Tetrapod Zoology

Really: photos of the Loch Ness monster

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In, as usual, a desperate effort to bring in the hits, I thought I’d go nuts and see what posting about the Loch Ness monster might do for my stats. Hey, maybe I could throw the word sex in there as well. There: sex, there, I said it again. But seriously… anyone who’s anyone has heard of the Loch Ness monster. And most people know that various photos, allegedly depicting the Loch Ness monster, have been taken over the years. Many people have heard that some, or all, of these photos are dubious, or fake. But that’s where it ends for the vast majority of people. I would imagine that – as with the famous Patterson footage purporting to show sasquatch – most people see a given Loch Ness monster photo and think ‘Oh yeah, that’s that famous Loch Ness monster photo. I wonder if anyone’s ever worked out whether it’s a fake or not’.

Well my friends, you now need wonder no more, for here I’m going to do a quick run-down of some of the more famous images, and dish the dirt. If you know anything about the subject, or in other words if you follow the cryptozoological literature and have already read all the books and articles that discuss the pros and cons of the various Loch Ness monster photos, this will all be old-hat to you and you need to give up here and go do something more useful with your time. For the rest of you, here we go…

Just to get it out of the way, I shall begin with a bold proclamation: there is no good evidence supporting the existence of any large unknown animal in Loch Ness, and I am of the opinion that sightings and photographic and sonar evidence can be satisfactorily explained as mistaken or embellished encounters with known animals (including swimming deer, water birds, seals, and small cetaceans), waves, or other phenomena. I say this, not because I’m a knee-jerk debunker who cannot accept the idea that a big unknown animal might exist in a big body of water, but because I am familiar with the evidence, such as it is, and find it wanting. The expectation that there is an unknown animal in Loch Ness almost certainly explains the recent history of sightings from the loch – in other words, any weird bump or lump or shape that emerges from the loch is identified as a monster – but, contrary to some sources, there is no tradition of sightings, nor are there old historical reports pre-dating the 1930s (Magin 2001).

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Easily the most iconic Loch Ness monster image is this one: the so-called Surgeon’s photo, or the Wilson photo [cropped version shown at the top]. Taken in April 1934 by, supposedly, London-based gynaecologist Robert K. Wilson while he was on holiday, it shows a dark, erect-necked object surrounded by ripples. Analysis of the wave patterns around the object indicate that it is about 1.2 m tall (LeBlond & Collins 1987). Some people say that the photo was taken on April 14th, others say April 1st. The version we usually see of this photo is cropped: the original image – shown here – is much larger, shows the opposite shore of the loch, and makes the ‘monster’ appear much smaller. A second photo is supposed to show the head alone as the object is submerging, but it looks nothing like the famous first image and I see no reason to think they really were taken within seconds of each other as has been claimed.

During the 1990s it was argued that the photo was a hoax perpetrated by Ian Wetherell and his stepbrother Christian Spurling using a toy submarine with a carved monster head mounted on its top (Boyd & Martin 1994, Martin & Boyd 1999). Wetherell was the son of Marmaduke Wetherell, the big-game hunter hired by the Daily Mail in 1933 to investigate the monster: he identified some footprints as having been created by the animal, but they were actually fakes made with a dried hippo’s foot. Wetherell senior then became fired for making such a rash mistake, and apparently planned to exact some sort of revenge. Wilson was co-opted as the alleged photographer because of his respectability, and agreed to be involved as he was ‘a great practical joker’. Some people have expressed scepticism about the Spurling and Wetherell story (e.g., Smith 1994, 1995, Shuker 1995, Bauer 2002) as there are various inconsistencies. Whatever the truth, I’m confident that the photo is a hoax and can’t take seriously the idea that it might depict a real animal.

