Friday, 12 May 2017

Theories about the Loch Ness Monster

What is the loch ness monster?
Since the “monster”s first sightings theories have abounded to what it is. I thought I would examine a few in a brief fashion.
1)Plesiosaur- much as I would love Nessie to be a prehistoric creature, the fact the loch only formed about 10000 years ago rather puts the dampers on that idea. However always the open minded I looked at the possibilities. The first one is that as plesiosaurs appeared to be air breathers they would surface a lot more and therefore would be seen more regularly. It is not impossible that a water breathing plesiosaur has evolved (evolution rocks don’t you think!), but unlikely. There are good fish stocks in the Loch including migratory salmon, so I find claims there is not enough fish in the loch not really substantial enough as a reason for there not being a colony of creatures in the Loch. The amount of activity on the Loch would mean someone would have been eaten by now if it was a plesiosaur, either a swimmer or a fisherman would have been washed ashore all chewed. (Sorry if you are eating right now, but you shouldn’t eat over the keyboard anyway) I know from time I have spent at the Loch there are local people who will not venture out on the loch at night so something keeps them home on shore and it’s not the TV. The loch has constant temperature and doesn’t freeze but some say it would be too cold for a plesiosaur. However research in the last few years has shown that many prehistoric creatures continued on in the Antarctic after they had died out elsewhere, including plesiosaurs, and the water would have been a lot colder than they were used to. Still the peaty black waters of the loch would not have been inviting I don’t think, they were used to clear waters .So unless a very shy underwater possibly vegetarian plesiosaur has evolved in the Loch, I find I have to put this theory to one side.
2) Elephant- this was a rather fanciful notion put forward that it was an elephant swimming in the loch. This is where not doing your research properly shows up, how many elephants have been living around Loch Ness since the first reports in the 1500’s. ? Not a lot I imagine and elephants from visiting circuses would not have been around that often. Nice try but poorly thought out and researched by someone who doesn’t know the history of the Loch.
3) Seismic activity- well there is seismic activity that happens in the Loch and shocks from Inverness could travel down the river causing waves in the Loch. However it wouldn’t have a long neck. It would show strange wave formations and maybe blow a bit of debris from the bottom that could be mistaken for an animal. The problem here is the movement would not be animate like an animal swimming, but certainly would be an explanation for some sightings.
4) Psychological/ optical illusion- well yes, if you think you will see something, there is a chance you will. I have seen people in cubicles in a lab subject to atmosphere changes that means they think they see UFO’s and by bouncing sounds waves off the walls, too low for the human ear to hear, they see ghosts. But the Loch is not a lab and not everyone sees something. Again some sightings may be down to the desire to see something or an optical illusion from the reflections of the hills in the loch, but people tend to be not looking for something when they do see Nessie.
5)Media hysteria - There was a BBC programme that put forward the theory that mass or media hysteria after the King Kong film was shown in 1933 caused the rash of sightings .However there was no cinema, no King Kong film and no road present when sightings were recorded from 1527 to 1932.Once again lack of research marred what otherwise was a good programme. Like most people the programme researchers assumed that sightings only started in 1933.
6) Eel- a large sterile eel is a real possibly. It would have to be very large though to cause the sightings. However there would also have to have been a) more than one b) it would have to be long lived. The loop of a large eel would look like the ‘hump’ people say they have seen. It may be there is a colony of very large eels living in the bottom of the loch.
7) Seal- there are seals and otters seen on and around the loch. A line of them swimming could look like a monster‘s coils, but local people see this all the time and are not likely to be fooled by it. It brings us back to the long neck people say they have seen. The only way that could be possible is if it were either a long necked pinniped or a very large long necked otter. Most people will have seen the excellent article, Michael A. Woodley, Darren Naish and Hugh P. Shanahan wrote , in the March 2009 edition of Historical Biology , a groundbreaking paper, “How many extant pinniped species remain to be described?”
8) Hoax- there has been many hoaxes around Loch Ness. Even if every photo and film were a hoax, which I doubt knowing Tim Dinsdale and others who took films and photos, it cannot explain every sighting.
9) Primitive whale – again could be likely, but how did it get there? I always thought the loch was only accessed via the River Ness and therefore would be difficult for anything large to have travelled up it unseen as it would have had to be a pair to set up a breeding colony. Then I found this :
British and U.S. scientists claim they have evidence that the sea extended into Loch Ness at two points in history: after the Ice Age in Europe (125,000 years ago) and 12,800 years ago. A geologist working with a research team in 2001 noticed the clay on the anchor of their boat looked different from other deposits found in the same part of the Loch. Carbon dating and amino-acid testing on the clay indicated that it contained clams and sea urchin spines from both 12,800 and 125,000 years ago. This discovery would tend to lend credence to the theory that large animals could have become trapped in the Loch as the water receded back to the sea. Source: The Press and Journal (North Scotland) .
So it could be likely that some creatures got into the loch and adapted and stayed. After all eels live in both saltwater and fresh water at various times in their lives.


