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No Nessie, But Lots of Eel DNA

An environmental DNA analysis of Loch Ness turned up no evidence of its resident monster Nessie, but did reveal more eel DNA than expected, the Guardian reports.

The University of Otago's Neil Gemmell and his colleagues collected eDNA samples from the Scottish lake to catalog the species living there. While Gemmell has said in the past that he doesn’t want to be "known as the guy who is looking for the Loch Ness Monster," he adds that it is a good way to get people thinking about eDNA.

According to the Guardian, the team's analysis uncovered DNA from about 3,000 species, including from pigs, deer, sticklebacks, and humans — but, it says, not from any monsters.

The Associated Press adds that the researchers' samples included a high quantity of eel DNA. This, Gemmell says, could reflect either a large eel — Nessie-sized! — or many smaller eels, but the Guardian notes that he looked skeptical as he described the Nessie-as-giant-eel theory, as the highest known weight for a European eel is 5.38 kilograms, or about 12 pounds.

"I came into this with a view that there probably wasn’t a monster," Gemmell said during a press conference, according to the Guardian. "I wanted to understand the biodiversity of Loch Ness and we've done that very well." He adds that his team will make a database of the species they found in the loch publicly available.

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