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This too-good-to-be-true photo was taken in May 1977 and was initially used in some publications as striking evidence supporting the monster’s existence. It’s one of two photos, the second of which shows the animal with a much straighter neck. A third photo – identical to the second one but showing the creature heading in the opposite direction – surfaced (ha ha) in 1983 and originated from an anonymous source (Bord & Bord 1987). In the photo shown here – sometimes affectionately termed the Loch Ness muppet photo – the ‘monster’ is translucent (yes, I said translucent), and note the white spot down at the base of the neck. The photographer is sometimes referred to as Anthony Shiels. However, Shiels isn’t just any old tourist, but Tony ‘Doc’ Shiels, the famous Irish psychic entertainer, self-proclaimed wizard of the western world, author and artist. He is associated with several proven hoaxes, including photos of Morgawr (a Cornish sea monster) that turned out to be plasticine models. Apparently little known is that Shiels used these photos to promote a, shall we say, interesting theory about the Loch Ness monster… namely, that it’s an enormous freshwater cephalopod: the ‘head and neck’ we see in the photo here is actually a sort of proboscis sticking out of the squid’s head. The white blob is actually one of the squid’s real eyes.. to see what I mean you need to go here (and scroll down). Shiels produced an article in Fortean Times on the Loch Ness squid – he called it the elephant squid – but I can’t seem to find my copy (does anyone have the citation? I don’t keep track of non-tetrapod stuff). Oh yeah, the translucency of the image results from the way the image of the model was superimposed onto the water – though I’ve heard that it’s actually a genuine feature, reflecting the fact that Nessie isn’t just a giant freshwater cephalopod, it’s also a ghost. And no, I don’t think any of this is meant to be taken seriously.

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The adjacent image is also iconic: it’s P. A. MacNab’s photo, taken in July 1955 but not made public until 1957 when it was published in Constance Whyte’s book More Than a Legend. MacNab was, so he has said, about to photo Urquhart Castle when he noticed a disturbance in the water. He quickly changed lenses and took one picture; his son was with him at the time but didn’t get to see the creature as he was busy looking at a car engine. This story is suspicious, as is the photo: the creature must have been huge (the part of it above the water is more than 16 m long, based on comparison with the castle), and, partly as a result of this, some writers have suggested that the image shows two monsters: a big male followed by a smaller female perhaps. The creature(s) is also notably (read: suspiciously) dark compared to the other dark objects in the photo. The story became properly undone when Roy Mackal obtained a copy of the negative on loan from MacNab and found a number of major discrepancies between it and the copy published by Whyte. The two images differ in the position of the castle’s reflection and in the presence of a clump of trees in the lower left corner (Mackal 1976). MacNab is on record as saying that he took two photos with two different cameras (Witchell 1974, pp. 87-88), but this can’t explain things as the ‘monster’ – which MacNab says was definitely moving when he photographed it – is in exactly the same position in both.

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Peter O’Connor’s photo, taken in May 1960, has always been one of my favourites because it looks so plausible (ish). The story is that O’Connor, camping on the shore of the loch, got up in the early morning to relieve himself. He saw the creature, waded out waist-deep into the water, and took the photo. Apparently, he was able to get so close because – trained as a Royal Marine Commando – he could walk through water without making a sound (Binns 1984). O’Connor has often been regarded as a suspicious witness because, in 1959, he claimed that he was going to lead an expedition of 60 people – kitted out with harpoons, spearguns, canoe-mounted machine guns, bombs and a machete – to kill the creature. The image is problematical: the creature appears to be stationary, rather than moving forward as O’Connor said, the lighting shows that the flash came from about 4 m above the water surface, not close to water-level as it should have, and we should be able to see light in the background given that the photo was taken at 06:30 in May. Maurice Burton reported in New Scientist that, on visiting the spot where O’Connor took his photo, he discovered three polythene bags, a ring of stones tied together with string, and a stick which looked exactly like the alleged monster’s head.

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Originally mooted by some as compelling evidence for the biological reality of the Loch Ness monster (Dinsdale 1973a, b, Witchell 1974, Mackal 1976, Scott & Rines 1975), the famous Rines-Egerton flipper photos (there are two) are undoubted fakes. We now know that genuine photos of the muddy bottom of Loch Ness were ‘enhanced’ in order to create the impressions of fin-shaped objects. This was suggested by Binns (1984) but has since been confirmed by Adrian Shine (respected long-time investigator of the Loch Ness monster phenomenon) and Dick Raynor (go here for more, including the original image). Exactly who did the enhancing remains unknown so far as I know. Needless to say, these facts negate the various interesting ideas that have been proposed about these alleged flippers and their owner. Because the flippers seem to have a stiffening rib that runs along the midline, they are unlike those of most other aquatic vertebrates. Shine (1989) noted that the fins of Loch Ness animals might not be the main propulsive organs for this reason and, noting the similarity with Australian lungfishes, suggested that the fin anatomy might indicate the creature to be a fish that crawls on the loch floor, rather than a tetrapod that frequents the water column. Often overlooked is the extraordinary size of the ‘fins’: each was estimated to be about 2 m long.

