AFPThe monster is one of Scotland’s tourist attractions
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 10:48
“I understand it’s even more fun if you drink a lot of excellent whiskey with it, because that increases the chance of seeing the animal.”
Anne Schulp, paleontologist at Utrecht University and Naturalis, is speaking. The subject is the umpteenth search for the Loch Ness Monster, in which more than a hundred volunteers are participating this weekend.
Armed with drones, infrared cameras and equipment that picks up acoustic signals, they want to definitively prove that this monster exists, or not. There are also people sitting at seventeen positions along the lake who make a note if they see strange movements in the water.
The first description of a strange creature at Loch Ness dates back to the twelfth century. The English cleric Walter van Bingham claimed to have seen a large beast while crossing the River Ness. Fire would have come from his eyes. Bingham drew an animal reminiscent of a bear.
The British Library Walter van Bingham’s drawing
The myth about a monster in the lake persisted. In 1933 a new version appeared. A Scottish newspaper reported that a couple had seen a “terrifying monster” as it drove past the lake. That took about a minute. The whale-like animal created large waves, “big enough to have been caused by a steamboat”.
Immediately more people came who had seen something similar. A year later, the Daily Mail printed the famous photo of a dinosaur-like animal sticking its back, long neck and head above the water. Doubts arose immediately. In 1994 it became clear that this toy submarine monster with a neck and head was made of putty.
APDe foto in The Daily Mail
Paleontologist Schulp said yesterday in Met het Oog op Morgen that the animal in this photo most closely resembles a plesiosaur, a marine reptile with a long neck from the dinosaur era. “Those sea creatures also lived in brackish water on the coast. As far as we know, they died out a long time ago, at the end of the dinosaur era. No one has seen them for the last 66 million years.”
It is clear that he does not count on the monster ever being found. “Everyone talks about the Loch Ness Monster as if there’s only one in the lake. If you want to maintain a healthy population, you still need a lot of Loch Ness monsters that also come in for new monsters every now and then. of Loch Ness. Otherwise it will end at some point.”
Schulp considers so-called scientific publications about these kinds of monsters to be “the fringe of crypto-zoology”. “That’s the menu that has the Yeti and the Bigfoot and dragons and a dinosaur left behind in a lake in the Republic of Congo.”
What they have in common is that publications about it are accompanied by blurry paw prints and bad photos. “That’s amazing. As soon as it comes to those mysterious beasts, the photos suddenly become very vague.”
But whether or not the monster exists is not really that important, says Schulp. “It does give some local color and a lot of people like it. It’s best if it remains a bit of a mystery.”