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Since humans began navigating the oceans to discover new lands, a lot of stories about sightings of sea monsters have become popular. Although many of these stories may be the product of fantasy, other sightings of long-necked beasts have not been so easy to explain to scientists.
Perhaps the most popular of these is the Loch Ness monster , whose mystery has sparked an intense debate within the sector of cryptozoology, a branch of science devoted to the study of animals whose existence has not yet been officially purchased. In fact, the government of Scotland already has a plan in case the alleged monster is discovered, and includes its capture and subsequent study of DNA before being returned to the lake.
Dinosaurs, not monsters!
Now, new research has suggested that the legend behind this and other long-necked sea monsters might be inspired by a very real reptile species: the dinosaurs. The study analyzes the sighting reports of a large “sea serpent” in the nineteenth century, which were influenced by the discovery of fossils of dinosaurs. In this sense, the report reveals:
In the last 200 years, there is evidence of a decrease in serpentine reports of marine snakes and an increase in the proportion of reports with necks, but there is no evidence of an increase in the proportion of reports of mososaurype type (…) However, the witnesses only began to unequivocally compare the sea serpents with the prehistoric reptiles at the end of the 19th century, some 50 years after the naturalists made their first suggestion.
In the year 1819, William Buckland, a British fossil researcher , was the first to find fossils of dinosaurs. According to Charles Paxton, a researcher at the University of St. Andrews, and Darren Naish, paleontologist at the University of Southampton, after this discovery, reports of sightings of long-necked marine beasts similar to plesiosaurs increased by 10 to 50 per cent. hundred. This happened from 1801 to 1930 for at least 1,500 suspected sightings.
The researchers said that the alleged sightings of animals similar to mosasaurs did not change, apparently because fossils of dinosaurs began to be exhibited in galleries and museums. In the case of the Loch Ness monster, the story has been attributed to a plesiosaurus that at one time survived the extinction of the dinosaurs.
In 1934, gynecologist Robert Kenneth Wilson, took the popular “photograph of the surgeon”, which shows the neck and head of the alleged animal. Years later, in 1994, a collaborator of Kenneth who accompanied the supposed day of the sighting, said that the captured image was false, and was manipulated to obtain recognition.
Between popular belief and the imagination of people there are interactions and interpretations of any kind. The researchers in this study believe that no fantastic story is far from the scrutiny of scientists.