The Loch Ness Monster is known all over the world. Its existence is debated with some being thoroughly convinced Nessie, as it is often called, is real while others insist it is purely imaginary. The first recorded sighting of Nessie was in 565 AD when a water serpent was banished by St. Columba for attacking a man in a river close by. The creature remained relatively unknown outside of Scotland until the early Twentieth Century when people started taking pictures to prove Nessie really existed. Unfortunately for Nessie ardent fans, the vast majority of the photos were proven to be hoaxes.
Scientists have proven that sea monsters did exist at one time and they were far more viscous looking than Nessie on his worst day. In 1966, the fossil of an ichthyosaur was found embedded in rock on the Isle of Skye. With the technology available at that time, it was not possible to extract the remains from the rock. Since then, technology has advanced a great deal and new techniques make it possible to extract the fossil from the surrounding rock so it can be studied more closely.
The team that will be conducting studies on the fossil is led by Dr. Steve Brusatte, a University of Edinburgh professor. According to him, real sea monsters hold more fascination than Nessie and were much larger and dangerous looking. The fossil his team will be studying is one of these sea monsters and is believed to have lived in Scotland millions of years ago during the middle Jurassic period. At this point, the creature is depicted by artists as being about thirteen feet long with a dolphin-like snout containing a large number of very sharp teeth.
As Dr. Brusatte told the Washington Post, Scotland is far from the first place people consider as a place where fossils are likely to be found. This may now change because of the discovery of this ichthyosaur fossil. Since not many fossils have been found from the middle Jurassic period, Scotland may find itself on the map as far as Jurassic Epoch fossils go.
For more info, see What did the real Nessie Look Like