In The Water Horse (2007), a lonely boy discovers a mysterious egg that hatches a sea creature of Scottish legend. This movie stars Bruce Allpress and Geraldine Brophy
A Water Horse is a Celtic mythical creature, such as the Ceffyl Dŵr, Capaill Uisce and Kelpie, as well as other water dwelling cryptids.
The term "water horse" (also spelled as "Water Horse" and "Waterhorse") was originally a name given to the kelpie, a horse like creature similar to the hippocamp that has the head, neck and mane of a normal horse, legs like a horse, webbed feet, and a long, two-lobed, whale-like tail. However, the Water Horse term has also been used as a nickname for lake monsters, particularly Ogopogo and Nessie. The name "kelpie" itself has often been used as a nickname for many other Scottish lake monsters, such as Each uisge and Morag of Loch Morar and Lizzie of Loch Lomond. Other names for these sea monsters include "seahorse" (not referring to the seahorse fish) and "hippocampus" (which is the genus name for everyday seahorses).
The usage of "water horse" or "kelpie" can often be a source of confusion as some take the two terms to be synonymous while others distinguish the Water Horse as a denizen of lochs while the Kelpie inhabited places of turbulent water such as rivers, fords and waterfalls. A look at the literature does not readily resolve the issue as some authors call one creature of a certain place a kelpie while others call it a water horse. Others will however make the distinction outlined above. However, it is less likely that an inhabitant of rivers will be called a Water Horse which suggests the Kelpie label should be reserved for such places.
The waters are muddied that bit more by some who identify a creature as a Water Bull which others call kelpie or water horse despite the water bull universally being described as less aggressive than the other two.
The Breton King Gradlon's magical 'horse of the sea' Morvarc'h had the ability to gallop upon the waves of the sea, in a similar fashion to the waterhorses of Cornish legend.
In folklore, Water Horses (spelled as "Waterhorse" in folklore) are described as being very similar to a long-necked seal. They are described as having a small head attached to a long giraffe-like neck with an equine mane (occasionally covered in hair) and having two sets of flippers, the rear pair at the very end of the body, giving the impression of a seal-like tail. Its body length ranges from 50–60 feet and the neck is 70 feet long.][
The Water Horse has often become a basic description of other lake monsters such as the Canadian Lake Okanagan monster Ogopogo and the Lake Champlain monster Champ. The monster Mee-Shee from the 2005 direct-to-video film Mee-Shee: The Water Giant has often been compared to the Water Horse.
In The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep when Angus is looking at reptiles to find out which species Crusoe is, he has a flashback to when his father used to sit in the armchair and tell him stories as to when he grew up on the shores of Loch Morar and how there was rumoured to be "a beastie" living in there, a reference to Morag, the Loch Morar lake monster which has also been portrayed as a Water Horse.
Whilst most Scottish/Celtic folklore places Water Horses in a loch (particularly a loch that is famous for a lake monster, such as Loch Ness, Loch Morar and Loch Lomond) some Breton and Cornish tales of Water Horses place them in the ocean, making them sea monsters as well as lake monsters/loch monsters. It is generally commented that practically every Highland loch had a water horse tradition, but a study of the contemporary literature of the time (mainly 19th century) showed that only about sixty lochs and lochans merited a mention out of the thousands of bodies of water that make up Scotland. Moreover, the water horse that was reputed to inhabit Loch Ness gained the most mentions in Highland literature.
Water Horse sightings were reported regularly during the 18th century, but it was not until the 19th century that sightings were starting to get listed:
The Loch Ness Monster is a cryptid, reputedly a large unknown animal that is said to inhabit Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. It is similar to other supposed lake monsters in Scotland and elsewhere, though its description varies from one account to the next. Popular interest and belief in the animal's existence has varied since it was first brought to the world's attention in 1933. Evidence of its existence is anecdotal, with minimal and much-disputed photographic material and sonar readings.
