A LOCH Ness Monster theory which suggests the creature is a living dinosaur has been dealt a blow by scientists.
Many believe that Nessie is a plesiosaur, a long-necked marine reptile which sought refuge in Scotland's second-largest freshwater loch when most of the species died out 160 million years ago.
But Dr Leslie Noe, a palaeontologist at Cambridge University's Sedgwick Museum, discovered that the plesiosaur would have been unable to lift its head up, swan-like, out of the water.
Dr Noe, whose findings are reported in this month's New Scientist, told experts at a meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology in Canada, that plesiosaurs used their long necks to reach down and feed on soft-bodied animals living on the sea floor. By examining fossils of a plesiosaur, Muraenosaurus, and by calculating the articulation of the neck bones, Dr Noe concluded the neck was flexible and could move most easily when pointing down.
Dr Noe said: "The neck was a feeding tube, collecting soft-bodied prey. The osteology of the neck makes it certain the plesiosaur could not lift its head up, swan-like, out of the water."
Mr Edwards, from Drumnadrochit, who runs Loch Ness cruises on his boat, the Nessie Hunter, said: "Most people don't support the dinosaur theory. The creature is some entirely new species. When you consider that every year in the open seas thousands of new species are discovered, this is the most likely explanation. But there's no doubt that a creature, one with a single hump, which most people report, does exist."
In my opinion, who cares. It's good for business and it's enjoyable for folks all over the world to hope and watch to be the first to see the creature and capture concrete proof. I think scientists need to be more critical of their priorities. Hard earned monies should be spent on better things for mankind than trying to debunk local legends around the world.