So where does that leave us? Well of the thousands of the sightings reported of something in the loch, only something like a couple of hundred stand up to real scrutiny. That is not to say the others are false or hoaxes but using scientific rigour cuts down the numbers a lot. That still leaves us with some unexplained sightings. I saw something myself in the loch, but what it was, that lump in the water I don’t know. It was too brief and I was too stunned and when I looked again it was gone. I am happy to believe it was an optical illusion, that makes me feel better, but in reality I think something stirs in the bottom of Loch Ness and has done for a long time. Dan Scott Taylor told me something spun his 5000 lb submarine around in the water at the bottom of the loch, that is some optical illusion!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

fossil named 'Chinese baby dragon'

Identity of famous baby dinosaur fossil revealed
By Helen Briggs BBC News
The fossil of a baby dinosaur discovered in China more than 25 years ago has formally been identified as a new species of feathered dinosaur.The hatchling, dubbed Baby Louie, was found within a nest of dinosaur eggs.
Palaeontologists have called it Beibeilong sinensis, which translates to "Chinese baby dragon".They say it is the first known specimen of a gigantic bird-like dinosaur belonging to the group known as oviraptorosaurs.Although the fossil of the infant dinosaur is small, it would have grown into an adult weighing more than 1,000kg.
The discovery of dinosaur eggs in China, South Korea, Mongolia and North America suggests Beibeilong may have been common around 100 million years ago, say the researchers.
''The geographical distribution and abundant occurrences of Macroelongatoolithus egg remains reveal that giant oviraptosaurs were relatively widespread and perhaps even common in the early part of the Late Cretaceous, even though their skeletal remains are scarce and have yet to be identified in many regions,'' they write in Nature Communications.


Read rest, see pics here :http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39857696

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

primitive humans alive more recently than first thought

Primitive human 'lived much more recently'
By Paul RinconScience editor, BBC News website
A primitive type of human, once thought to be up to three million years old, actually lived much more recently, a study suggests.
The remains of 15 partial skeletons belonging to the species Homo naledi were described in 2015.They were found deep in a cave system in South Africa by a team led by Lee Berger from Wits University.
In an interview, he now says the remains are probably just 200,000 to 300,000 years old.
Although its anatomy shares some similarities with modern people, other anatomical features of Homo naledi hark back to humans that lived in much earlier times - some two million years ago or more.
"These look like a primitive form of our own genus - Homo. It looks like it might be connected to early Homo erectus, or Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis," said Prof Berger's colleague, John Hawks, from the University of Wisconsin.
Although some experts guessed that naledi could had lived relatively recently, in 2015, Prof Berger told BBC News that the remains could be up to three million years old.
New dating evidence places the species in a time period where Homo naledi could have overlapped with early examples of our own kind, Homo sapiens.
Prof Hawks told the BBC's Inside Science radio programme: "They're the age of Neanderthals in Europe, they're the age of Denisovans in Asia, they're the age of early modern humans in Africa. They're part of this diversity in the world that's there as our species was originating."

 Read more ,see photos here:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39710315
Interesting for those who think Bigfoot is a relic human .Could bigfoot be the result of inter-mating of ancient humans? Just another theory to add to the pot. 

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Rare creature found alive


Live, long and black giant shipworm found in Philippines
18 April 2017
Scientists have found live specimens of the rare giant shipworm for the first time, in the Philippines.Details of the creature, which can reach up to 1.55m (5ft) in length and 6cm (2.3in) in diameter, were published in a US science journal.The giant shipworm spends its life encased in a hard shell, submerged head-down in mud.Though its existence has been known for years, no living specimen had been studied until now.
Despite its name, the giant shipworm is actually a bivalve - the same group as clams and mussels.The "rare and enigmatic species", also known as Kuphus polythamia, is the longest living bivalve known to man, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

  Read rest see pics here :http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-39626131


Saturday, 1 April 2017

New Research on Giant Marine Creatures

How giant marine reptiles terrorized the ancient seas
Ichthyosaurs were some of the largest and most mysterious predators to ever prowl the oceans. Now they are giving up their secrets.
Extracts from article :
As  discoveries started to pile up, he got hooked. Fischer, now at the University of Liège, Belgium, and his colleagues have since described seven surprising new ichthyosaurs, ranging from a tuna-sized reptile with thin, sharp teeth1 to an animal as big as a killer whale, with a beak like that of a swordfish2.
Fischer is part of an ichthyosaur renaissance that is sweeping palaeontology. After ignoring them for decades, more and more researchers have started to focus on the reptiles, which were among the top predators in the seas for some 150 million years during the days of the dinosaurs.
The swell of research is starting to answer key questions about ichthyosaurs, such as how and where they originated and how quickly they came to rule the oceans. The group was even more diverse than once thought, ranging from early near-shore creatures that undulated like eels to giants that cruised the open ocean by swishing their powerful tails. “They could go anywhere, just like whales,” Motani says. The biggest ones rivalled blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) in length and were the largest predators in the Triassic seas.

