The mystery around Scotland's fabled Loch Ness monster may have finally been solved - with scientists suggesting it could well be... an eel.
Albeit, a very big one.
A group of international scientists analyzed DNA found in the Loch's icy waters.
Those results ruled out the presence of large animals, such as dinosaurs, said the team's leader Professor Neil Gemmell.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) TEAM LEADER, PROFESSOR NEIL GEMMELL, OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OTAGO, NEW ZEALAND, SAYING: "So, I mean Plesiosaurs are extinct but very clearly a reptile, so it should sit somewhere between crocodilians and birds, and there was nothing remotely like that in our sequences." When a creature moves through an environment it leaves fragments of DNA which can be sequenced to identify it.
In Loch Ness, the scientists found an abundance of eel DNA.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) TEAM LEADER, PROFESSOR NEIL GEMMELL, OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OTAGO, NEW ZEALAND, SAYING: "So eels are four to six foot in length.
It's plausible that there might be one or two that grow to extreme size - maybe 50 percent bigger than normal, maybe even bigger than that, I don't know." The theory of a giant eel has been around for decades, and Gemmell did also point out that one has never been found.
There have also been countless attempts to find and identify the monster.
Gemmell's favorite suggestion is the Loch Ness monster is a creature that wouldn't show up in his team's testing.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) TEAM LEADER, PROFESSOR NEIL GEMMELL, OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OTAGO, NEW ZEALAND, SAYING: "My personal favorite (is) Nessie is an extraterrestrial so won't have DNA."
Is this the best evidence yet that the loch Ness monster exists? Steve Challice, from Southampton, says he was at Loch Ness in Scotland last year. He saw a “disturbance” in the water & managed to quickly take photographs. One pictures shows an unidentified creature surfacing as it swims. However, Steve insists he is not claiming to have seen the mythical 'Nessie'. He tells UK media agency 'Cover Images': “it's very large, as the bit you can see must be at least 8-foot-long, and who can tell what amount is below the surface.In my opinion (and I'm no expert) I think it's a large fish that got into the loch from the sea."
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