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The Legend Of The Loch Ness Monster

From sirens, dragons, and unicorns, to the Abominable Snowman, stories about mythical creatures spread vast and wide across the world. Some are disturbing and terrifying, some are adventure-filled, and some others are simply captivating. Such is the case of one of the most emblematic sea creatures:

The Loch Ness Monster.

Nessie, as it is popularly known by the inhabitants of Loch Ness and adjacent territories of the Scottish Highlands, has become a central key of Scottish folklore. Although to this day there is no hard evidence of its existence —as it normally happens with mythical creatures— the almost obsessing search for the long-necked monster enthralls young and old.

It all started almost a hundred years ago, in 1933 when a report came from a couple who was driving across the shore of Loch Ness in which they affirmed having seen an enormous creature treading the water of the lake, a beast resembling both a wale and a dinosaur, and provoking a big upheaval in the water and causing enormous waves. Despite there not being any evidence of the alleged sighting, the fearsome myth of this aquatic monster was born.

In the following weeks, several other reports of sightings took place. In one of them, a Londoner man assured that he and his wife had spotted the nearest "resemblance of a pre-historical animal" with a long neck and fairly big body, carrying an "animal in its mouth" before disappearing into the lake. The majorly anonymous accounts of other encounters reached the media in no time, throwing in words such as "dragon" and "sea serpent".

Things took an interesting turn when a photograph, taken by Robert Kenneth Wilson, was published by the Daily Mail in 1934. In it, a long neck and back were observed, and in spite of the fact that for many years it was celebrated as the first reliable evidence that the monster did exist, nowadays most people believe it to be part of an elaborate hoax and deem the photograph as a fake.

Other photographs, videotapes, and more sighting reports of the alleged Loch Ness Monster have surfaced over the years, inspiring expeditions, adventure books and movies, and even sonar studies.

Recently, the mystery surrounding this sea creature had an upshot when an environmental DNA study started to be developed. The study, conducted by the University of Otago in New Zealand, had the objective of finding and cataloging all living beings in Loch Ness. To the discouragement of some, no evidence of any "prehistoric marine reptile" or "large fish" was found.

However, what scientists did find among more than 3,000 species contained in the immensities of the Loch Ness, was the DNA of European eels, a common occupant of Scottish rivers and lakes. This has led geneticists to believe that Nessie might, in fact, be a gigantic eel.

Scientist insists that although the DNA sample doesn't provide enough data to know for certain the size of the eels, it remains a possibility that what people have been witnessing all these years is a giant ell, and therefore should not be discarded. Nowadays, there are at least 10 reports each year of strange creatures disturbing the waters of Loch Ness.