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Remarkably, Peter Scott and Robert Rines used these photos as the main basis for the formal description (in Nature!) of the Loch Ness monster as a new species they named Nessiteras rhombopteryx (Scott & Rines 1975) [adjacent image shows Scott's interpretation of the images]. It’s well known that Nessiteras rhombopteryx is an anagram of ‘monster hoax by Sir Peter S’, but I think this is just a coincidence: Scott and Rines both wrote quite a lot on the Loch Ness monster (e.g., Scott 1980, Rines 1982), and there is every reason to think that they were actually quite convinced by the putative reality of the animal. In other words, it’s blissfully na´ve to think they pulled off the naming of the animal as a one-off stunt done for laughs.

Crap, I’ve written too much. There are lots of other photos of course, and there are several bits of film. Then there are the several land sightings, and the fossils, whale bones and dead conger eels that have been found at Loch Ness. Incidentally, the model shown in the teaser post is a sort of imaginary modern plesiosaur created for a British TV programme in which a special effects company sought to deliberately fool the public. I cannot congratulate the makers on their knowledge of plesiosaur anatomy, but let’s not worry about that.

Right, what’s next? Oh yes: that.

Refs – -

Bauer, H. H. 2002. The case for the Loch Ness “monster”: the scientific evidence. Journal of Scientific Exploration 16, 225-246.

Binns, R. 1984. The Loch Ness Mystery Solved. W. H. Allen & Co, London.

Bord, J. & Bord, C. 1991. Modern Mysteries of Britain. Diamond Books, London.

Boyd, A. & Martin, D. 1994. Creating a monster. BBC Wildlife 12 (4), 22-23.

Dinsdale, T. 1973a. The Rines/Egerton picture. The Photographic Journal April 1973, 162-165.

- . 1973b. The Story of the Loch Ness. Allan Wingate, London.

LeBlond, P. H. & Collins, M. J. 1987. The Wilson Nessie photo: a size determination based on physical principles. Cryptozoology 6, 55-64.

Mackal, R. P. 1976. The Monsters of Loch Ness. The Swallow Press, Chicago.

Magin, U. 2001. Waves without wind and a floating island – historical accounts of the Loch Ness monster. In Simmons, I. & Quin, M. (eds) Fortean Studies Volume 7. John Brown Publishing (London), pp. 95-115.

Martin, D. & Boyd, A. 1999. Nessie – the Surgeon’s Photo Exposed. Martin & Boyd, East Barnet.

Rines, R. H. 1982. Summarizing a decade of underwater studies at Loch Ness. Cryptozoology 1, 24-32.

Scott, P. 1980. Observations of Wildlife. Phaidon, Oxford.

- . & Rines, R. 1975. Naming the Loch Ness monster. Nature 258, 466-468.

Shine, A. 1989. A very strange fish? In Brookesmith, P. (ed) Creatures from Elsewhere. Macdonald & Co (London), pp. 66-70.

Shuker, K. P. N. 1995. In Search of Prehistoric Survivors. Blandford, London.

Smith, R. D. 1994. Nessie not a hoax. BBC Wildlife 12 (8), 81.

- . 1995. The classic Wilson nessie photo: is the hoax a hoax? Fate November 1995, 42-44.

Witchell, N. 1974. The Loch Ness Story. Terence Dalton, Lavenham.

Comments

  1. #1 Zach Miller
    December 13, 2007

    Darren, have you seen that truck (or jeep? SUV?) commercial where said vehicle is parked on the shore of the loch, while a guy in the foreground is talking about how the myth has been debunked and everything. Suddenly, the monster rises from the depths (it’s huge), eats the car and its inhabitants, then dives back down. A second later, the vehicle comes flying out of the water.

