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Loch Ness monster may just be giant eel - scientists

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Loch Ness monster may just be giant eel - scientists

Loch Ness monster may just be giant eel - scientists

A team of international scientists says it has found no evidence of large animals like a dinosaur in Scotland's Loch Ness - but lots of eel DNA.

David Doyle reports.

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Loch Ness monster may just be giant eel - scientists

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."




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