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27th Jul 2022

Loch Ness Monster existence ‘plausible’ after incredible discovery in Morocco’s Sahara Desert

Steve Hopkins

Scientists made a discovery in a 100-million year old river system that is now Morocco’s Sahara Desert

The existence of the Loch Ness Monster may be “plausible”, a university study has concluded after the discovery of a haul of fossils in Morocco.

The beast has been a part of folklore for centuries, and there have been countless suspected sightings, but no real evidence that the mysterious creature actually exists.

Because Nessie appears to have a long-neck and small head similar to a plesiosaur, it is thought it would be unable to survive in Lock Ness because it is a saltwater creature. Plesiosaurs, first found in 1823, were prehistoric reptiles with small heads, long necks, and four long flippers.

Plesiosaur, the University of Bath said in a statement, inspired reconstructions of the Loch Ness Monster, “but unlike the monster of Loch Ness, plesiosaurs were marine animals – or were widely thought to be”.

That theory has been challenged somewhat after scientists at the scientists at Bath uni, the University of Portsmouth in the UK, and Université Hassan II in Morocco found small plesiosaur fossils in a 100-million year old river system that is now Morocco’s Sahara Desert.

The fossils include bones and teeth from three-metre long adults and an arm bone from a 1.5 metre long baby.

The finding suggests the creatures lived and fed in freshwater, alongside frogs, crocodiles, turtles, fish, and the aquatic dinosaur Spinosaurus and were adapted to tolerate freshwater, possibly even spending their lives there, like today’s river dolphins.

The discovery, the University of Bath said, makes the story of Nessie a little more “plausible”.

However, as a rather big but, the university added that the fossil record “suggests that after almost a hundred and fifty million years, the last plesiosaurs finally died out at the same time as the dinosaurs, 66 million years ago”.

“It’s scrappy stuff, but isolated bones actually tell us a lot about ancient ecosystems and animals in them. They’re so much more common than skeletons, they give you more information to work with,” Dr Nick Longrich, corresponding author on the paper, explained.

“The bones and teeth were found scattered and in different localities, not as a skeleton. So each bone and each tooth is a different animal. We have over a dozen animals in this collection.”

He added: “We don’t really know why the plesiosaurs are in freshwater.

“It’s a bit controversial, but who’s to say that because we palaeontologists have always called them ‘marine reptiles’, they had to live in the sea? Lots of marine lineages invaded freshwater.”

Co-author Dave Martill, professor of palaeobiology at the University of Bath, added: “What amazes me is that the ancient Moroccan river contained so many carnivores all living alongside each other.

“This was no place to go for a swim.”

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