Loch Ness Monster and plesiosaur
The Plesiosaur - Without doubt this is the most popular candidate among monster believers and the press. The plesiosaur was not a dinosaur, it was actually a prehistoric aquatic reptile which lived in the warm seas which surrounded Scotland 70, 000, 000 years ago.
The plesiosaurs became extinct 65, 000, 000 years ago during the great extinction which may have been caused by the impact of huge meteor or planetoid. There is no continuity in the fossil record after that time.
There were several types of aquatic reptile including the ichthyosaurs, which were fish-like in appearance, and many species of plesiosaur. Some had short necks and large heads, others had small heads and long necks similar to the fictitious animal shown here.
If we are going to consider the possibility of plesiosaurs in Loch Ness we must consider how they could have arrived here. Around 12, 000 years ago Loch Ness was still within the grips of the Lomond advance of ice and the loch would have been a solid block of ice. No animals at all could have lived in it then and far fetched suggestions that plesiosaurs could have survived in deep freeze until the ice thawed, is pure science fiction.
If plesiosaurs came into the loch it must have happened after the ice retreated when access to the loch would have been easier until the land bounced back from the weight of the ice and the loch's level rose. These creatures, then, must have been living in substantial numbers in the North Sea if a viable community were to become trapped in the loch. If there were large numbers in the North Sea only a few thousand years ago where are they today? This factor alone should rule out the plesiosaur, but there are other factors too.
The question must also be asked, why would plesiosaurs swim into a barren loch with no fish and few nutrients, which is how Loch Ness would have been immediately after the ice disappeared.
The plesiosaur, as we have said, was a creature of warm shallow seas. It may or may not have been warm-blooded, but it is unlikely that it could have survived in the ice age seas and the deep cold fresh water of Loch Ness. This is a critical issue which would rule it out as a candidate.
While there are any number of other factors which would count against plesiosaurs I will only mention one more here. The plesiosaur breathed air and, if it were to somehow survive in Loch Ness, it would need to have a high metabolic rate. These two factors, alone or combined, mean that the animals would have to surface regularly and would be seen often.
The plesiosaur really is not a front runner.
All of the problems with prehistoric aquatic reptiles are equally valid with modern day reptiles. In fact, all modern reptiles are cold-blooded and certainly could not be candidates for a large creature living in the 5o Centigrade or 42o Fahrenheit of the loch.
Giant Squid and Octopi - The class of invertebrates, animals without a backbone, have never been seriously suggested as candidates for the Loch Ness Monster, but it would seem sensible to deal with them anyway as they are real monsters of the oceans.
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Is the Loch Ness monster a plesiosaur?
Many people who claim to have seen the Lock Ness monster believe it is a plesiosaur, but there has been no determination that this is the case.