UK Natural History Museum Scientist Sacked Over Loch Ness Monster - Media
Prior to his dismissal from the museum, the scientist reportedly suggested that the Loch Ness monster must be a prehistoric reptile known as plesiosaur.
Dr. Denys Tucker, formerly a principal scientific officer at the Natural History Museum, likely had lost his position there due to his belief in a certain famous mythical creature, MailOnline reports.
Having joined the museum’s department of zoology in 1949 as a scientific officer, Tucker became a principal scientific officer in 1957, but his career was cut short in 1960 when he was fired for "alleged insubordination".
According to the media outlet, however, "newly uncovered" documents from the museum’s board of trustees seem to support a theory that Tucker’s dismissal was related to his belief in the Loch Ness monster, as the board was apparently concerned about possible reputational damage to the museum if it were to appear that it was taking the creature’s existence seriously.
"The trustees wish it to be known that they do not approve of the spending of official time or official leave on the so-called Loch Ness Phenomenon," a memo issued by the board to the staff in 1959 said. "If, as a result of the activities of members of the staff, the museum is involved in undesirable publicity, [the trustees] will be gravely displeased."
As the media outlet points out, several months before his dismissal, Tucker wrote in the New Scientist magazine that Nessie must be a plesiosaur – a long-extinct prehistoric reptile.
25 September 2021, 12:01 GMT
He also sought, albeit unsuccessfully, to secure funding from the Royal society for a "scientific project".
"I put the project up to the Natural History Museum. The museum does send out expeditions to collect specimens. But they didn't like the idea of a Loch Ness expedition at all," Tucker complained at the time, according to a newspaper cutting from the museum’s archive cited by the media outlet. "They refused me leave to lecture on the subject. Since I was sacked, they have banned me from the library. I had an international reputation as a zoologist. Now I'm like a struck off lawyer."
Nevertheless, Tucker was officially dismissed for "continued, vexatious, insubordinate and generally offensive conduct towards the museum's director and other senior staff".