The most common speculation among believers is that the creature represents a line of long-surviving plesiosaurs. The scientific community regards the Loch Ness Monster as a modern-day myth, and explains sightings as including misidentifications of more mundane objects, outright hoaxes, and wishful thinking. Despite this, it remains one of the most famous examples of cryptozoology. The legendary monster has been affectionately referred to by the nickname Nessie (Scottish Gaelic: ) since the 1950s.
The term "monster" was reportedly applied for the first time to the creature on 2 May 1933 by Alex Campbell, the water bailiff for Loch Ness and a part-time journalist, in a report in the Inverness Courier. On 4 August 1933, the Courier published as a full news item the assertion of a London man, George Spicer, that a few weeks earlier while motoring around the Loch, he and his wife had seen "the nearest approach to a dragon or pre-historic animal that I have ever seen in my life", trundling across the road toward the Loch carrying "an animal" in its mouth. Other letters began appearing in the Courier, often anonymously, with claims of land or water sightings, either on the writer's part or on the parts of family, acquaintances or stories they remembered being told. These stories soon reached the national (and later the international) press, which described a "monster fish", "sea serpent", or "dragon", eventually settling on "Loch Ness Monster". On 6 December 1933 the first purported photograph of the monster, taken by Hugh Gray, was published in the Daily Express, and shortly after the creature received official notice when the Secretary of State for Scotland ordered the police to prevent any attacks on it. In 1934, interest was further sparked by what is known as The Surgeon's Photograph. In the same year R. T. Gould published a book, the first of many that describe the author's personal investigation and collected record of additional reports pre-dating 1933. Other authors have claimed that sightings of the monster go as far back as the 6th century (see below).
The earliest report of a monster associated with the vicinity of Loch Ness appears in the Life of St. Columba by Adomnán, written in the 7th century. According to Adomnán, writing about a century after the events he described, the Irish monk Saint Columba was staying in the land of the Picts with his companions when he came across the locals burying a man by the River Ness. They explained that the man had been swimming the river when he was attacked by a "water beast" that had mauled him and dragged him under. They tried to rescue him in a boat, but were able only to drag up his corpse. Hearing this, Columba stunned the Picts by sending his follower Luigne moccu Min to swim across the river. The beast came after him, but Columba made the sign of the Cross and commanded: "Go no further. Do not touch the man. Go back at once." The beast immediately halted as if it had been "pulled back with ropes" and fled in terror, and both Columba's men and the pagan Picts praised God for the miracle.
The oldest manuscript relating to this story was put online in 2012. Believers in the Loch Ness Monster often point to this story, which takes place on the River Ness rather than the loch itself, as evidence for the creature's existence as early as the 6th century. However, sceptics question the narrative's reliability, noting that water-beast stories were extremely common in medieval saints' Lives; as such, Adomnán's tale is likely a recycling of a common motif attached to a local landmark. According to the sceptics, Adomnán's story may be independent of the modern Loch Ness Monster legend entirely, only becoming attached to it in retrospect by believers seeking to bolster their claims. In an article for Cryptozoology, A. C. Thomas notes that even if there were some truth to the story, it could be explained rationally as an encounter with a walrus or similar creature that had swum up the river. R. Binns acknowledges that this account is the most serious of various alleged early sightings of the monster, but argues that all other claims of monster sightings prior to 1933 are highly dubious and do not prove that there was a tradition of the monster before this date.
Modern interest in the monster was sparked by a sighting on 22 July 1933, when George Spicer and his wife saw 'a most extraordinary form of animal' cross the road in front of their car. They described the creature as having a large body (about 4 feet (1.2 m) high and 25 feet (7.6 m) long), and long, narrow neck, slightly thicker than an elephant's trunk and as long as the 10–12-foot (3–4 m) width of the road; the neck had undulations in it. They saw no limbs, possibly because of a dip in the road obscuring the animal's lower portion. It lurched across the road towards the loch 20 yards (20 m) away, leaving only a trail of broken undergrowth in its wake.