    It’s quite funny. I’m surprised nobody’s tried using a CGI image to fake a Nessie sighting.

  2. #2 Randy
    December 13, 2007

    For those who haven’t seen it, the commercial Zach refers to is for the Toyota Tacoma pick-up truck:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCe-1LYj_4o

  3. #3 Mike Keesey
    December 13, 2007

    One the subject of deliberate fakes, there’s this pseudo-pseudo-documentary involving fictional documentary/true fictional filmmaker Werner Herzog. (I haven’t seen it yet, myself.)

  4. #4 Warren
    December 13, 2007

    You know something? Your bid to raise hits worked. I galumphed over from the list in SB Select.

    This was a really good read. Thanks for taking the time to write it. I wouldn’t mind seeing more in the cryptozoology category, FWIW.

  5. #5 Tengu
    December 13, 2007

    You forgot to mention the Surgeons photo was taken on 1st April…

    I was given Tim Dinsdales book `The Loch Ness Monster` as a child. I took it as gospel, then in my teens I pooh poohed it.

    Now I realise that though the basic premise may be false, the research was very interesting(despite the fact he was in an obvious hysterical state.)

    Tim Dinsdale believed the loch was a `sinister` place due to its grim past (no worse than many parts of Scotland!), and prone to squalls and camera malfunctions. Once he saw a strange red light in the sky.

    The loch is on britains most techtonicaly active areas. (The kessock bridge to the north of Inverness is our only earthquake proof building) it could give a sensitve person an opressed feeling, and yes, strange lights are associated with faulting.

    I have told you about mirages…maybe the loch is simply a place that shows people what they expect to see?

    (certainly the ancients were not bothered by kelpies; there is a crannog in the southern section.)

    But what about the seals, Darren? (whether they are selkie in disguise or no…and a seal gadding around where it shouldnt is a surefire candidate for being a selkie, as rthe shetlanders tell us) we know they are there (according to the NHM) has any serious study been done?

    What about loch Morar?

  6. #6 Cameron
    December 13, 2007

    Darren Naish = Darn Hernias, A Hard Sinner

    Oh those anagrams.

    As for that Elephant Squid, ugh, oh man, that’s just painful to look at.

  7. #7 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 13, 2007

    the formal description (in Nature!)

    In… in…

    WTF.

    Le Paris Match des sciences, eh?

    At the very least I’d have thought it beneath Nature to publish a nomen vanum!

  8. #8 Harry W. McCormack
    December 13, 2007

    I ran across this short film on the http://www.youtube.com website and would like to know what it is. This video is really convincing. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’ll really be shocked and amazed, to say the least. I thought it had finally been found. Thanks…..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lh7PxF1-2M&feature=related

  9. #9 Cameron McCormick
    December 13, 2007

    That video looks like viral marketing for The Water Horse. About 1:50 into the movie’s trailer the monster jumps out of the water in exactly the same fashion, it clearly is the same model. I’m guess that it is early CGI work that was cropped and modified to look like a handheld camera.

  10. #10 wolfwalker
    December 13, 2007

    In 1986, a chap named Steuart Campbell wrote a book called The Loch Ness Monster: The Evidence. He did a revised edition ten years later. Much as I like to believe there is an unknown animal in Loch Ness (and many other similar lakes around the world), I have to reluctantly admit that Campbell does a convincing job of explaining away all of the sightings, both those with photographs and those without.

    Regarding the Wilson photo, Campbell suggests that the “toy submarine hoax” explanation is itself a hoax. But he also uses some basic mathematics, combined with a knowledge of the loch-shore geography, to demonstrate that the original Wilson photograph can’t be what monster-enthusiasts claimed it was: a photo of the head and neck of a large aquatic animal. He concludes that it’s either a case of mistaken identity — that is, that Wilson photographed some much smaller, well-known animal such as an otter — or a hoax of some other type.

