You may not support such behaviour from a sceptic, I am sure others would, or at least just say nothing.

      The Mackal text quotes "the original" but gives no context from the letter from Peter MacNab. Not helpful in making a judgement as to what Mr. MacNab original intent was in the letter.

      It cold have said "copy of the original" in the source letter which changes the meaning completely. And you presume deceit. Deceit to what end? The image MacNab sent complicated the issue for Mackal, surely not the intent of MacNab who wanted a clean interpretation? Why add complexity to the issue unless MacNab's original negative had suffered deterioration over the passing 20 years?

      You are looking for problems that are not there, as I suggest in my original article on the photogrpah.

      Delete
    18. Geordie Sceptic13 July 2014 09:04

      Please tell me what use to research a negative would be if it's merely a negative from a camera pointed at a photo rather than the original negative? I'm totally baffled by why this is acceptable to you as a researcher.

      On the other hand I do understand your desire to avoid yet another one of the old B&W snaps being consigned to the bin marked "Too Dodgy"......

      Delete
    19. And your desire to bin any photo of Nessie ... cuts both ways. You realise just pointing a camera at a negative produces a negative which is inverted to the original?

      You have ignored my original questions, you are back and back to your original modus operandi, GS.

      Cui bono? Explain the benefit of this so called subterfuge to MacNab? Why muddy the waters? Why not send the "original" negative? Perhaps because 20 years on, the original is the worse for wear in some way?

      You ask what use it is? If most of the information is transferred between negatives, then plenty of use. Besides, without thw full context of the original letter from MacNab to Mackal, it's speculation.

      Now answer me, cui bono? Why not just send the original negative and avoid people like you years down the line?


      Delete
    20. Geordie Sceptic13 July 2014 11:16

      My contention is that the non-appearance of the original negative is because MacNab may have been in the habit of producing negatives of photos of photos. He should have just sent Mackal a photo taken from the original negative, if he wasn't prepared to send the original negative. The negative he sent Mackal is at best 2 steps removed from the original.

      My belief is that there are not monsters close to the size of Urquhart Castle swimming in the loch. Therefore I am very suspicious of MacNab's entire photographic process. That's all I can say - this negative saga should ring alarm bells for everyone.

      Delete
    21. Well, I am not convinced that what was agreed to be sent and what was actually sent between MacNab and Mackal is clear at all.

      Even when Mackal says "the original" in his own double quotes, is he quoting MacNab or he presumed it was an original and quoted the words out of dubiety?

      I would also note that when Dick Raynor requested a print from MacNab, he wa given a picture that was the same as the Mackal image, which suggests that was all he had.

      Delete
  22. To steal an approach from Nick Redfern's recent article (http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2014/06/nessie-is-a-plesiosaur-hell-no/)...

    Surfacing to breathe every 5 hours means 5 surfacings per day per animal. Assuming a population of merely 20 animals, that's 100 surfacings per day (5 x 20) which works out to 36,500 per year. If the animals are stealthy enough to avoid witnesses, cameras, and sonar 99% of the time, that should still leave 365 sightings per year, or about one per day. We aren't getting nearly that many reports, and never have.

    We either have a benthic, water-breathing animal that only rarely leaves the bottom, and even more rarely ventures onto land, or we have nothing at all.

    There are just too few signs of this animal about for it to be an air breather, and too many to say there can't be anything there. Many people find that annoying, but nature didn't arrange everything for our convenience.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Unless an airbreather has found another way of getting oxygen ! A bit like th lung fish grew lungs to adapt. Who knows? Its happend before :) and as for the question on the colecanth maybe its because there are hundreds of them in one area and they did remain undetected for thousands of years before one was caught by chance!!!! :)))

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  24. And some turtles can hibernate underwater. What if nessie was active at night and slept during day. If a turtle can do 5 hours why cant another reptile do longer if sleeing. Yes unlikely but nobody knows! And again im sure its possible for a long necked creature to touch the surface without bin seen especially on a wavy loch! I watched the turtles in the zoo and could barely see them touch the surface and that is on flat alm water. Just my opinion of course :)))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I think Nessie is primarily nocturnal, I even think the sighitngs database confirms that,