In August 1933 a motorcyclist named Arthur Grant claimed to have nearly hit the creature while approaching Abriachan on the north-eastern shore, at about 1 a.m. on a moonlit night. Grant claimed that he saw a small head attached to a long neck, and that the creature saw him and crossed the road back into the loch. A veterinary student, he described it as a hybrid between a seal and a plesiosaur. Grant said he dismounted and followed it to the loch, but only saw ripples. Some believe this story was intended as a humorous explanation of a motorcycle accident.
Sightings of the monster increased following the building of a road along the loch in early 1933, bringing both workmen and tourists to the formerly isolated area Sporadic land sightings continued until 1963, when film of the creature was shot in the loch from a distance of 4 kilometres. Because of the distance at which it was shot, it has been described as poor quality.
In 1938, Inverness Shire Chief Constable William Fraser wrote a letter stating that it was beyond doubt the monster existed. His letter expressed concern regarding a hunting party that had arrived armed with a specially-made harpoon gun and were determined to catch the monster "dead or alive". He believed his power to protect the monster from the hunters was "very doubtful". The letter was released by the National Archives of Scotland on 27 April 2010.
In May 1943, C. B. Farrel of the Royal Observer Corps was supposedly distracted from his duties by a Nessie sighting. He claimed to have been about 250 yards (230 m) away from a large-eyed, 'finned' creature, which had a 20-to-30-foot (6 to 9 m) long body, and a neck that protruded about 4–5 feet (1.2–1.5 m) out of the water.
In December 1954 a strange sonar contact was made by the fishing boat Rival III. The vessel's crew observed sonar readings of a large object keeping pace with the boat at a depth of 480 feet (146 m). It was detected travelling for half a mile (800 m) in this manner, before contact was lost, but then found again later. Many sonar attempts had been made previously, but most were either inconclusive or negative.
On 12 November 1933, Hugh Gray was walking along the loch after church when he spotted a substantial commotion in the water. A large creature rose up from the lake. Gray took several pictures of it, but only one of them showed up after they were developed. This image appeared to show a creature with a long tail and thick body at the surface of the loch. The image is blurred suggesting the animal was splashing. Four stumpy-looking objects on the bottom of the creature's body might possibly be a pair of appendages, such as flippers. Although critics have claimed that the photograph is of a dog swimming towards the camera (possibly carrying a stick), researcher Roland Watson rejects this interpretation and suggests there is an eel-like head on the right side of the image.
This picture is the first known image allegedly taken of the Loch Ness Monster.
The "Surgeon's Photograph" purported to be the first photo of a "head and neck". Dr. Wilson claimed he was looking at the loch when he saw the monster, so grabbed his camera and snapped five photos. After the film was developed, only two exposures were clear. The first photo (the more publicised one) shows what was claimed to be a small head and back. The second one, a blurry image, attracted little publicity because it was difficult to interpret what was depicted. The image was revealed as a fake in The Sunday Telegraph dated 7 December 1975. Supposedly taken by Robert Kenneth Wilson, a London gynaecologist, it was published in the Daily Mail on 21 April 1934. Wilson's refusal to have his name associated with the photograph led to it being called "Surgeon's Photograph". The strangely small ripples on the photo fit the size and circular pattern of small ripples as opposed to large waves when photographed up close. Analysis of the original uncropped image fostered further doubt. In 1993, the makers of Discovery Communications's documentary Loch Ness Discovered analysed the uncropped image and found a white object was visible in every version of the photo, implying it was on the negative. It was believed to be the cause of the ripples, as if the object was being towed, though it could not be ruled out as a blemish in the negative. Additionally, one analysis of the full photograph revealed the object was quite small, only about 60 to 90 cm (2 to 3 ft) long. However, analyses of the size of the photograph have been inconsistent.
