- Forget the terror of the deep. Nessie could be from the
shallower end of the gene pool. A team of Swedish scientists has revealed
that the Loch Ness monster may be a distant relative of the walrus, writes
Stephen McGinty. While theories abound that the fabled inhabitant of Scotland's
most famous loch may be a trapped dinosaur, a giant sturgeon or even an
aquatic ghost, new scientific research has suggested a more mundane solution.
- A sonic survey carried out by the Scandinavian Global
Underwater Search Team found that a series of unidentifiable sounds fell
into a frequency matched only by the elephant seal, the walrus or the killer
- The sounds, which were described like a pig grunting
or a person snoring, were recorded by highly sensitive hydrophones lowered
to a depth of 65ft in two spots where sightings have been recorded.
- The Swedish team, which carried out the research in March
on the Loch's west side, said the sounds were similar to those found in
Swedish and Norwegian lakes also rumoured to be populated by water monsters.
- Jan Sundeberg, the expedition leader, said the sounds
had been analysed by both marine laboratories and the Swedish defence intelligence
agency, known as FOA65.
- "Most of the noises we picked up in the loch we
can identify as eels, pike or trout, but this noise was a sort of grunting,
very like sounds we recorded in Lake Seljordsvatnet [in Norway], although
shorter and sharper."
- The analysis revealed that the noises were in a frequency
range 747-751Hz and only the elephant seal, walrus or killer whale make
sounds that fall into that category. "Let's say these sounds were
from Nessie - she could be a relative, a sub-species," said Sundeberg.
- The expedition, called Nessie 2000, was organised by
the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club, based in Inverness.
- Gary Campbell, an accountant who launched the Official
Loch Ness Monster Fan Club, believes the research may prove correct. "I
think Nessie is unlikely to be a dinosaur but I do think something got
into Loch Ness 10,000 years ago and has evolved."
- Sundeberg's expedition has also included a trip to Ireland,
where the scientists surveyed Sraheens Loch, also rumoured to contain a
mythical beast. The team expects to continue studying Loch Ness in October.
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