      Delete
  25. A few years ago i would of thought the same as you lot on seeing airbreathers more often. 20 plus in one loch. But something has happened to change my mind. I know for a fact that a group of airbreathing reptiles can remain unseen in a stretch of water because its happening on my doorstep :)) so anyone who tells me its impossible i sorry old pal but ur wrong :))))

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  26. It would be an incredibly dramatic evolutionary shift for a large animal like a plesiosaur to take a physiological right turn somewhere along the line and go from air-breather to water-breather. I can't envisage a set of circumstances in nature that would prompt such a change.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hard for me to imagine a fish growing lungs but it did !@

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No it ain't that hard to imagine - it's a well researched evolutionary step. Lungfish are an evolutionary throwback to the time when life crawled out of the seas onto land.

      Now, an evolutionary shift in the other direction? That's a lot harder to envisage.

      Delete
    2. A fish that grows lungs gains instant access to a whole new world, one where it has no competition from water breathers. By contrast the plesiosaur is already at home in the water, any gains it would make from breathing water are much more subtle.

      Delete
    3. Just speculating, but what kind of effect could a post-asteroid strike world have on air breathing plesosaurs? Did plesiosaurs come on land a lot prior to the mass extinction? If forced to stay in the water, would changes would that trigger?

      Delete
    4. It's an interesting thought, but i would assume the atmospheric impact of such a disaster would be too quick for gradual evolutionary change to deal with. Especially for large air breathers.

      Like i say, i find it hard to get my head around the type of environmental circumstance that would prompt a large air breather to evolve into a large water breather.

      Delete
  28. Some reports on google claim that some sea turtles stay underwater for up to 7 hours whilst resting and sleeping. None of us know how a plesiosaur worked so its possible it cud be active at night and rest during the day therefore wudnt be seen. Highly unlikely maybe but we cant rule it out thats what im saying. I have over 20 terrapins in my council pond which i fish regulary for hours on end yet ive never seen one once ! How are they surfacing without me seeing them? Food for thought :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jake, why are you so desperate for Nessie to be a plesiosaur? Childhood memories of playing with dinosaur models maybe?

      Delete
  29. So why have some turtles developed the ability to stay underwater for 7 hours whilst most turtles / reptiles breathe air every 10 or 20 mins?

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  30. Mystery man if u read what i have said i havnt said nessie is a plesiosaur laaa lol im open minded :) im just saying ya cant rule out reptiles cus they are air breathers. And no didnt have dinosaur models as a kid old fruit it was always subbuteonfor me kid lol :))))

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  31. Who knows? The point is they are still air breathers. Yes, i can envisage an air breathing animal in the water evolving a capability to submerge for prolonged periods, but it would remain an air breather and therefore still have to surface regularly.

    What i can't envisage is a large air breather evolving into a water breather. Why would such an evolutionary shift take place? Evolution suggests a shift in the polar opposite direction.

    As a couple of posters have pointed out - a breathing herd of large air breathers in a closed environment like Loch Ness would leave a far bigger footprint than we have seen thus far. Even if they only surfaced once a day. Even if they only surface once a week. Even if they only surfaced at night. The loch has been surveyed by various means by day and night and the data just doesn't support that theory, however much we'd like it to be true.

    ReplyDelete
  32. No dinosaur models for me lad. But i do confess to collecting stickers for a prehistoric animals and myths sticker album lol and i got all 300 of them bar one ...guess which one ??? The loch ness monster :))) howz about that kid????

