- The fossilised remains of a long-necked, carnivorous
sea reptile, which existed 150 million years ago, have been found in Loch
- The discovery of four perfectly preserved vertebrae of
a plesiosaur - the prehistoric creature most commonly associated with modern
"Nessie" sightings - has led to claims that the fossil represents
the first evidence of an original Loch Ness Monster.
- The fossil, which is set in grey limestone, complete
with spinal chord and blood vessels, was found in shallow water by Gerald
McSorley, 67, a retired scrap merchant from Stirling.
- Mr McSorley said: "I literally tripped over the
fossil in the water. When I put my hands down to steady myself I saw something
unusual and picked it up.
- "Once I had cleaned off about an inch of green algae,
and I could see the texture of the bone, it became clear I had an important
- Scientists at the National Museum in Scotland confirmed
yesterday that the fossil - the first of its kind to be found at Loch Ness
- proved that a 35ft "monster" once lived in the area.
- Lyall Anderson, a curator at the National Museum of Scotland,
said: "Professional palaeontologists go out looking for things like
this and usually find nothing. Mr McSorley is to be congratulated on a
very good find."
- Many of the contemporary photographs, reconstructions
and sightings of Nessie have been reminiscent of the long neck, broad body
and giant paddles of the plesiosaur.
- Dr Anderson said: "The plesiosaur is the image people
have of the Loch Ness Monster."
- The find has excited Nessie hunters, who believe that
it supports their belief that a similar beast still lurks within the loch,
even though the remains date from the Jurassic and Cretaceous period.
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