Posted by: Ticktock | May 5, 2009

Monsters, Myths, and Legends: Loch Ness Monster!

LOCH NESS MONSTER

The Loch Ness Monster is the most famous of the many lake monsters. We know it as a long-necked amphibious dinosaur that has mystified tourists at a lake in Scotland.

SKEPTIC’S LESSON

The Loch Ness Monster was popularized in the early days of photography when it was relatively easy to fool people with trick photos. These days, it’s common to use photoshop, so photographic images are no longer a reliable source of information. When the Loch Ness Monster was first photographed, it was during a time when the world’s entertainment focus was switching from audio to visual. The first photographic proof of Loch Ness came only five years after the first Academy Award.

Of course, we can look at this picture now and see that it’s too small to be a lake monster. It’s comparative size to the ripples it’s creating would be spotted quickly by modern image experts. The image was later admitted to be a hoax – a sculpted plastic on a toy submarine. It’s been said that the hoax was perpetrated to get revenge on a local newspaper who had embarrassed a London gynecologist named Robert Wilson, but the truth may be that the Wetherell brothers, Ian and Duke, perpetrated this prank. The London Daily Mail hired them to find the monster at Loch Ness.

Either way, this is a reminder that the media have historically lacked the skepticism to refute extraordinary claims. A toy submarine with a sculpted plesiosaur on top became a sensation because the media published the picture without questions.

Scientists say that the sightings might be underwater waves from seismic events common in the area. People could also be seeing long sturgeon or maybe logs. One thing is for certain, an animal of that size could not exist without mates, and the food supply of the lake would be impossible to feed a group of such beasts. In addition, the BBC used GPS technology to beam 600 different sonar pulses into the lake, but they didn’t find anything at all.

It should also be mentioned that Loch Ness was “discovered” the same year that King Kong came out. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that King Kong featured two sea animals, one a sauropod who tipped over and ate a raft full of rescuers, and another monster who looked very much like a plesiosaur.

CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE

The legends of sea monsters surely originated from the age of exploration when ships were just starting to discover new lands and strange creatures of the deep. The sailors’ isolation in unknown waters that were full of unknown creatures probably led to the seamen to tell stories about giant sea serpents. A sea monster could have been an oarfish or a giant squid. The men didn’t know any better, and would return home and spin hyperbolic tales about these creatures.

Basking shark carcass discovered by Japanese fishermen in 1977The Loch Ness Monster hoax may have been perpetuated by the discoveries of prehistoric aquatic creatures. In fact, some floating “sea monster” carcasses have been found that look amazingly like a dead plesiosaur, but they were later determined to be dead basking sharks. In addition, dead sperm whales decompose so strangely that they are often misinterpreted as giant monster octopus.

TRUE ANIMALS

File:Latimeria chalumnae01.jpgCoelacanth – Latimeria Chalumnae – A fish from Madagascar, previously thought to be extinct, whose close relatives swam the seas at a time when fish were first transitioning into amphibians. The Coelacanth survived through the Devonian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cretaceous eras, and evidently, to the present. It exudes an unpleasant oil, even after death, which makes it an unsavory source of food. The Coelacanth is known as a rare member of the Lazarus Taxon, an animal that reappears when previously thought to be extinct. They have very sensitive eyes for hunting in deep waters, and they are able to deliberately slow down their metabolism to near hibernation.

Colossal Squid – Mesonichoteuthis Hamiltoni – This 39-46 foot long squid is the largest known invertebrate. This squid has hooks on the end of it’s tentacles, the largest eyes of any known creature, and an extremely large beak. It feeds in deep waters using bioluminescence to capture it’s prey, and it’s often found in the stomachs of sperm whales.


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Responses

  1. The people who did not see the carcass said that it was a basking shark, but the people who had it in their hands said that it was a plesiosaur. who would you believe

  2. Or to put it another way, the fishermen who hauled a badly decomposed carcass out of the sea said it looked like a plesiosaur. The scientists who examined a preserved sample of the monster’s flesh identified it, from the amino acids in its muscle tissue, as a basking shark. Who would you believe?

    • Well Zuiyo, thats really funny i was thinking the same thing cause i it was not the real carcass then where is the real one i wonder?

  3. Was the carcass in the photo found in the Loch Ness, or somewhere else?

  4. .. The carcass was found of the coast of New Zealand/ Aotearoa in 1977 by a Japanese finshing vessel.


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