In 1979 it was claimed to be a picture of an elephant (see below). Other sceptics in the 1980s argued the photo was that of an otter or a diving bird, but after Christian Spurling's confession most agree it was what Spurling claimed – a toy submarine with a sculpted head attached. Details of how the photo was accomplished were published in the 1999 book, Nessie – the Surgeon's Photograph Exposed, that contains a facsimile of the 1975 article in The Sunday Telegraph. Essentially, it was a toy submarine bought from F.W. Woolworths with a head and neck made of plastic wood, built by Christian Spurling, the son-in-law of Marmaduke Wetherell, a big game hunter who had been publicly ridiculed in the Daily Mail, the newspaper that employed him. Spurling claimed that to get revenge, Marmaduke Wetherell committed the hoax, with the help of Chris Spurling (a sculpture specialist), his son Ian Marmaduke, who bought the material for the fake, and Maurice Chambers (an insurance agent), who asked surgeon Robert Kenneth Wilson to offer the pictures to the Daily Mail. The hoax story is disputed by Henry Bauer, who claims this debunking is evidence of bias, and asks why the perpetrators did not reveal their plot earlier to embarrass the newspaper.
Tim Dinsdale also disputes the claim of this photograph as a hoax in his book Loch Ness Monster. He claims that he studied the photograph so often and from many different angles that he was able to discern objects that prove the photograph is not a hoax. He states "upon really close examination, there are certain rather obscure features in the picture which have a profound significance." Two of the obscure features are: a solid object breaking the surface to the right of the neck, and to the left and behind the neck there is another mark of some sort, Dinsdale states. After making this claim Dinsdale discusses that these objects are too hard to identify, but that just proves that they could be part of the monster. According to Dinsdale either the objects are part of a very subtle fake or genuinely part of the monster. Another object that he points out to prove the photograph is not a fake is the vague smaller ripples that are behind the neck, which seem to have been caused after the neck broke the surface. Dinsdale emphatically states that this is a part of the animal underwater behind the neck.
Alastair Boyd, one of the researchers who uncovered the hoax, argues that the Loch Ness Monster is real, and that although the famous photo was hoaxed, that does not mean that all the photos, eyewitness reports, and footage of the monster were as well. He asserts that he too had a sighting and also argues that the hoaxed photo is not a good reason to dismiss eyewitness reports and other evidence.
In 1938, G. E. Taylor, a South African tourist, filmed something in the loch for three minutes on 16 mm colour film, which was in the possession of Maurice Burton. Burton refused to show the film to Loch Ness investigators (such as Peter Costello or the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau). A single frame was published in his book The Elusive Monster; before he retired. Roy P. Mackal, a biologist and cryptozoologist, declared the frame was "positive evidence". Later, it was shown also to the National Institute of Oceanography, now known as the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.
In 1960, aeronautical engineer Tim Dinsdale filmed a hump crossing the water leaving a powerful wake. Dinsdale allegedly spotted the animal on his last day hunting for it, and described the object as reddish with a blotch on its side. When he mounted his camera the object started to move and said that he shot 40 feet of film. JARIC declared that the object was "probably animate". Others were sceptical, saying that the "hump" cannot be ruled out as being a boat, and claimed that when the contrast is increased a man can be seen in a boat.
In 1993 Discovery Communications made a documentary called Loch Ness Discovered that featured a digital enhancement of the Dinsdale film. A computer expert who enhanced the film noticed a shadow in the negative that was not very obvious in the positive. By enhancing and overlaying frames, he found what appeared to be the rear body of a creature underwater. He commented that "Before I saw the film, I thought the Loch Ness Monster was a load of rubbish. Having done the enhancement, I'm not so sure". Some have countered this finding by saying that the angle of the film from the horizontal along with sun's angle on that day made shadows underwater unlikely. Others pointed out that the darker water is undisturbed water that was only coincidentally shaped like body. The same source also says that there might be a smaller object (hump or head) in front of the hump causing this.
