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The Press and Journal Aberdeen | Scotland | July 12, 1999

Expert suggests Nessie could be species of seal

Experts who gathered on the shores of Loch Ness at the weekend admitted science will play little part in fresh bids to detect the legendary monster.

They even suggested it could turn out to be a new kind of long-necked seal.

A group of 30 cryptozoologists from Japan, Belgium and the US attended the two-day conference in Drumnadrochit Hotel organised by the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club.

Professor Henry Bauer, of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, insisted scientists had to be more open-minded about Nessie but he admitted cryptozoology was not an exact science.

He said: "This is not like carrying out experiments in science, which has been seen as a professional activity. If you are doing science you have got to produce results.

"But we do not know how to produce these results about Nessie as science is about having things ready to be solved and I do not think Nessie is ready to be solved yet; you need a stroke of luck.

"People take science to be a great authority in our day and age and I do not believe that is always the case; science has been greatly oversold in that respect and that is a shame.

"We must not forget that when what we call science began it was just people drawing and making notes of what they saw. The issue of Nessie is the same."

US author Loren Colman, who has previously written a volume called Bigfoot and chose the seminar for the launch of his new book on cryptozoology, said: "I have said it before but I think Loch Ness is the epicentre of cryptozoology in the world, so even though you have all the jokes about Loch Ness and other things, several scientists have been interested enough to be here over the weekend to see what is going on in this loch.

"Nobody will pay any attention to us until such time as we get a body or a sample of DNA. We must not forget that over the next 20 years there are expected to be 47 new types of aquatic mammals found.

"There have been various sightings which have been found to have been seals in the loch and this may be a long-necked seal unique to Loch Ness.

"That is less exciting than having a monster but it may be more realistic."

In a separate move, Inverness-based Gary Campbell, founder of the Loch Ness Monster Fan Club, who organised the seminar, said there have been two sightings of the monster over the past week and another one earlier in the year when an American tourist described what he said was a creature which rested on a beach on the south side of the loch between Dores and Foyers.

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