A scientist claims he has cracked one of the UK’s oldest mysteries and says the Loch Ness Monster is really an ‘ancient species of sea turtle.’
Professor Henry Bauer’s research claims that ‘Nessie’ may be a type of undiscovered turtle which was trapped in the Loch as the waters receded at the end of the last Ice Age.
A self-confessed fanatic of the enduring Scottish mystery, the US professor rubbished the idea that the creature is a form of dinosaur, the Daily Record reports.
Professor Bauer, 89, a retired professor of chemistry and science at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, said: “The most popular idea is that the Loch Ness Monster has a relationship to extinct plesiosaurs.
“But this is difficult to square with the rarity of surface sightings, let alone occasional sightings on land.
“On the other hand, everything described for Loch Ness Monsters is known among the many species of living as well as thought-to-be extinct turtles such as air-breathing but spending very long periods in deep water, ventures onto land, very fast movement in water, ability to be active in very cold water and relatively long necks.
“Loch Ness Monsters or Nessies, are a yet-to-be-properly discovered and described variety of large sea turtle that is most likely also still extant in some niches in the oceans.”
Professor Bauer’s work – which has been published in a scientific journal – is the latest chapter in a global fascination with Nessie.
One of Scotland’s oldest myths, reports that a creature was living in Loch Ness date as far back as the 6th century.
The first written account was recorded in 565 A.D. in a biography of St. Columba.
According to the text, the creature bit a swimmer and was prepared to attack another man when Columba intervened.
He ordered the beast to “go back” and it obeyed.
In 1960, aeronautical engineer Tim Dinsdale filmed a hump that left a wake crossing Loch Ness.
The most famous ‘picture’ of the creature was from 1934, however it was soon debunked as a hoax.
The elusive monster was reportedly spotted 12 times last year. In December, a couple visiting the loch said they saw a creature repeatedly surfacing.
The news came weeks after a boat’s sonar picked up a 33ft object 550ft down.
At the time, Gary Campbell, of the Official Loch Ness Sightings Register, said: “It all adds to the mystery. In many ways it is a vintage year for sightings.”
And Professor Bauer backs the claims, saying he is sure the Monster was real having once joined an investigation into the beast.
He said: “Tim Dinsdale’s film taken in 1960 is the conclusive proof, but there are also innumerable contacts by sonar, some excellent underwater photographs, and a few plausible surface photographs.
“I became seriously interested after seeing Dinsdale’s film, and 26 years later was an observer at Loch Ness during Operation Deep Scan, when a whole fleet of boats made a sonar search for Nessie.
“Everything points to creatures that spend most of their time in the deepest parts of the Loch.
“None of the evidence supports the idea that these are monstrously large eels.”