On 26 May 2007, Gordon Holmes, a 55-year-old lab technician, captured video of what he said was "this jet black thing, about 45 feet (14 m) long, moving fairly fast in the water." Adrian Shine, a marine biologist at the Loch Ness 2000 centre in Drumnadrochit, described the footage as among "the best footage [he has] ever seen." BBC Scotland broadcast the video on 29 May 2007. STV News' North Tonight aired the footage on 28 May 2007 and interviewed Holmes. In this feature, Adrian Shine of the Loch Ness Centre was also interviewed and suggested that the footage showed an otter, seal or water bird.
Holmes's credibility has been doubted by an article on the Cryptomundo website, which states that he has a history of reporting sightings of cryptozoological creatures, and sells a self-published book and DVD claiming evidence for fairies. His video also has no other objects for size comparison. The MonsterQuest team investigated this video as well in their TV episode "Death of Loch Ness", where they examine evidence that Nessie has died, as well as other photos. In this documentary, Holmes asserts he spotted two creatures. A CNN news report showed the footage and an interview with Gordon Holmes.
Joe Nickell has suggested that this footage shows one or more otters, swimming in the loch.
On 24 August 2011, Marcus Atkinson, a local Loch Ness boat skipper, photographed a sonar image of a long 5 ft wide unidentified object which was apparently following his boat for two minutes at a depth of 75 ft. Atkinson ruled out the possibility of any small fish or seal being what he believed to be the Loch Ness Monster. In April 2012, a scientist from the National Oceanography Centre said that this image is a bloom of algae and zooplankton. However, Roland Watson, a cryptozoologist and Loch Ness Monster researcher, has criticized this analysis, stating that the object in the image is very unlikely to be a bloom of algae and zooplankton, since algae needs sunlight to grow, and the waters of Loch Ness are very dark, and nearly devoid of sunlight, 75 feet down.
On 3 August 2012, skipper George Edwards published a photograph he claims to be "The most convincing Nessie photograph ever", which he claimed to have taken on 2 November 2011. Edwards' photograph consists in a hump out of the water which, according to him, remained so for five to ten minutes. The Daily Mail reports that Edward had the photograph independently verified by specialists such as a Loch Ness Monster sighting devotee and a group of US military monster experts. Edwards spends 60 hours per week on the loch aboard his boat, Nessie Hunter IV, in which he takes tourists for a ride on the lake, and claims to have searched for the Loch Ness monster for 26 years. Said Edwards, "In my opinion, it probably looks kind of like a manatee, but not a mammal. When people see three humps, they’re probably just seeing three separate monsters."
However, other researchers of the Loch Ness phenomena have questioned the authenticity of the photograph. A subsequent investigation by Loch Ness researcher, Steve Feltham, suggests that the object in the water is in fact a fibreglass hump used previously in a National Geographic documentary which Edwards had participated in. Researcher Dick Raynor has also questioned Edward's claims about finding a deeper bottom to Loch Ness, which he refers to as "Edwards Deep". He also found inconsistencies between Edwards' claims of the location and conditions of the photograph and the actual location and weather conditions of that day. Additionally, Raynor also stated that Edwards had previously told him he had faked a photograph in 1986, which he had promoted as genuine in the National Geographic documentary.
Having read the book by Gould, Edward Mountain decided to finance a proper watch. Twenty men with binoculars and cameras positioned themselves around the Loch from 9 am to 6 pm, for five weeks starting 13 July 1934. They took 21 photographs, though none was considered conclusive. Captain James Fraser was employed as a supervisor, and remained by the Loch afterwards, taking cine film (which is now lost) on 15 September 1934. When viewed by zoologists and professors of natural history it was concluded that it showed a seal, possibly a grey seal.
The Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau (LNPIB) was a UK-based society formed in 1962 by Norman Collins, R. S. R. Fitter, David James, MP, Peter Scott and Constance Whyte "to study Loch Ness to identify the creature known as the Loch Ness Monster or determine the causes of reports of it." It later shortened the name to Loch Ness Investigation Bureau (LNIB). It closed in 1972. The society had an annual subscription charge, which covered administration. Its main activity was for groups of self-funded volunteers to watch the loch from various vantage points, equipped with cine cameras with telescopic lenses. From 1965 to 1972 it had a caravan camp and main watching platform at Achnahannet, and sent observers to other locations up and down the loch. According to the 1969 Annual Report of the Bureau, it had 1,030 members, of whom 588 were from the UK.
Professor D. Gordon Tucker, chairman of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Birmingham, England, volunteered his services as a sonar developer and expert at Loch Ness in 1968. The gesture was part of a larger effort helmed by the LNPIB from 1967 to 1968 and involved collaboration between volunteers and professionals in various fields. Tucker had chosen Loch Ness as the test site for a prototype sonar transducer with a maximum range of 800 m (2,600 ft). The device was fixed underwater at Temple Pier in Urquhart Bay and directed towards the opposite shore, effectively drawing an acoustic 'net' across the width of Ness through which no moving object could pass undetected. During the two-week trial in August, multiple animate targets 6 m (20 ft) in length were identified ascending from and diving to the loch bottom. Analysis of diving profiles ruled out air-breathers because the targets never surfaced or moved shallower than midwater. A brief press release by LNPIB and associates touched on the sonar data and drew to a close the 1968 effort:][
In 1969 Andrew Carroll, field researcher for the New York Aquarium in New York City, proposed a mobile sonar scan operation at Loch Ness. The project was funded by the Griffis foundation (named for Nixon Griffis, then a director of the aquarium). This was the tail-end (and most successful portion) of the LNPIB's 1969 effort involving submersibles with biopsy harpoons. The trawling scan, in Carroll's research launch Rangitea, took place in October. One sweep of the loch made contact with a strong, animate echo for nearly three minutes just north of Foyers. The identity of the contact remains a mystery. Later analysis determined that the intensity of the returning echo was twice as great as that expected from a 10-foot (3 m) pilot whale. On returning to the University of Chicago, biologist Roy Mackal and colleagues subjected the sonar data to greater scrutiny and confirmed dimensions of 20 feet (6 m).][
Earlier submersible work had yielded dismal results. Under the sponsorship of World Book Encyclopedia, pilot Dan Taylor deployed the Viperfish at Loch Ness on 1 June 1969. His dives were plagued by technical problems and produced no new data. The Deep Star III built by General Dynamics and an unnamed two-man submersible built by Westinghouse were scheduled to sail but never did. It was only when the Pisces arrived at Ness that the LNPIB obtained new data. Owned by Vickers, Ltd., the submersible had been rented out to produce The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, a film featuring a dummy Loch Ness Monster. When the dummy monster broke loose from the Pisces during filming and sank to the bottom of the loch, Vickers executives capitalised on the loss and 'monster fever' by allowing the sub to do a bit of exploring. During one of these excursions, the Pisces picked up a large moving object on sonar 200 feet (60 m) ahead and 50 feet (15 m) above the bottom of the loch. Slowly the pilot closed to half that distance but the echo moved rapidly out of sonar range and disappeared.][
During the so-called "Big Expedition" of 1970, Roy Mackal, a biologist who taught for 20 years at the University of Chicago, devised a system of hydrophones (underwater microphones) and deployed them at intervals throughout the loch. In early August a hydrophone assembly was lowered into Urquhart Bay and anchored in 700 feet (210 m) of water. Two hydrophones were secured at depths of 300 and 600 feet (180 m). After two nights of recording, the tape (sealed inside a 44 gallon drum along with the system's other sensitive components) was retrieved and played before an excited LNPIB. "Bird-like chirps" had been recorded, and the intensity of the chirps on the deep hydrophone suggested they had been produced at greater