The loch ness monster

A person kayaks over the silhouette of a giant fish

Image accessed from Pixabay 3 September 2020.

I recently went down a rabbit hole looking at the evidence surrounding the Loch Ness Monster. I probably should have been doing something more productive and useful, but monster hunting on the internet proved too hard to resist.

For those who aren’t aware, the Loch Ness Monster is a sea-serpent like creature that is alleged to live in Loch Ness in Scotland. The main things that people point too to say this creature exists are thousands of eye witnesses who claim to have seen it (a number of which have been shown to be false) and a couple of blurry photographs (again, some of which have been shown to be false).

Loch Ness is a very deep body of water, its deepest point is 227 metres and it has an average depth of 132 metres. The water is murky and only provides around10cm of visibility. These dark waters provide the perfect home for the mystery of an elusive water creature.

That mystery has been the subject of some scientific inquiry, which hasn’t found evidence for anything out of the ordinary. There have been a number of sonar scans which have led to arguments on whether discrepancies represent the creature or no more than submerged chasms. A test was recently conducted in the lake which returned only eel DNA. The researchers said the monster may therefore be a giant eel. Some have suggested that holding to the idea of the Loch Ness monster is ludicrous. Still, some locals swear that the creature is out there.

I think there are a number of things that are fascinating about the Loch Ness Monster. It’s interesting to think about why the story appeals to us so much (enough to contribute $80 million in tourism to Scotland each year). It gives us the chance to satisfy our inquisitorial nature by playing detective. It’s interesting that no one pays this much attention to whale sharks or giant squid, when those are essentially sea monsters that we do know exist. It’s also interesting to think about why we are so interested in the creature being large, I’m not sure as many people would care if it was just 30cm long.

Mystery creatures are a challenge to thinking that we know as much about the world as we think we do. A giant, unknown creature of the deep is something that demonstrates the limitations of our knowledge, and our ability to know. I personally remain highly skeptical of there being a giant creature in Loch Ness, but a staggering 80% of the ocean remains unmapped. There is no doubt it contains creatures (perhaps even very large creatures) that we have not discovered. I find it gives me a bit of perspective to think that those creatures are out there right now, patrolling the depths.

A start to the rabbit hole:


Tagged in What messes with your head