The Scientific Evidence
The scientific evidence that could help back up claims that Nessie exists can be split into two main parts:-
i ) Evidence gained from surveying the loch by sonar, film, echo sounder etc.
ii) Biological evidence of a large animal in the loch.
The evidence that has been gained to date, some of which has been mentioned in previous sections, is basically inconclusive. This is because while it has not proven categorically that the monster does not exist, it has only provided some pieces of evidence that may indicate that something large does live in Loch Ness.
The photographic and cine/video film evidence can be interpreted in many ways but unfortunately, over the years, has lost much credibility due to the number of hoaxes that have been uncovered. However, some photos and movie film footage still remains unexplained. The problem is that it is "unexplained" and does not prove beyond doubt that Nessie and possibly her family are actually out there. Indeed even some of the more spectacular photographs taken by the Academy of Applied Science were decreed to have been of a rotting tree stump that was discovered in the loch at the time of Operation Deep Scan in 1987. The strongest evidence that Nessie is in fact down there comes from the unexplained sonar contacts made over the years. They have been remarkably consistent in both their appearance and make up since sonar was first introduced to the loch. Unfortunately, these contacts by themselves do not provide definitive answers to what, if anything, lives in Loch Ness.
The only way to prove that a monster exists from the
biological/zoological point of view is either to:-
a) Find and capture it or
b) Find evidence of its existence ie a skeleton or faeces dropped by it.
To date of course this has never happened. The various expeditions over the years have found that, whilst not teeming with fish life, there is a food supply in the loch. Most notable was the discovery by the Loch Ness and Loch Morar project of Arctic Char, a member of the salmon family, living at a depth of 220m. Whether or not there is enough of a food supply for a large animal of the type Nessie is reputed to be is a point of debate between different scientists. This once again points to inconclusive evidence.
Much of the scientific evidence collected up to the mid seventies was presented to the UK government on 10 December 1975 but it failed to create much interest outside monster hunting circles. However, on a more positive note and in support of the Nessie theory, some of the world's top scientists were less sceptical. G.R. Zug Ph.D, curator of the Division of Reptiles and Amphibians at the Smithsonian Institute stated "I believe that these data indicate the presence of large animals in Loch Ness, but are insufficient to identify them" and to counteract the "hoax photograph" explanations, A. Gillespie of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at California Institute of Technology said "I see no evidence that they are pictures of a model toy...... or whatever. I emphasise, I detect no evidence of fraud. These objects are not patterns of algae, sediment or gas bubbles".