The Sun (UK) tabloid is well known for paying for exclusive photographs to publish with sensational stories about celebrities, ghosts and monsters. The latest is a new photo of Loch Ness which, if really taken in the Loch, shows three playful seals near shore. Normally, we don?t link to tabloids like the Sun but this pic is interesting and tells a story in it?s own right, one that is a bit more complicated than ?It?s Nessie!?
Here is the photograph so we can examine what it actually may be.
As you can see, the shallow water in the foreground looks to be shoreline so the creature(s) are not that far away. Let?s zoom in on the head.
This is a very good match to a seal. Here is a grey seal in comparison. The image may not be clear enough to determine what type of seal though experts may be able to based on the shape of the head.
The photographer, Ian Bremner, says he didn?t notice the object(s) in the picture until later. He says he took it ?between the villages of Dores and Inverfarigaig? but there is no discerning features to be able to tell. Hmm? It seems very strange he did not notice this object since it?s in focus. Bremner also invoked the avowal of prior skepticism, saying he was skeptical, until now. That is a common attempt to bolster credibility and sound rational. Though this clearly looks like a row of seals, and the article DOES note this, Bremner is not willing to accept that so easily:
?I suppose it could be seals ? but I?m not so sure. The more I think about it, the more I think it could be Nessie.?
I don?t wonder why?
Could Nessie be a seal or a group of seals? It?s plausible. Researcher Dick Raynor has documented seals in the Loch before. He filmed one in 1999. Another had been photographed and documented in 1984-5 and several reports exist prior to that. But Raynor thinks this particular photo is suspicious: ?We don?t have shallows showing brown beyond blue areas. The left hand bit does resemble a seal.?
Well, I?m calling seal(s) on this one but the question remains if it was doctored or really taken in Loch Ness. Evidence does not currently support the latter. Nessie itself is a legend, it is not one animal but collection of reports from many people that popular culture has crafted into a great story. Reports of Nessie have certainly been misinterpretations of seals, birds, fish, logs, other swimming animals, waves and wakes, etc., but not a new species or living plesiosaur. This picture is certainly not convincing of anything other than guaranteed publicity for the Sun. Too bad.