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  33. Trevorthecat yes you are right about the throwback of time of creatures leaving the water for the land therefore adapting/ but what about creatures returning back to the water? Could they adapt again new methods of survival. Why did a small percentage of snakes end up as sea snakes whilst most stayed on land / and they also have adapted to staying underwater for long periods without coming up for air. I agree that some reptiles that we only know now through their fossils could suprise us all in the way they respired or adapted/

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  34. Hello guys. I find the suggestion that a reptile with a large body and a long neck taking in air by touching the surface with the head only a real possibility. However i dont understand the people on here who think the jonathan bright photo is a nessie yet disagree with this breathing theory. Where is the body in the bright photo, ? If you think this is a nessie then this is what it could be doing. Head up , quick breath, and down again.There seems to be some contradiction on this debate i feel.And i saw a tv programme last week involving sea snakes and now it is believed they can stay underwater for several hours without breathing. So its all a possibility .cheers guys.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The reason why so many believers and skeptics on here don't see a Nessie in Bright's photo is because we can see clearly that the object is a wave.

      Delete
    2. Well, I stated my reasons why I don't think that. So far, I have not seen much come back on that - only "it's clearly not".

      Delete
    3. Then you are not reading the responses to your blog properly. Someone pointed out the way the object seamlessly blends with the surrounding water, and also pointed out that you will find no object on the entire internet which does that, apart from waves.

      It's a wave, not a monster. Seriously, it's shocking that you can't recognise that.

      Delete
    4. Only shocking if you take the seamless opinion as dogmatic truth.

      Delete
    5. Ok then rise to the challenge and show us any non-wave object at all which rises out of a body of water with that smooth curve which prevents you from seeing where the object ends and the water begins.

      I know you'll not find anything, however long and hard you scour the internet.

      Delete
    6. Said it before and will say it again - the Bright photo is nonsense and does the debate on the LNM phenomenon no favours. This is the only forum i've seen give it the time of day.

      As far as recent sighting go, i find the John Rowe image much more interesting and worthy of study.

      Delete
    7. I must be looking at a different picture, I see no seamless rise.

      Delete
    8. Ok then please repost the photo with a line drawn on the points at which "animal" becomes water. Where is the delineating boundary between monster and lake? There is no boundary, because IT IS A WAVE.

      I agree with Trevor - if you continue to support Bright's wave photograph, all you do is weaken your blog and reduce what authority you might have on Loch Ness, to all but the most desperate to believe.

      Delete
    9. I am on holiday just now .... !

      Delete
  35. I have to agree on the Bright photo im afraid! Its a wave ! And my point all along is there are far better photos that dont get a mention like the photo that was taken in 2000 near the castle that is featured in a colin baxter booklet. Even friends of mine who dont believe in nessie said mmmmmm when they saw that.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Interesting read here, including Gould acknowledging seals as a likely candidate:

    http://www.lochnessinvestigation.com/Seals.html

    ReplyDelete
  37. I'm not that big a fan of the seal theory. There's no doubt they have been in the Loch, but i am very sceptical that they visit anything other than very very occasionally.

    They'll account for some sightings, but i don't think they are present often enough to account for all, or even a majority.

    The River Ness is a tricky bit of water for a seal to negotiate. Long, often pretty shallow in parts, and pretty fast flowing.

    It would be interesting to know how much trouble the fish farm at Dores has had with seals. I would imagine that would be the first port of call for a seal in the loch, so they'd be a good gauge on how often seals visit.

    I'd hazard a guess otters are present more often than seals.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Seals only enter occasionally. And the best photos ive seen are defo not seals

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jake what photos have you seen? Ive never seen any good monster photos from Ness.

      Delete
  39. Seen a few decent ones Les. One or two have appeared in booklets whilst others have bin shown to me by friends in the area.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can they be uploaded to a free photo sharing site like Flickr, and the links posted here?

      Delete
    2. Sarah Potterly8 July 2014 22:56

      If I may be so bold . . . I feel that eyewitnesses to a monster sighting being unable to produce photographic evidence is unlikely but still within the realms of possibility. However, for someone to claim to have seen photographs of a monster and yet be unable to show the wider public those photographs . . . well I'm sorry, I just don't buy that one.

