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Saturday, October 24, 2009

LINDSAY SELBY: Some more thoughts on lake monsters.

So far I have found about 70 lake monsters documented, and that doesn’t include sea serpents, on the internet alone. 70 lake monsters sounds a lot but there are many more out there. I never realised how many there were until I started blogging.

The similarities between them are also interesting. There are lots of long necks, serpentine-like and crocodile-like creatures spotted. However, they are unlikely to be plesiosaurs as scientists think they may not have been able to hold their heads out of water. See this article

Some may be big fish, some may be eels and some may even be crocodiles but some may be something new, a new species or perhaps a very old species adapted and evolved. I am not really talking dinosaurs here but something more recent from the last 10 or 12,000 years, not a billion years old. Something surviving from the ice age and evolving is more likely than a dinosaur. A lot of the lakes with reported creatures are similar in being cold, dark waters and fairly isolated until recent times and many were only formed since the ice age. There is not a great deal of information on sea creatures of the ice age, mainly I suspect because remains have not been discovered. There is a lot on woolly mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers but not a lot on sea creatures or lake creatures of the age. The theory is that most would be similar to today’s creatures. It could be then that an undiscovered species is waiting to be found. I think a giant eel is a likely candidate but there may be big fish, prehistoric in appearance out there, like the sturgeon but a new species.

It could be a serpentine creature, a giant water-dwelling worm; the possibilities are endless. I hope when something is found we are not disappointed that it is not the prehistoric monster some hope for, nor some other strange beast. It may turn out to be something mundane but because it has been hidden for so long that it is still exciting. I know my recent forages into the past, that of other monster hunters and my own experiences for a book, have turned up some stuff I had forgotten, like stories of large eels between 10 and 16 feet long being caught in the Loch. Some locals said their fathers had seen them or their grandfather caught one. Could be tall tales but interesting nevertheless.

I am fascinated by lake and sea monster stories as you can probably tell and have spent many hours watching lochs and lakes . I am always struck by the similarities between the areas and the lakes more than anything. Is it the similarities that matter or the differences? Well, I tie myself in knots on that one. I think the similarities are important because if it turns out that these sightings are an optical illusion, then the similarities will be important. If it turns out a creature does dwell in a lake, then the similarities between lakes will also be important in assessing whether another creature could survive in another lake.

I hope one day soon to have the time to compare all the sightings I can find and the areas they take place in, to show the similarities and hope it will show some correlation to either types of species or types of place, both of which may turn out to be important in the future. Whatever the outcome of investigating the lake monsters sightings, whether misperception or creature, I want to know the answers. Curiosity is a wonderful thing and I am very curious about lake creatures!

1 comment:

Dr Dan Holdsworth said...

The most interesting test I can think of to perform on supposed lake monsters is this: go out in a boat with fish-finding sonar and see what you can see with it.

Man-made sonar and the sonar of predatory cetaceans is very strongly convergent; the same laws of physics affect both, and they end up sounding the same. Lots of fish can hear and use sound; most reptiles and so on are similarly equipped. By aiming fish-finding sonar into a loch, you are effectively seeing what the animal will do if it thinks a predatory whale is on the hunt, trolling for a victim.

What I'd predict is that it should stay down near but not at the bottom, move away from the sound source but at the same time not try to lose it completely; to avoid sonar a fish (or a submarine) needs to be down near bottom clutter, but not so close that it gets trapped by it, and it is also most useful to keep the sonar emitter in hearing range, that way you know where it is.