depth. In October "knocks" and "clicks" were recorded by another hydrophone in Urquhart Bay, indicative of echolocation. These sounds were followed by a "turbulent swishing" suggestive of the tail locomotion of a large aquatic animal. The knocks, clicks and resultant swishing were believed were the sounds of an animal echo-locating prey before moving in for the kill. The noises stopped whenever craft passed along the surface of the loch near the hydrophone, and resumed once the craft reached a safe distance. In previous experiments, it was observed that call intensities were greatest at depths less than 100 feet (30 m). Members of the LNPIB decided to attempt communication with the animals producing the calls by playing back previously recorded calls into the water and listening via hydrophone for results, which varied greatly. At times the calling patterns or intensities changed, but sometimes there was no change at all. Mackal noted that there was no similarity between the recordings and the hundreds of known sounds produced by aquatic animals.][
In the early 1970s, a group of people led by Robert H. Rines obtained some underwater photographs. Two were rather vague images, perhaps of a rhomboid flipper (though others have dismissed the image as air bubbles or a fish fin). The alleged flipper was photographed in different positions, indicating movement. On the basis of these photographs, British naturalist Peter Scott announced in 1975 that the scientific name of the monster would henceforth be Nessiteras rhombopteryx (Greek for "The Ness monster with diamond-shaped fin"). Scott intended that this would enable Nessie to be added to a British register of officially protected wildlife. Scottish politician Nicholas Fairbairn pointed out that the name was an anagram for "Monster hoax by Sir Peter S".
The underwater photos were reportedly obtained by painstakingly examining the loch depths with sonar for unusual underwater activity. Rines knew the water was murky and filled with floating wood and peat, so he took precautions to avoid it. A submersible camera with an affixed, high-powered flood light was deployed to record images below the surface. If he detected anything on the sonar, he would turn the lights on and take some pictures. Several of the photographs, despite their obviously murky quality, did indeed seem to show an animal resembling a plesiosaur in various positions and lightings. One photograph appeared to show the head, neck and upper torso of a plesiosaur-like animal. After two distinct sonar contacts were made, the strobe light camera photographed two large lumps in the water, suggesting there to be two large animals living in the loch. Another photo seemed to depict a horned "gargoyle head", consistent to that of several sightings of the monster. Sceptics point out that several years later, a log was filmed underwater which bore a striking resemblance to the gargoyle head.][
A few close-ups of what might be the creature's diamond-shaped fin were taken, with the "fin" in different positions, as though the creature was moving, but after some time it came to be known that the "flipper photograph" was highly enhanced and retouched compared with the original image. The Museum of Hoaxes shows the original unenhanced photo. Team member Charles Wyckoff claimed that someone retouched the photo to superimpose the flipper, and that the original enhancement showed a much smaller flipper. No one is sure how the original came to be altered.
On 8 August 1972, Rines' Raytheon DE-725C sonar unit, operating at a frequency of 200 kHz and anchored at a depth of 35 feet (11 m), identified a moving target (or targets) estimated by echo strength to be 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 m) in length. Specialists from Raytheon, Simrad (now Kongsberg Maritime), and Hydroacoustics, Inc.; Marty Klein of MIT and Klein Associates (a producer of side scan sonar); and Dr. Ira Dyer of MIT's Department of Ocean Engineering were all on hand to examine the data. Further, P. Skitzki of Raytheon suggested that the data showed a protuberance, 10 feet (3 m) in length, projecting from one of the echoes. Mackal proposed that the shape was a "highly flexible laterally flattened tail" or the misinterpreted return from two animals swimming together.
In 2001, the Robert Rines' Academy of Applied Science videoed a powerful V-shaped wake traversing the still water on a calm day. The AAS also videotaped an object on the floor of the loch resembling a carcass, found marine clam-shells and a fungus-like organism not normally found in fresh water lochs, which they suggest gives some connection to the sea and a possible entry for Nessie.
