An emergency meeting was held at which the Loch Ness monster, Bigfoot and the demigods from the planet Nibiru discussed the loss of interest in them, even among dumb Russian housewives. This joke about the TV-3 channel has been circulating on the Internet for a long time. But, despite the fact that such topics are considered yellow, a scientific approach is quite applicable to them.
Loch Ness monster
The first to tell the world about the mysterious Nessie are Roman legionnaires, who, with a sword in their hands, mastered the Celtic expanses at the dawn of the Christian era. Seeing the handiwork of the Celts (who immortalized in stone all representatives of the Scottish fauna, from mouse to deer) - a stone statue of a strange long-necked seal of enormous size, they could not identify it.
In general, Nessie's appearance is rather vague. The legendary Scottish monster is believed to resemble either a plesiosaur or a giant eel-like creature.
Indeed, the fact that several individuals of the plesiosaur did survive in some secluded corner of the planet is theoretically possible, although very unlikely. So, coelacanth (coelacanth) was also considered extinct 65 million years ago, until … it was discovered in 1938. This event came as a shock to the scientific community. Since then, in fact, only a few individuals of the coelacanth genus have been discovered, so the fish is considered extremely rare and is among the living fossils.
The version that the Loch Ness monster looks like a plesiosaur was especially widespread after the so-called "surgeon's photo" - the London doctor Kenneth Wilson, who claimed to have photographed the animal by accident. In 1994, it turned out that the picture was a fake.
For centuries sailors have spoken of enormous sea monsters. But even in those distant times, the latter were only heroes of novels: no one really took them seriously. But the monsters really existed, they were discovered and called giant sea squids.
The bigmouth shark was discovered only in 1976 off the coast of the Hawaiian Islands. The giant animal reaches 5 m in length and weighs up to 750 kg. These elusive creatures have been seen less than 40 times. All this allows us to conclude that extremely large animals can remain unnoticed for decades and even hundreds of years.
However, Loch Ness is not an ocean and has been explored in much more detail. In addition, according to paleontologists, plesiosaurs were animals that often came to the surface. This means that if plesiosaurs lived in the lake, they would definitely be seen on land and reliably captured a long time ago. But this does not happen - Nessie does not appear on the shores of the lake.
Also, a plesiosaur cannot be in the water in the position in which it is supposedly seen. In this case, he must either sit in shallow water or break his neck. This situation is contrary to the anatomy of the animal.
Some, meanwhile, believe that Nessie is not a plesiosaur at all, but simply a new biological species, still unknown to science. But this view is definitely gigantic. Is this possible? Experts are sure: no. And all because Loch Ness is considered extremely scarce in terms of food, the amount of food that a large animal could find in these waters would simply not be enough for it to survive.Sound scanning showed that there is only 20 tons of biomass in the reservoir, which is enough to support the life of one living creature weighing no more than 2 tons, and this is not such a giant (plesiosaurs, as we remember, even reached a weight of 20 tons). But there should be not one or two such creatures here, but at least 15 to 30 individuals - so that they can maintain their own survival.
Attention to the Loch Ness monster was drawn in the 1920s. Since then, he has allegedly been seen more than 10,000 times. However, all attempts to find "stop and bark" have led nowhere. And this despite the fact that for such a good cause, the most modern equipment was used, in particular, sonars and deep-sea cameras that can see in the dark.
The legend of Nessie has been actively discussed in the media and has been promoted by the local tourism business for about 80 years. It is difficult to assume that at the same time, for several decades, it was not possible to obtain at least a clear photograph of the animal, if it really existed. But in the end - nothing: not a monster, not even his remains.
Loch Ness is 36 km long and 1.5 km wide. But the depth is almost 240 m, that is, this lake is deeper than the North Sea. In addition, the reservoir contains a very large amount of peat, which means almost zero visibility under water. And at the bottom there are many underwater caves and passages. Maybe this gives dreamers a reason to keep talking about the Loch Ness monster?
Nessie may also be a simple sturgeon that is found in the Ness River. The giant sturgeon is one of the largest freshwater fish in British waters. According to scientists, it can live for over 100 years. This fish lives quite secluded and at the very bottom, it can rarely be seen on the surface.
But how to explain so much evidence of the mysterious Nessie? Too many eyewitnesses have seen "something inexplicable" in the lake. Some of them were even tested with a lie detector, and it turned out that they were telling the truth. But this is not yet proof: the results of a polygraph test only prove that eyewitnesses believe in the existence of a monster, that they have seen something, but this does not mean that this something exists. Most people tend to see what they want - a Loch Ness monster, not a log or a piece of plastic. This happens every day imperceptibly with each of us. Also, people's memory is not a frozen process, but a rather changing structure. When reconstructing memories, our brain completely unconsciously "completes" the originally missing details: the head or paws of a log, for example.
It is worth, of course, to say that similar legends about a huge and mysterious underwater monster are found among very many peoples around the globe (for example, in Africa, the Okanagan Lake monster in Canada, Kanas Lake in China, Labynkyr Lake in Yakutia and many others), they are just less well known.
