Recently, the University of Bath has found fossils of small plesiosaurs, often known as real life Loch Ness Monsters, that suggest that they did live in freshwater rivers along an ancient Moroccan river system.
The Loch Ness Monster has been believed to be related to plesiosaurus for a long time because Nessie’s are believed to have long necks, small heads, 4 flippers and some of the same characteristics of the plesiosaurus. Scientists believed that Plesiosaurus were largely saltwater creatures, until this recent discovery. Before scientists believed that the Loch Ness Monster myth was false because Plesiosaurus needed a saltwater environment.
Dr Nick Longrich, Senior Lecturer in Evolutionary Biology at the University of Bath, corresponding author on the paper, said: “We don’t really know why the plesiosaurs are in freshwater. It’s a bit controversial, but who’s to say that because we paleontologists have always called them ‘marine reptiles’, they had to live in the sea? Lots of marine lineages invaded freshwater.”
The fossils found recently include bones and teeth from a 9.8ft (3m) long adult, and an arm bone from a 4.9ft (1.5m) baby.
A press release from the University of Bath said the new finding stated that the Loch Ness Monster was “on one level, plausible”. “Plesiosaurs weren’t confined to the seas, they did inhabit freshwater,”. The press release also pointed out that the fossil record showed that plesiosaurs had died out at the same time as the dinosaurs, 66 million years ago, far before humans would have been able to observe them.
“It’s link to the Loch Ness Monster was first made by Arthur Grant, a veterinary student, who claimed to have nearly hit the creature on his motorcycle in January 1934 and described it as a cross between a seal and plesiosaur. He drew a sketch that resembled the ancient sea creature.” describes Sarah Knapton from The Telegraph.
“Just a few months later, the Daily Mail published a photograph taken by Robert Kenneth Wilson, a gynaecologist, a type of surgical gynecologist, that also appeared to show a creature with a long neck and small head moving through the water. The image, which became widely known as “the surgeon’s photograph”, later turned out to be a hoax, created by a disgruntled ex-Mail employee who was angry that his father-in-law had been ridiculed by the newspaper for claiming he had found Nessie footprints.” stated The Telegraph wrapping up this unbelievable story.