The Loch Ness Monster Might Be a Giant Eel, Scientists Say

Keystone/Getty Images
Keystone/Getty Images

The first recorded sighting of the Loch Ness Monster was in 565 AD, where it appeared in the book Life of St. Columba as a menacing creature that backs down when challenged by the saint. The localized sea creature was further popularized in 1933, when a surgeon named Robert Kenneth Wilson supposedly took the famous blurry photo (pictured above), sparking an international debate. This is all to say that people have cared way too much for too long about a strange eel-giraffe figure, and they’re apparently not slowing down anytime soon.

Scientists in New Zealand have just conducted an extensive study on Loch Ness lake and it “does not discount the possibility of giant eels.” The researchers set out to catalogue all living species in Loch Ness, not find Nessie (one assumes the funding would be hard to get for that one). But they did find data that suggests a creature soooooort of like the monster could exist, according to a report by the BBC.

"There is a very significant amount of eel DNA,” Genetics Professor Neil Gemmell of University of Otago said, per the report. “Eels are very plentiful in Loch Ness, with eel DNA found at pretty much every location sampled -- there are a lot of them. So -- are they giant eels?” 

Then he got science-y with the answer to his own question, in a way that might frustrate the most passionate conspirators, but not in a way that destroys all hope: 

"Well, our data doesn't reveal their size, but the sheer quantity of the material says that we can't discount the possibility that there may be giant eels in Loch Ness. Therefore we can't discount the possibility that what people see and believe is the Loch Ness Monster might be a giant eel."

Unfortunately for the conspirators, Gemmell made it clear that nothing in the water is that wacky. 

"People love a mystery, we've used science to add another chapter to Loch Ness' mystique," he said, buuuut... “We can't find any evidence of a creature that's remotely related to that in our environmental-DNA sequence data. So, sorry, I don't think the plesiosaur idea holds up based on the data that we have obtained."

“Plesiosaur idea,” millions of delegitimized Nessie enthusiasts mouth over and over, clutching their Dark Web-purchased Loch Ness Monster water sample detectors with quivering hands. 

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Ruby Anderson wants to talk about the hash slinging slasher.