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Scientists use DNA technology in search of Loch Ness monsters



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By Avi Selk | Washington Post

An international team of scientists is planning to dig out Scotland's Loch Ness next month – not looking for the mythical monster, like so many before, but its DNA footprint.

Maybe. Never get your hopes up. Even the head of the project, Neil Gemmell of Otago University in New Zealand, doubts that the Loch Ness Monster actually exists. The professor of evolutionary genetics was quite open that he used the legend as a hook to arouse interest in a study on the biodiversity of the lake.

That is, when the team encounters the genetic sequence of an immortal dinosaur or a monster they promised to let us know.

"You can not help but wonder if so many black and blue swear that they saw these things, that there could be a biological basis for them," Gemmell said in a video earlier this year Preparing for the Expedition

"It really resonates with people of all cultures around the world, I really do not know why."

His will is hardly the first attempt to apply science to the mystery of the Loch Ness monster ̵

1; though that is Project differs from others because it promises to find something in the hidden depths of the lake, even if it is just the DNA of fish and newly discovered bacteria.

The legend of the monster dates back nearly 2,000 years, to a Northern Scottish tribe who carved images of a strange, funky beast in his work of nature – among the usual depictions of geese, horses and deer

A Christian, Saint Columba , claimed to have seen the Loch Ness monster in the sixth century, PBS said. It was about to attack a swimmer, so the saint lifted his hand and ordered him to withdraw in the name of God. (19659004) The myth became a sensation after a new road was built along the lake shore in the 1930s, PBS wrote, and the locals reported a massive rippling.

The London Daily Mail soon hired a hunter to pursue the monster, wrote PBS. He returned with incredible stories of the beast and plaster casts of his four-toed footprints – which soon turned out to be hippos.

And yet, in 1934, the Daily Mail published what would become the iconic photograph of the Loch Ness Monster – a large giraffe-like neck rising from the water in the silhouette.

"It was discovered 60 years later as dizziness using a sea monster model on a toy submarine," Reuters wrote, but the image has nonetheless inspired many to seek out the beast itself.

Most efforts were unimpressive – unless you're convinced that the monster can be seen by Apple Maps or what looks bad. Floating Log is actually an old Nessie.

But besides the cranks, serious expeditions were also made.

The BCC funded a project in 2003 that examined the entire length of the lake with sonar, Reuters noted. Nothing unusual was found.

Perhaps the next to succeed was an 2016 expedition that found a 30-foot Loch Ness monster movie prop that sank to the bottom in 1969.

Gemmell's project, in A Feeling, Can not Fail. According to the plan on his website, researchers from Scotland, Europe and the United States will join him, representing several universities between them, basing themselves on what Reuters calls the "established marine life surveillance tool" DNA

The Teams plan to navigate the entire lake and collect water samples at various depths filled with DNA fragments from all sorts of lives. They will do the same at two nearby lakes, as control groups, and then analyze the DNA to see what kind of curiosities really live in Loch Ness.

"He predicts that they will document new ways of life," wrote Reuters, "Especially Bacteria." Gemmell also hopes to collect data on an invasive species of Pacific Pink Salmon.

But the professor knows his audience.

As he explains in a YouTube video, he's on the lookout for strange DNA sequences and says his team could even tell if they're tracking down the genetic sequence of a Plesiosaur – the supposedly extinct marine creature Some believe the Loch Ness Monster is.

"That seems unlikely," said Gemmell, noting that the lake had frozen several times in the 50 million years since the extinction of plesiosaurs.

But he is open to everything, and his team plans to showcase everything they find in the hole in early 2019.

"The world has been waiting for an answer for more than a thousand years," it says on the project's website. "It's only months away."


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