If such a creature exists, new research shows how the Loch Ness monster could have never been a plesiosaur.
The legend of Nessie has been around for decades, with imaginative people describing it as a snake threaded through a turtle, leaving many to believe that it could be a prehistoric dinosaur of some sort.
The plesiosaur is a marine reptile that lived 160 million years ago. It sported long neck – in many cases as long as its body and tail combined. Scientists have pondered over the why an animal would need such a long neck. Leslie No? of the Sedgwick Museum in Cambridge, UK has an answer.
Plesiosaurs, he says, used their long necks to reach down and feed on soft-bodied animals living on the sea floor. During a vertebrate paleontology meeting in Canada last month, No? examined the fossils of a plesiosaur called Muraenosaurus.
Calculating the articulation of the neck bones, he concluded the neck was flexible and could move easily when pointing down. … However, the osteology of the neck makes it absolutely certain that the plesiosaur could not lift its head out of the water – as most alleged pictures of Nessie show. – discovery
I disagree. The photo of Nessie we all know (above left) is an admitted fake made with clay attached to a toy submarine, but there still could be a real one. Nessie could still be a surviving ancestor of the plesiosaur living in caves below the lake. This new research tells us that a neck coming out of the water like this means the creature is probably not evolved from a plesiosaur, but what if you just see a hump in the water and not a neck?