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Thursday, 10 April 2014

Sir Peter Scott Nessie Via Scott Mardis

Artwork by Sir Peter Scott depicting hypothetical Loch Ness plesiosaurs, 1975.
Submitted by Scott Mardis

The top figure in the original illustration was too dark and had to be left off.. I find these to be in good agreement with my general model except for the nonappearance of a midline-dorsal fleshy crest or fringe here, and the base of the neck has less of a taper to it in this version, which in my model performs the function of a shock absorber for the neck while swimming forward. For mechanical reasons something like that will be important to the functioning of a living animal. The small size of the head and the thinness of the forward portion of the neck are indeed close to the statistical averages here, a head two feet long and a neck a foot thick behind the head being typical proportions for a 40 foot animal (Halve that for a 20 foot animal, and at the current time I think 20 to 40 feet long is a sound estimate for the standard size in these animals. The smaller end of the size range would be the females and the larger end of size estimates would be the males, and more inexact estimates of the size at 150% to 200% of the standard are common in some areas, such as at high seas, where size estimates tend to be less accurate generally. That yields 30 to 60 feet long at 150% and 40 to 80 feet long at 200% of standard size estimations, and these correspond to the basic size range estimations for "Longnecks" and "Merhorses" as given by Bernard Heuvelmans in In The Wake of the Sea Serpents)

compare to:

Statements made about sizes and proportions are the end products of an exhaustive study I made while I was with the SITU and had access to Sanderson's files: the statistical analysis included every known report of Sea Serpents and Lake Monsters at the time and the final results were submitted to the SITU in 1980 in the form of a 100 page report that was never published. I still have a draft of the 100 page report. The reports were taken all together as a whole and then again in various subcategories, including reports from each lake or series of lakes, and from geographic subsections of the sea and sea coast, and as an evaluation of Heuvelmans' categories from In The Wake of the Sea Serpents as measured one against the others. This study found a uniformity between most reports and a general agreement between the reports in each of Heuvelmans' categories, but resulted in the unexpected result that nearly all "String of buoys" sightings were probably due to wave effects, and that this category was the largest one for "Unknowns" worldwide. The results for the remaining sea-serpents in general, the Loch Ness Monster, Champ of Lake Champlain, the Heuvelmans category of Longnecks, and even the Patagonian Plesiosaurs, were all closely similar. Counter to Heuvelmans there was not any good reason to consider Longnecks to be tailless, tails still featured in about 10% of the reports, a proportion similar to the Loch Ness Monster reports: and while the longnecked section of Merhorses was also similar to the Longnecks, there were also clearly different kinds of Merhorses differentiated by the length of the necks. One subsection of Merhorse reports surprisingly turned out to be the proper size and proportions to match elephant seals after the statistics were compiled. "?LN?SE" reports also tested out as being mostly identical to the regular Longnecks statistically.


  1. Good article. I'm glad to see you're back. Sir Scott's illustrated Loch Ness plesiosaurs also look "shrink wrapped" with their ribs showing, which would be unlikely for a cold-water aquatic reptile.

  2. Indeed. My initial complaint was that the creatures did not look fleshy enough.


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