  11. #11 Allen Hazen
    December 14, 2007

    I thought I remembered from long ago that the “nomen dubiosissimum” Nessiteras rhombopteryx (the trivial name deriving from the Rines photo)was given (and tolerated by the zoological community) because it was agreed that, whatever the probability, if there WAS a Nessie it ought to be protected, and a zoological name was required for the paperwork under the British wildlife protection laws. Is this true or another myth? (The editors of “Nature” aren’t above a bit of playfulness in a good cause: witness their regular science fiction page and the puns in their cover blurbs!)

  12. #12 Brad McFeeters
    December 14, 2007

    Darren, what do you think of Neil Clark’s suggestion that the “Loch Ness Monster” was a circus elephant? http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/03/0309_0603009_loch_ness.html

  13. #13 Darren Naish
    December 14, 2007

    Many thanks to everyone for their comments. Here are responses to the various points raised above.

    Response to Tengu: I did, in fact, mention that the Wilson photo has (at times) been alleged to have been taken on April 1st, and I also made mention of the seals that have now been seen (and even filmed) in the loch. The youtube footage linked to by Harry McCormack is, of course, a bit of CGI produced as part of a trailer for the 2007/8 movie Water Horse: Legend of the Deep. Come on – surely you didn’t think it was real!?

    The Wilson photo ‘whistle-blowers’: as mentioned in my article, a few people have expressed scepticism about Spurling and Wetherell’s hoax story. After all, it’s one of those ‘death’s bed confession’ type stories all too easily accepted with open arms by journalists and self-proclaimed ‘skeptics’ (I use the k to differentiate them from true sceptics, viz: the rest of us). As I said, even if the story isn’t true, there’s still no chance that thing is an animal. Claims that it’s an otter’s tail or a water bird are ridiculous: it just does not resemble these objects.

    Finally, Neil Clark’s elephant theory… with the greatest of respect to Neil (whom I know), this is rubbish, apparently based on the assumption that some sightings might actually describe something like a swimming elephant. Well, none do. Furthermore, reported sightings talk of the neck and/or hump appearing only briefly before disappearing. Swimming elephants don’t disappear; they stay at the surface and end up leaving the water. Neil actually published the theory in a paper (Clark 2005): he proposed that circus owner Bertram Mills let his elephants swim in the loch (apparently this is true!).

    Finally, while Neil’s theory received a lot of coverage in the press, it’s hardly original: in 1979 an article in New Scientist proposed that swimming elephants might explain some sea serpent and lake monster sightings, and a photo of an elephant swimming off Sri Lanka was offered as exhibit A. It was noted that the swimming elephant trunk looks something like the object in the Wilson photo (which of course it doesn’t). All of this has since been repeated in several mystery animal books: see, e.g., p. 105 of Michell & Rickard (1982).

    Refs – -

    Clark, N. D. L. 2005. Tracking dinosaurs in Scotland. OUGS Journal 26 (2), 30-35.

    Michell, J. & Rickard, R. J. M. 1982. Living Wonders. Thames & Hudson, New York.

  14. #14 David Marjanovi?
    December 14, 2007

    self-proclaimed ‘skeptics’ (I use the k to differentiate them from true sceptics, viz: the rest of us)

    This might give you trouble from the Americans…

  15. #15 Jerzy or Jurek
    December 14, 2007

    Do you sell “Water horse” t-shirts, too?

    You forgot my favorite story. Apparently once a ship transporting animals destined to Edinburgh zoo dumped dead elephant seal overboard. When the carcass washed ashore, mischievious fishermen transported it to Loch Ness…

    BTW, I watched much better video on “Walking with dinosaurs” last night. Anybody knows if it was finally proved how plesiosaurs bred?

    BTW

  16. #16 Jenbug
    December 14, 2007

    I was fascinated with all things cryptozoological up until a few years ago (my late twenties), although I still like to read up on them. I don’t have a background in biology or really science as a whole, other than I enjoy reading about the natural world and its doings. Like Mulder, I want to believe, and some wee little part of me would really LIKE for there to be some truth to not only Nessie but Bigfoot and Yeti and Almas and Morag and Mokele Mbembe and all the others. I’ve also studied some of the literature (including the Time Life ‘Mysteries of the Unknown – Mysterious Creatures’–now there’s a fun afternoon’s read!) and have to agree that it’s just unlikely a population of animals as large as that could survive these millions of years without a more definitive presence or more sightings. Although it does seem that a lot of people who live there regularly see something but just don’t report it for fear of being labeled a Mad Scot.

