It was a scientific story created for the headlines: a monster, more than a thousand years of mystery, and perhaps, finally, the answer.
Neil Gemmel had this potential for publicity when he led a team of scientists to search for DNA from the elusive Loch Ness monster – and again when the team announced Thursday that a big eel could be behind all speculation.
"I shamelessly use the monster as a way to attract interest so that I can talk about the science I want to talk about," the geneticist and professor at the University of New Zealand in Otago told The Washington Post after a hectic day of dozens of media interviews.
More than a thousand encounters with Loch Ness monsters have been recorded in the official Watch Register. "The reports date back to 565 AD, when it is said that an Irish saint rescued a man from an attack by a river monster.
Rumors intensified in the 1
In fact, after Gemmell's message landed, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he "longed to believe" in the Loch Ness monster, according to PA Media, which reported on Friday:
The prime minister said he wanted the mythical creature to is true when he was a kid, he adds, "Part of me still does it."
In trying to explain the multiple reports of a giant marine creature, some theorized that the sucker was the home of a reptile from the Jurassic era and pointed to a giant extinct an animal called a plesiosaur. Others speculate about huge fish, swimming circus elephants or just floating branches.
Gemmell and colleagues say they can use science to rule out some ideas after analyzing DNA in 250 samples of Loch Ness water.
DNA allowed them to draw a detailed picture of the creatures living in what Gemmell called "the most famous body of water in the world" next to tiny bacteria. They found no evidence that the lake was a prehistoric reptile harbor and lacked DNA from sharks, catfish or sturgeon, some of the other animals presented to explain the myth.
There was a lot of genetic material from eels.  "The rest of the theory that we cannot refute based on the resulting DNA data from the environment is that what people see is a very big eel," the team wrote on its website, explaining the findings.
It is not yet clear, scientists say, that the sucker contains an eel large enough to account for a description of a monster. Some researchers have raised the theory of eels before, and people report seeing large eels in Loch Ness. The video, shot in 2007, captures a four-meter marine animal on the surface of a moose, which can be an eel, according to the Gemmell team, although they acknowledge that such a large specimen would be unusual.
Not everyone is impressed by their findings. Steve Feltum, who owns the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest continuous monster hunt in Loch Ness, told the BBC that the idea of eels that live in Loch is not a revelation.
"A 12-year-old boy can tell you there are eels in Loch Ness," Feltum said. "I caught eels in the fuck when I was a 12-year-old boy."
Young eels migrate thousands of miles to Scottish rivers and lakes – lakes or openings – from waters near the Bahamas, the BBC reported. Creatures spend most of their lives in fresh water before returning to the ocean to lay eggs, scientists say.
They meet at a press conference with the fact that the heaviest recorded European eel ever caught, gained 5.38 kilograms (almost 12 kilograms), Jamel admitted, "That doesn't sound like a monster, does it?"
based on the evidence we have accumulated, we cannot rule it out as an opportunity, "he said, according to the Guardian
Gemmell is not sure that he will be involved in further investigations to support the eel hypothesis. He said he achieved what he wanted with a project that captured public imagination like no other study he has published. Last year, according to him, the work of Loch Ness scientists generated about 3,000 media stories in a matter of weeks – before making a single finding.
At first, Gemmel said he was worried that Loch Ness's exhaustive investigation was foolish.
But then he talks to his 9-year-old son, who he tells his friends who think the project sounds great. After seeing the fascination of children, Gemmell realized that taking a serious scientific look at the famous goof could provoke public interest in biodiversity monitoring techniques.
The Gemmell team takes advantage of "ecological DNA", the genetic material that beings leave in their environment. This "eDNA" allows scientists to learn about habitats without disturbing them and harming the animals they are trying to study, explains the Gemmell team on its website.
The strategy "will make a real difference to how we monitor and protect the world's increasingly fragile ecosystems," they write.
A travel documentary on team work in the United Kingdom and the United States later this month will bring the project to
"Loch Ness attracts people in a way that few other things could ever do," Gemmell said.
Correction: An earlier version of this article offers eels that migrate to Scottish water bodies lay eggs there, in fact they return to the ocean to d more:
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