It is also called sasquatch, bigfoot, yeti, enzhe, avdoshka, almasty. He has many names, as well as many of the most likely "candidates" for the role of a mysterious creature: gigantopithecus, Pleistocene meganthrope (large anthropoid monkey), Neanderthal and even a bear.
Over the past 50 years, more than 37 thousand certificates have been collected about Bigfoot in Canada and the United States alone. But the most famous bigfoot is the one that was allegedly filmed in a California forest on October 20, 1967 by two farmers, yeti hunters Roger Paterson and Bob Gimli. The film shows a humanoid figure covered with hair, crossing the bed of a dry stream.
Until now, this short video, a minute long, is considered one of the most mysterious "evidence" of the Yeti's existence. Experts have found that the creature on it moves with the so-called "pliable gait", somewhat different from the confident gait of a person.With a compliant gait, the body bends forward, the knees remain bent, and the foot touches the ground with the entire surface, and not as in a person when the heel touches the first ground. During the experiment, biomechanical researchers, together with an actor and animator, decided to reproduce this gait. It turned out that this is not easy, but quite real. This means that a person is able to reproduce the gait of a creature from the Paterson and Gimli film.
But the most important "proof" is that the proportions of the Yeti from the film do not coincide with human proportions. Many of them are simply impossible to fake. For example, a knee bend that no costume can make up. Sasquatch Paterson and Gimli also have a long upper (up to the knee) part of the leg that is completely atypical for a person. It is not surprising that many experts, after analyzing all these features, came to the conclusion that the video clearly depicts a monkey or a similar anthropoid animal - and hardly a person dressed in an elaborate costume.
Among other things, the flat-footed figure from the film fits well with the flat footprints of the yeti found all over the world. It is known, however, that many of the prints of these traces were deliberately left by forgers. The most famous of these is perhaps the one Ray Wallis, who supposedly left hundreds of footprints using giant models of feet carved out of wood.
The famous "confirmation" of the existence of Bigfoot is a certain object, which for a long time passed off as his scalp.
It was only in 2013 that the report of Brian Sykes, professor of genetics at Oxford University, was published. According to the results of analyzes published in the report, the DNA of the hair is completely identical to that of the ancient polar bear, which existed more than 40 thousand years ago and was closely related to the brown bear. Sasquatch from a Nepalese monastery turned out to be an ancient bear.
However, the absolute majority of scientists do not even think about looking for a Yeti: this topic is too frivolous. Unless for the sake of attracting the general public to science. Answering the question about the possible existence of Bigfoot, the famous anthropologist Stanislav Drobyshevsky said on the Antropogenesis.ru website: “I would very much like the Bigfoot to exist, but it is alarming that he is not there. Tales about suggestion and extraordinary cunning must be left on the conscience of Porshnev's fans. If there was a yeti, they would have caught him long ago or at least found something. Of course, as an anthropologist, I really want to study some Almast or Bigfoot, especially since, purely hypothetically, there is nothing incredible in its existence. There is a gorilla, there is an orangutan, there is a man, why not be a descendant of Neanderthals, Sivapithecus or Gigantopithecus, stuck in the Pamirs? But with the factual matter it is quite a disaster. All the evidence that has ever been cited has turned out to be fake in our time. It's a pity … “We were catching demons in all the royal chambers! Grab it - but there is no demon!"
Despite the seemingly clear fabulous overtones, the mythical creature, symbolizing chastity and spiritual purity, also made it onto our list. And all because there is nothing supernatural in the very image of the unicorn. The unicorn is usually represented as a horse with one horn emanating from the forehead.
The earliest images of unicorns were found in India, and they are more than 4 thousand years old. Then myths about unicorns began to appear in Western Asia. And in Ancient Greece and Rome, unicorns were considered real animals at all. In addition, images of the unicorn are found in ancient Egyptian monuments and on the rocks of southern Africa. True, in the latter case, the drawings are species of antelope with straight horns, which are drawn in profile and without regard to perspective, and therefore seem to be one-horned.
Early traditions depicted a unicorn with the body of a bull, a goat and a horse; in some cases, you can find a unicorn with elephant legs and a boar's tail. This was the reason to think that the prototype of the unicorn is the rhinoceros. True, not modern, but rather ancient - Elasmotherium (the rhinoceros of the Eurasian steppes, who lived there during the Ice Age). Images of this prehistoric animal can be found in the rock art of those times. Why exactly Elasmotherium? The fact is that Elasmotherium partly resembled a horse with an extremely long horn in its forehead. It is believed to have died out at the same time as the rest of the Eurasian glacial megafauna. But some scientists, such as the popularizer of science Willie Leigh, believe that Elasmotherium died out later and managed to get into the legends and myths of the ancient Evenks in the form of a huge black bull with one horn in its forehead.
The ancient Roman writer, author of "Natural History" Pliny considered India and central Africa to be the birthplace of unicorns. In one of the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, the unicorn is completely distinguished by a very aggressive disposition, so some researchers suggest that the prototype of the unicorn can really be an animal that looks like a rhino not only in appearance, but also in character.
