Mysterious sightings of a giant creature in the lake have fascinated Loch Ness visitors for years. The fabled Lock Ness monster, or ‘Nessie’, has been speculated to be a prehistoric marine reptile, called a plesiosaurus, or a shark.

However, a recent DNA study could shed some light on one of Scotland’s longest running legends. Scientists wanted to understand what animals and plants were living in the lake. They took water samples from the lake and extracted the DNA. Using sequencing techniques, they were able to identify the proportion of different species in the loch.

European eel DNA was identified in significant proportions. No sturgeon, catfish, plesiosaurus or shark DNA was found, discounting these popular theories. Eels migrate to Scottish lakes and rivers as part of their life cycle, where they lay their eggs.

It is therefore possible that the commonly reported sightings of the monster may in fact be giant eels. Eel DNA was found at all sampling sites, but the large proportion of DNA found is more likely to indicate the high abundance of eels in the lake rather than the large size of the eels.

Some people remain sceptical and suggest the sightings may simply be down to falling logs. However, whatever the reason for the sightings people continue to be drawn to the lake to seek out the mystery for themselves.