      Delete
  40. Dont know Les im not into technology im a bricklayer lol ! Only use my phone to come on here! But one of the photos i have mentioned further up in this post and other good photo ive seen was on a friends phone which i dont think he made public! I agree that most photos are not of a large creature but these two for me are the best, ive also seen one or two more that i think could be!

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  41. I was telling Les what i have seen lol dont really care what anyone else thinks folks!!!!! Lol i know at least 8 people who saw the photo i saw. Wasnt my photo so cant talk for someone else why they didnt make it public!! And as for the otha convincing photo its bin made sort of public in a booklet by colin baxter.
    .....take a look :))))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is this the booklet you're talking about, Jake? There are a couple of interesting photos in it and I have queried the publishers about them in the past with no reply.

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Loch-Ness-Monster-Colin-Baxter/dp/1841072745

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    2. Isn't it for sale here?

      http://www.colinbaxter.co.uk/products/giftbooks.html

      Delete
  42. Jake, I'd politely suggest that if you didn't really care what anyone else thinks you wouldn't be on here month after month mentioning what you've seen.

    As for the elusive Colin Baxter booklet photo which you keep mentioning, could you let us all know the exact name of the booklet so we can decide for ourselves about it? Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Suggest wat ya like kid and yes i care wat people like rolad think thats wat this blog is about. And no i dont care wat anyone else thinks lol . This blog is about opinions and thats what im giving. Someone asked me what photos id seen so i told em. Les in fact. So if anyone else dont like wat i say then mind ya own buisness. Im sure roland is interested lol.

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  44. And MY OPINION lol for anyone interested is u have to take into account the circumstances of a good photo. Weve had good photos over the years but they bin prooved faked or not real. The circumstances over the best pics ive seen are very good so it makes the photos even better if u know what i mean :)) one of the photos i saw was taken off a mobile phone on the south shore by a huge sceptic friend of a friend. He showed it to my mate and admitted after years upon years of mickey taking and saying there was nothing there hed now seen something that made him change his mind. Interesting i think :)

    ReplyDelete
  45. For someone who really doesn't care what we think you respond a huge amount Jake.

    Talking about photos we never get to see really is no help to nessie discussions at all.

    Do you have the name of the Colin Baxter booklet or are we just going to keep going round in circles?

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  46. I always respond to a question, be rude not too lol. Thats what we are here for !!! I always voice my opinon if someone asks me something which is exactly what ive done here. If ya dont wantvan answer dont ask me a question lol. Havnt u got a name mr anonmous ????

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  47. Sorry Roland i cant get that up on my phone so cant see if its the one. Ill dig the booklet up tomorrow and let u know. I think its called inverness and loch ness. Aerial view of loch ness looking dowm from inverness side!

    ReplyDelete
  48. Just checked Roland its called Loch ness and Inverness. The front cover is an aerial view of loch ness looking down at lochend! The photo is on page 17. Soz about the delay folks! Goodnight all :))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Geordie Sceptic13 July 2014 05:47

      Great news, we're going to be able to scrutinise this photo Jake's been posting about.

      Delete
  49. Better than most geordie la :)

    ReplyDelete
  50. Some good points made on here especially by Tim. Yes life changed and adapted i.e fish becoming amphibians then amphibians becoming reptiles so moving from water 2 Land. Yet some creatures returned 2 the water so yes it is possible they adapted again to deal with this. Snakes and turtles a fine example. Most snakes live on land yet a small percentage went aquatic. Why ?? Maybe there is something in Loch Ness that has done the same and we could ask Why??? again. Im sure something returning 2 water would adapt again 2 stay under water 4 longer. Tim has made a good point here, interesting.

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  51. Roland,

    Did Dr. S. Thomson provide you with any updates on the potential release of his study? Please let the readership here know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have received nothing privately from him at all.

      Delete
  52. People linking the loch ness monster to a repitile is due to the witness reports of how it looks. Flippers and long neck. There are no fish or amphibious fish that resemble this.

    ReplyDelete