    I still hold out hope, though! It’s been a dream of mine to go to Loch Ness and camp there somewhere on the shore for a week, and just hope for a sighting. And given the highly suggestable (and probably drunken) state I’d be in at that time, I probably WOULD see something.

  17. #17 Tengu
    December 14, 2007

    Loch Ness is so cold you would have trouble getting an elephant to drink from it, let alone swim….

    Sorry to disiillusion you Jenbug, but its a darn dull place, (unless you like seeing miscellaneous ships using the caledonian canal trot up and down it, I think if I was a water horse Id go live somewhere quieter) try loch tay for history and lomond for scenery.

    Or Morar for DEPTH (hehe)

  18. #18 Darren Naish
    December 14, 2007

    Loch Ness is so cold you would have trouble getting an elephant to drink from it, let alone swim….

    That’s exactly what I thought (Loch Ness has an average temperature of 5.5░; C) but I am reliably informed that Bertram Mills really did let his elephants swim in the loch.

    Jerzy: plesiosaurs were almost certainly viviparous, though to date there is no published evidence for this (there is an unpublished specimen that supposedly demonstrates it however). We do know however that other, more ‘primitive’ members of the same group of reptiles (Sauropterygia) were viviparous, and they were much less specialized for aquatic life than were plesiosaurs. For some old thoughts on this subject go here.

  19. #19 Nathan Myers
    December 15, 2007

    Hmm, still nothing on arboreal plesiosaurs, I see. Mainstream science fears the Truth.

    I think a Scot might describe the Loch as “feckin’ coold”, but I’d like to hear from a true Scot.

  20. #20 Emile
    December 15, 2007

    The anagram argument works the other way too – Nessiteras rhombopteryx can also form the phrase “Yes, both pix are monsters — R.” (R for Rines, of course).

  21. #21 Loren Coleman
    December 15, 2007

    In an effort to get more hits for Darren, I’ve posted my comments on this blog at Cryptomundo, with a link back over here.

    See:

    Water Horse, Nessie and Sex

    http://www.cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/nesssex/

    Best ~ Loren

  22. #22 S. Hill
    December 15, 2007

    Darren: As usual, I love your crypto posts and consider you the most authoritative and reasonable writer on the subject in general. Thanks and I raise my hand to vote for more. On the other hand, I stopped reading Cryptomundo long ago when they censored any naysayers or those that disputed their views. (They will deny it but it is established by several people.) I appreciate that you chose to get hits on the up and up instead of via hype.

  23. #23 Tim
    December 16, 2007

    Darren, I’ve become as heartily sick of knee-jerk sceptics and priests of rationalism as I am of twinky new-age angel-huggers. More so, in fact, because at least the new-agers are usually being pleasant. I came over to this article — from The Anomalist; your shameless ploy worked well — with teeth already pre-gritted.

    Thank you for confounding my negative expectations, and proving to be a thoroughly decent bloke rather than a rabid asshat. I’ve bookmarked the blog to return, next time I get two brass seconds to rub together.

    I suspect you’re right about the Wilson photo, but I would say that “… Whatever the truth, I’m confident that the photo is a hoax and can’t take seriously the idea that it might depict a real animal …” does come over as a little close-minded. I mean, yeah, it seems pretty savagely unlikely. But it’s a strange old world and, to quote the Principia, “Convictions cause convicts” :)

    Tim.

  24. #24 McDawg
    December 16, 2007

    @ Nathan,

    Fur I indeed am a true Scot and live aboot two oors awa from Loch Ness.

    I can tell ye that like aw Lochs, Ness is indeed feckin’ cooold.

    I hadny seen that YouTube video afore but looks like someone has played aboot with this in a puter.

    Seriously though, Nessie is a great tourist attraction, err sorry, wonder of the world……

    McDawg

  25. #25 David Marjanovi?
    December 16, 2007

    In, as usual, a desperate effort to bring in the hits, I thought I’d go nuts and see what posting about the Loch Ness monster might do for my stats.

    After having been the 3rd most active ScienceBlogs post for hours, it is now number one. That’s what.

