Nessie Returns
July 15, 2003 7:19 PM   Subscribe

China's Loch Ness Monster Returns Couldn't a SEAL team sort this out pretty quickly? Or one of those minisubs they use to find the Titanic? How do lake monsters manage to be so elusive? I mean, it's like there's anywhere for them to go! Unless, of course, they're lake monsters with legs. That's a whole other thing. In that case they could totally be hiding out in the next Chinese lake over.
posted by jengod (9 comments total)
local officials reporting sightings of as many as 20 of the mysterious and unidentified creatures in a lake near North Korea.

Damn that Axis of Evil!
posted by birdherder at 7:40 PM on July 15, 2003

How do lake monsters manage to be so elusive?

Here is an answer (from this site:

"What have we got? Some stories from eyewitnesses. Like the one by the British naturalist who took the most famous picture of the Monster, the famed “surgeon photo.” You’ve all seen it.

Only the son of the photographer has admitted that this single most compelling piece of evidence was a fake. He made a recreation of the model – it’s about the size of a large rubber ducky (and if you look at the picture again, you realize just how small and out of scale it looks relative to the waves).

Divers and automated remote cameras have scoured the Loch. There’s a picture of a fin – only the picture has been enhanced, rotated, and ‘dodged’ – the original shows an unremarkable -- and tiny -- bit of debris on the bottom. No sign of Nessie. What is much more damaging is that there is no sign of much of anything – especially fish. This ten-ton ancient dinosaur presumably does not order out for pizza. What the hell does it eat?

And this is most damning: plesiosaurs were air-breathing. Why is it that the best evidence for the Loch Ness Monster is a distant, grainy video of an ‘unexplained’ wake, shot in the far distance. This creature has to come up for air several times an hour. If we grant that there is a breeding population of aquatic dinosaurs surviving in Loch Ness, they should be sticking their heads out of the water like a giant whack-a-mole game, 24/7. If air-breathing dinosaurs really inhabited these lakes in Europe, and Africa and the US, then the best evidence would be the body hauled ashore by a shotgun-toting British Marine after Nessie ate a busload of tourists in full view of the world press.

Think about it. What if there really is an air-breathing dinosaur in this lake. How many HDTV recordings would there be in a single day. Fifty? A hundred?

Divers did find many sunken logs on the bottom of these peaty, dismal waters. Some of these will, on occasion, float to the surface as the gases from their decay increases their buoyancy. From a distance, they look like a dark, humped shape breaking the water. They eventually sink again.

So which is more likely? A log floats loose, maybe a boat wake propagates across a glassy lake for ten or twenty minutes? Or that a ten ton air-breathing dinosaur the size of a city bus, extinct for 50 million years, escapes detection in a fish-free lake scoured by dozens of cameras every day for the past fifty years?"
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:47 PM on July 15, 2003

So Mr Hengeman are you saying that you don't believe in Nessie!! ARE YOU INSANE!!!
posted by zeoslap at 11:28 PM on July 15, 2003

I'll do all the funny stuff, zeoslap.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:44 PM on July 15, 2003

>And this is most damning: plesiosaurs were air-breathing

Actually, I would say the most damning evidence is that the corpses of these animals don't float up after they die. You have to assume a pod of x amount and y amount of deaths every z amount of years. So where be the bodies, matey?

Then again the field of cryptozoology is always full of surprises. I think I've blogged at least half-a-dozen "new species found" articles in the last year, but giant sea serpents and bigfoots are the least probable candidates for discovery. I think there's an unofficial rule of thumb that the bigger it is the less likey its still hidden. Big animals need lots of terrain and food, leave lots of droppings, leave huge tracks, and of course corpses.

The skepdic has a good write-up here on Nessie.
posted by skallas at 12:32 AM on July 16, 2003

A SEAL team, heh. Maybe Steve and Terry Irwin instead. Crikey!

Depth-charge from one end to the other, then see what floats to the top.
posted by alumshubby at 3:40 AM on July 16, 2003

No fish in Loch Ness? I don't believe.
posted by stbalbach at 8:46 AM on July 16, 2003

The surface waters have an oligotrophic plankton community with Arctic Charr as the predominant pelagic fish. Brown Trout feed on insect larvae along the stony littoral.

Deep down, on the abyssal silt plain, a surprising variety of benthos include Ice-age relict species of sufficient quantity to support a profundal population of charr.
(from the Loch Ness Field Center website)

Stick that in your hat and smoke it, bub!
posted by Samsonov14 at 12:47 PM on July 16, 2003

From my time spent living in God's chosen land*, it appears Nessie is a fiction designed to separate Yank tourists from their cash.

* Last 1,000 years of history notwithstanding.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:25 PM on July 16, 2003

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