Is this the Loch Ness Monster? Scientists to finally find out the truth

A little girl's video from Scotland's infamous Loch Ness has brought the search for its mythical occupant back to the fore as a New Zealand scientist and his team hope DNA testing will reveal the lake's truth once and for all.

We are speaking, of course, about the Loch Ness Monster. 

And, from time immemorial, the elusive beast has lit up the imagination of kids like 8-year-old Laria Annand. 

Laria was visiting the lake with her grandmother, Marie, when they noticed strange movement in the water as light bounced off a long, unidentified object.

With no boats or people around, the duo quickly fumbled for their phone to take some pictures.

"I had to do a double take because there was just nothing to explain it," Maria told Caters. "I took a few pictures and then my granddaughter asked if she could take a picture. "I didn't realize at the time but that's when she shot the video...  I can't explain it so the only thing I can think is we have seen the Loch Ness Monster."

Views around Loch Ness, Scotland -- Loch Ness Monster
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Views around Loch Ness, Scotland -- Loch Ness Monster
Urquhart Castle is seen on the edge of Loch Ness in Scotland, Britain April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Lloyd Scott, 41, poses for photographs wearing an antique deep sea diving suit in Loch Ness, in Scotland, ahead of his underwater marathon world record attempt to raise money for children with Leukaemia, September 28, 2003. Scott, a former leukaemia sufferer, who also completed the 2002 London Marathon in a diving suit, begins the attempt on Sunday and will take 14 days to complete his 26-mile underwater trek where he will be 30 feet (9.14 metres) below the surface of the loch, the home of the mythical Loch Ness Monster. Pictures of the month September 2003 REUTERS/Christopher Furlong Pictures of the Year 2003 BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE CF/MD
INVERNESS, SCOTLAND - JUNE 26: A general view over Loch Ness on June 26, 2015 in the Highlands, Scotland. A major six month long study is currently taking place, the 'National Golden Eagle Survey', which is the first of its kind in 12 years. The survey is co-funded by the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage. Surveyors from the RSPB working in collaboration with the Scottish Raptor Study Groups aim to provide a picture of the populations of breeding pairs of eagles across the country to determine whether conservation efforts are working. GPS tags are used to monitor the birds, and act as a deterrent against wildlife crime, which continues to be a major risk. 17 Golden Eagles were confirmed illegally killed in Scotland between 2003 and 2013 but the true figure is likely to be many more. The count will update the previous figure of some 440 breeding pairs of Golden Eagles in Scotland with only one adult male bird South of the border in the Lake District. Golden Eagles were once common across Britain, but due to persecution were only found in Scotland by the mid-19th century. Numbers have increased steadily since then but Golden Eagles still face pressures from poorly sited windfarms, large scale planting of conifers like Sitka spruce and, particularly, illegal killing. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
INVERNESS, SCOTLAND - APRIL 16: A general view of Urquhart Castle, Drumnadrochit on April 16, 2014 in Scotland. A referendum on whether Scotland should be an independent country will take place on September 18, 2014. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
INVERNESS, SCOTLAND - APRIL 16: A view towards the new bridge, from The Old Thomas Telford Bridge, Invermoriston on April 16, 2014 in Scotland. A referendum on whether Scotland should be an independent country will take place on September 18, 2014. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 24: Ruins of Urquhart castle (13th-16th century), Loch Ness, Highlands, Scotland, United Kingdom. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
INVERNESS, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 09: Music fans attend day 2 of the Rockness festival at Clune Farm, Loch Ness on June 9, 2013 in Inverness, Scotland. (Photo by Ross Gilmore/Redferns via Getty Images)
The remains of Urquhart castle on Loch Ness. (Photo by: Loop Images/UIG via Getty Images)

Hoping to determine whether the scores experiences like these can possibly be real is University of Otago professor Neil Gemmell.

Gemmell says he's no believer in Nessie, but he wants to take people on an adventure and communicate some science along the way.

To do so, he's leading an international team to the lake next month. They intend to take samples of the water and conduct DNA tests to determine what species live there.

If generations of lore are to be believed, one of those species is a long-necked plesiosaur that somehow survived the period when dinosaurs became extinct.

Others theorize Nessie is actually a sturgeon or giant catfish.

Whatever it is, Gemmell says it leaves behind little bits of its DNA as it swims. He and his team will take 300 samples from around the lake and at different depths.

The team will then filter out any DNA.

"I'm not a great believer in the Loch Ness Monster," Gemmell said. "But I'm willing to go there and test the idea, and I'm also willing to test the idea that there may be other explanations for the myth, like various giant fish that have been purported to have been in Loch Ness."


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