03:23 GMT15 May 2021
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    Despite countless alleged sightings of the fabled creature believed to be hiding at the bottom of Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands, Nessie, as it is tenderly called by monster-hunters, has evaded capture for years, sparking endless speculation on its whereabouts and very existence.

    The Loch Ness monster could actually be a giant eel, scientists examining the lake claimed after finding an abundance of eel DNA in multiple tests of the murky waters of Loch Ness in Scotland.

    Under the research, carried out by geneticist Professor Neil Gemmell from the University of Otago in New Zealand, the group took and examined 250 samples, and while data doesn't reveal the eels' size, scientists can't rule out that the mythical creature may actually be giant eels in the loch.

    "Divers have claimed that they've seen eels that are as thick as their legs in the loch, whether they're exaggerating or not - I don't know - there is a possibility that there are very large eels present in the loch. Whether they are as big as around four metres as some of these sightings suggest - well, as a geneticist I think about mutations and natural variation a lot, and while an eel that big would be well outside the normal range, it seems not impossible that something could grow to such an unusual size", Gemmell said.

    Further investigation will either confirm or debunk the theory, but based on their data, huge eels remain a "plausible idea", he said.

    According to a Scottish national legend, every now and then, Nessie would peek its head above the water before slipping back underneath the dark depths of Loch Ness. The lake has become a magnet for adventure-seekers and monster-hunters, with over 1,000 alleged sightings having been registered to date along with multiple low-quality, grainy photos.

    monster, Loch Ness Monster, Loch Ness
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