Nessie seekers will be interested in the ones that undulated like eels.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Dinosaurs may have originated in the UK.

Major shake-up suggests dinosaurs may have 'UK origin'
By Pallab GhoshScience correspondent, BBC News
The first dinosaurs may have originated in the Northern Hemisphere, possibly in an area that is now Britain.This is one of the conclusions of the first detailed re-evaluation of the relationships between dinosaurs for 130 years.It shows that the current theory of how dinosaurs evolved and where they came from may well be wrong.This major shake-up of dinosaur theory is published in this weeks's edition of the journal Nature.
The reassessment shows that the meat eating beasts, such as Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor, have been wrongly classified in the dinosaur family tree.
One of the implications is that dinosaurs first emerged 15 million years earlier than previously believed.And the fossil evidence suggests that this origin may have occurred further north than current thinking suggests - possibly in an area that is now the UK, according to the new study's lead author, Matthew Baron of Cambridge University."The northern continents certainly played a much bigger role in dinosaur evolution than we previously thought and dinosaurs may have originated in the UK," he told BBC News.The previous version of the dinosaur family tree was developed 130 years ago by Harry Govier Seeley, a palaeontologist also working at Kings College, London.
Read rest here:
Gives some credence to those who believe in Nessie as a living dinosaur. Maybe she did originate in Scotland but must have had to evolve to survive the change in environment.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Why the interest in Cryptozoology


This is from 2009 but as have been asked this again I will republish it.

My interest with cryptozoology started with visits to Loch Ness in the late 60’s and early 70’s. An impressionable teenager escaping from school and allowed to roam free, I met some wonderful characters such as Frank Searle , Dan Scott Taylor and Tim Dinsdale, plus some years an assortment of students, which was a great attraction to a teenage girl. Both Dan and Tim were real gentlemen, and I kept in touch with Dan on and off over the years until his death. I was supposed to meet up with Dan at his next visit to Loch Ness to see the new submarine, sadly this was not to be. Frank, well Frank was I think a showman, and I had the sense never to venture into his territory alone, He was also a ladies man. He like the others has also sadly passed away.
Loch Ness is surrounded by trees and bushes and not as easy to observe as people think. Those dark waters, scared me and thrilled me all at the same time and I would imagine the Loch Ness Beastie swimming in it’s waters. I corresponded with Nicholas Witchell when his book came out and spent a summer just observing the Loch, as he had. In the 60’s and 70’s a plesiosaur seemed a likely candidate for the creature but as I got older and learnt to do my own research, I realised it was unlikely as the loch had only been formed for about 10,000 years. Undeterred I have spent many hours by the Loch over the years and even once took a job for a year in the area so I could spend more time there. What is in there? Maybe Retired Professor Robert Rhines is right and the last Nessie is now dead. He hopes to find remains at the bottom of the loch. I think the similarity of so many lake sightings around the world means something is going on and something ,whether an optical illusion or a real animals there and in other lakes , and one day some tangible evidence will be found.

The other cryptid that interested me in those days and has continued to do so since, was the Yeti. Tales told by mountain climbers of seeing the footprints and hearing the sounds and then the film with Peter Cushing in black and white, scarred me for life, I had to learn more. The Yeti , a sort of mountain Bigfoot, was supposed to be sacred and talked of in hushed voices. The local’s name for the Yeti is metoh-kangmi, a term that was mistakenly translated into English as “abominable snowman.” This is a name that has stuck. Sir Edmund Hillary , the mountaineer, was said to believe in it and then changed his mind and said it was a legend, after testing a so called Yeti scalp he got from a monastery and finding it to from a known animal. There have been reports coming back to England since 1832 of the Yeti, seen by British travellers and army personnel. Something is up there and whatever it is walks about in bare feet so must be immune to the cold .Can anyone really think climbers will take off their boots to leave fake footprints in the snow? They would lose said toes to frost bite.

The world has moved on a lot since those heady days, when belief was enough to mount an expedition .The last few years ,I have taken an interest in snakes, fascinating creatures and would love one except either the cat would eat it or it would eat the cat !The stories of giant snakes have always had my interest. From old Tarzan films to the more modern film Anaconda I love to watch the giant snakes. Could they exist? Well recent fossils found and named Titanboa in honour of its immense size, show that for 10 million years the giant snakewas the largest land predator on earth. There are anacondas and pythons reported today up to 30 feet long. The reports since the 1800’s of giant snakes excite the imagination and Sir Percy Fawcett set off to find one and never returned. As a youngster I thought perhaps it found him and ate him. I think it is the romance of the giant snake that appeals, the Victorian type explorers in the jungles and swamps of Africa, South America and even the Everglades, searching for the unknown. 
So cryptozoology, romantic, exciting, and full of unknowns and the chance of new discoveries , what more could a person want ?