    As spoke the Science Advisor from Civilization II: “You’rr Ine-Stine, Srr! I mean, you’rr the E to the m c squarrred! Like a double-clock-speed micro-chip, Srr! We’rr numbr one in SCIYENCE!!!”

  26. #26 Cath
    December 17, 2007

    But I know there’s a Loch Ness monster. I picked up one of its teeth from the shore!!!!11!

    (OK, so it looks exactly like a pebble. You and your tedious evidence.)

  27. #27 MarkH
    December 18, 2007

    The explanation I had heard for the surgeon’s photos and others with that similar appearance was that it was a submerged elephant. The story is, when a traveling circus came to the Ness and the elephants went swimming in the loch some asshole took a picture and called it the famous monster. That image is of one with just its trunk out of the water – periscope style.

    Also, based on the size of the waves, if it were actually a large creature the winds that day would have to be hurricane strength. The wave size is consistent with a much smaller creature.

  28. #28 Allen Hazen
    December 19, 2007

    Silly me! What I dimly remembered having read, giving the motive (obtaining “just in case” protection under British E.P. law) for the admittedly dubious naming of the supposed critter, was… the Scott and Rines article in Darren’s bibliography.

    Thanks for posting the “review of the literature,” Darren. I had either missed or forgotten the news (details in your link to Raynor) that the Rines photo had been, umm, over-enhanced. Pity– it would be fun to think there was good evidence for the existence of N. rhombopteryx!

  29. #29 Jim Thomerson
    January 8, 2008

    Remember where Tim Dinsdale tells of his first sighting of the monster? He is driving along and sees it out in the Loch. He stops the car, jumps out and takes about fifteen minutes to get his camera out and set up. Oh Boy, the monster is still there! Gets it in focus and it rolls over a little and shows a twig with a leaf. When he tells me that kind of story, it makes me take him as honest and serious, if probably not right.

  30. #30 courtney
    March 9, 2008

    i got told that the lochness monster was an elephant on some other website and a just wanted some people to know that i did the lochness monster for a shool project in 3rd grade, cheeeeeeee yeah!

  31. #31 courtney
    March 9, 2008

    Oh, i spelled shool wrong on my last comment(school) anyway, i actualy believe in all the myth,you know bigfoot, chupracabra,hince(lochness monster) and aliens etc.I dont know what got me started i probaly just did some research and found out abot these goody good stuff!

  32. #32 nikquitah
    March 29, 2008

    can any one plz point me in the right direction to findin a nessie pic

  33. #33 Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
    March 29, 2008

    Nikquiah.

    Go North to Inverness…

    Sorry, too good a straight line not to use.

    Seriously, however, Darren’s set of pictures on this page are pretty comprehensive for the “classic” Nessie photos.

  34. #34 Katrina
    April 1, 2008

    i so believe in the loch ness monster!!!!

  35. #35 BOB with a capital {B} !!!!
    July 14, 2008

    THAT IS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO FAKE !!!!!!! FAKERS!!!!!

    Oh my gosh can’t you even photo shop better then that ?

    Good try . ! Thats so fake with a capital {F}!!

  36. #36 Henrik Holmlund.
    August 1, 2008

    I know in my heart that it is real aha.

  37. #37 Jasmari
    January 26, 2009

    Well lets talk about the loch ness monster first.First of all its real that my first point and my only point
    BBBBBBBBBBBBBYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

  38. #38 Raymond Minton
    January 26, 2009

    This whole controversy should have been settled by the 2003 B.B.C. experiments, when 600 seperate sonar beams were bounced off the loch from one end to the other, and found (surprise) no traces of a large marine animal in Loch Ness. As I’ve said before, I believe cryptozoology has merit, but you have to take these things on a case-by-case basis. The most unlikely cryptids of all are probably lake monsters, because of the lack of space, insufficient food, and the problems with maintaining a viable breeding population.

  39. #39 Hai~Ren
    January 27, 2009

    What is it about the cryptozoology and dead giraffe posts that draw out the stupid comments?

  40. #40 Darren Naish
    January 27, 2009

    Yes, I’m going to close comments here too. To anyone who really has anything interesting to say: email me.

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