In the Bible, the unicorn ("reem") is presented as a fast, dangerous, ferocious (Ps. 21:22) and freedom-loving animal (Job 39: 9). But today most modern translators of the Bible call "reema" bison or wild buffalo, which became extinct several centuries ago.
Therefore, the prototype of the unicorn could well have been (and probably did) a completely terrestrial animal, for example, a rhinoceros, bison or antelope. Moreover, the latter could really look like a "unicorn". Cases of the birth of one-horned animals (which in fact should be two-horned) are known to science. So, in 2008 in Tuscany, a ten-month-old male roe deer was discovered, on the top of which a single horn gracefully flaunted. The roe deer lives and lives to this day, and was even transported to the conservation center of the city of Prato (France) - for safety.
Among other things, one-horned animals can also be obtained artificially, through not very complicated "plastic" surgery. Such, for example, was carried out by a biologist from the University of Maine (USA) W. Franklin Dove in 1933. The method is based on the anatomical features of ruminants, whose horns do not grow directly from the skull, but from a build-up of horny tissue. In a newborn Yorkshire calf, the biologist transplanted two horny growths into the center of the forehead, resulting in a long, straight horn. To the matured bull, such "ugliness", paradoxically, gave self-confidence, since the straight central horn in the form of a weapon was used more effectively by him. A similar operation could have been carried out in time immemorial. Pliny the Elder, in the eleventh book of his Natural History, mentions a case when modified horns were also obtained from one horny growth. True, in the end there were four of them, not one.
But with this monster, which is a huge cephalopod molluscs from the descriptions of Icelandic sailors (from whose language the word "kraken" comes), there is perhaps more clarity than with the rest of the world of mythical monsters.
The first detailed taxonomy of the Kraken legends belongs to the Danish naturalist Erik Pontoppidan, Bishop of Bergen, who described the monster "as large as a floating island." According to Pontoppidan, the kraken is able to grab and drag to the bottom even the largest warship of those years (XVIII century). But even more dangerous for ships is the cycle that the giant creates, sinking to the bottom.
According to the same Pontoppidan, in order to digest the food eaten, the animal needs three months, during which it will excrete a huge amount of nutritious excrement. Therefore, the kraken is always followed by large schools of fish.In this regard, there was even a saying about a fisherman who had an exceptional catch: "I was fishing on a kraken."
For obvious reasons, the scientific community has long been very critical of the sailors' tales, explaining the sudden and dangerous change of currents for ships by volcanic activity off the coast of Iceland. And only in 1857 the existence of the giant squid (Architeuthis dux), which, apparently, became the prototype of the kraken, was fully proven.
Architeutis, of course, is not the size of an island, but, according to modern data, its length can reach about 16, 5 m. However, the cryptozoologist Mikhail Goldenkov "rehabilitated" the sailors even in this seemingly natural exaggeration. In his opinion, evidence of the size of the kraken and "thousands of tentacles" does not mean that such an animal did not exist, but only that the unfortunate sailors had to face a flock of giant squids (since their smaller species are also schooling animals, you can suggest that gregariousness is also characteristic of their larger counterparts). But a creature the size of an island could hardly exist: according to experts, it would simply be torn to pieces by the slightest storm.
Meanwhile, the giant squid is still not the leader. An even larger species is considered the Antarctic giant squid, which is also called the "colossal squid". Only the eye of this giant is about 30 cm in diameter, and the weight reaches almost 500 kg. True, these terrible monsters are found at great depths - from 200 to 2 thousand meters.
Probably no other mythical monster has turned out to be so popular both in the legends and tales of very many peoples of the Earth, and in modern fantasy, as the dragon. He is a creature with the body of a reptile, sometimes in combination with body parts of other animals. Other common characteristics of a dragon are the ability to fly, the presence of multiple heads or tails, fire breath, and intelligence.
Certain difficulties arise in connection with the coincidence of the images of the dragon and the serpent. Thus, the word "serpent" has been found in Slavic texts since the 11th century (including the Bible of 1663), and the word "dragon" was borrowed from the Greek language only in the 16th century. In the King James Bible, the words "serpent", "dragon" and "devil" are completely synonymous.
It was only in the 19th century that the "serpent" was renamed into "dragon" - apparently because the latter name had already come into wide use. However, the history of the use of these words indicates that they denoted the same creature.
There is even an opinion that the prototype of the legends about dragons could have been the skeletons of dinosaurs, which were found by our distant ancestors, but, of course, could not identify them in any way.
According to other researchers, the dragon is simply a collective, uniting image of the so-called upper world (which in this case is symbolized by birds) and the lower one (snakes). The division of the world into upper (pure, spiritual, masculine) and lower (carnal, earthly, feminine) is present in the early religious beliefs of all peoples of our planet. In other words, the dragon may not have a real prototype from the animal world; it may act as a contamination of these animals, which in turn are only symbols of more internal, psychological images.
However, all other mythical monsters can be called symbols of something strong and powerful, coming from the inside, from the unconscious person (even if they have more real prototypes from the animal world). It is this symbolic, psychological component that can be called the main source of these myths, while real prototypes are secondary. No wonder legends about monsters never go out of style.