In 2008, Rines theorised that the monster may have become extinct, citing the lack of significant sonar readings and a decline in eyewitness accounts. Rines undertook one last expedition to look for remains of the monster, using sonar and underwater camera in an attempt to find a carcass. Rines believed that the animals may have failed to adapt to temperature changes as a result of global warming.
In 1987, Operation Deepscan took place. Twenty-four boats equipped with echosounder equipment were deployed across the whole width of the loch and they simultaneously sent out acoustic waves. BBC News reported that the scientists had made sonar contact with a large unidentified object of unusual size and strength. The researchers decided to return to the same spot and re-scan the area. After analysing the echosounder images, it seemed to point to debris at the bottom of the loch, although three of the pictures were of moving debris. Shine speculates that they could be seals that got into the loch, since they would be of about the same magnitude as the objects detected.
Darrell Lowrance, sonar expert and founder of Lowrance Electronics, donated a number of echosounder units used during Operation Deepscan. After examining the echogram data, specifically a sonar return revealing a large moving object near Urquhart Bay at a depth of 600 feet (180 m), Lowrance said: "There's something here that we don't understand, and there's something here that's larger than a fish, maybe some species that hasn't been detected before. I don't know."
In 1993 Discovery Communications began to research the ecology of the loch. The study did not focus entirely on the monster, but on the loch's nematodes (of which a new species was discovered) and fish. Expecting to find a small fish population, the researchers caught twenty fish in one catch, increasing previous estimates of the loch's fish population about ninefold.
Using sonar, the team encountered a kind of underwater disturbance (called a seiche) due to stored energy (such as from a wind) causing an imbalance between the loch's warmer and colder layers (known as the thermocline). While reviewing printouts of the event the next day, they found what appeared to be three sonar contacts, each followed by a powerful wake. These events were later shown on a program called Loch Ness Discovered, in conjunction with analyses and enhancements of the 1960 Dinsdale Film, the Surgeon's Photo, and the Rines Flipper Photo.][
In 2003, the BBC sponsored a full search of the Loch using 600 separate sonar beams and satellite tracking. The search had enough resolution to pick up a small buoy. No animal of any substantial size was found whatsoever and despite high hopes, the scientists involved in the expedition admitted that this essentially proved the Loch Ness monster was only a myth.
A variety of explanations have been postulated over the years to account for sightings of the Loch Ness Monster. These may be categorised as: misidentifications of common animals; misidentifications of inanimate objects or effects; reinterpretations of traditional Scottish folklore; hoaxes; and exotic species of large animals.
There are wake sightings that occur when the loch is dead calm with no boat nearby. A bartender named David Munro claims to have witnessed a wake he believed was a creature zigzagging, diving, and reappearing. (There were 26 other witnesses from a nearby car park.) Some sightings describe the onset of a V-shaped wake, as if there were something underwater. Moreover, many wake sightings describe something not conforming to the shape of a boat. Under dead calm conditions, a creature too small to be visible to the naked eye can leave a clear v-shaped wake. In particular, a group of swimming birds can give a wake and the appearance of an object. A group of birds can leave the water and then land again, giving a sequence of wakes like an object breaking the surface, which Dick Raynor says is a possible explanation for his film.
A giant eel was one of the first suggestions made. Eels are found in Loch Ness, and an unusually large eel would fit many sightings. This has been described as a conservative explanation. Eels are not known to protrude swanlike from the water and thus would not account for the head and neck sightings. Dinsdale dismissed the proposal because eels move in a side-to-side undulation.
On 2 May 2001, two conger eels were found on the shore of the loch; as conger eels are saltwater animals and Loch Ness is freshwater, it is believed that they were put there to be seen as "Mini-Nessies".
In a 1979 article, California biologist Dennis Power and geographer Donald Johnson claimed that the Surgeon's Photograph was in fact the top of the head, extended trunk and flared nostrils of a swimming elephant, probably photographed elsewhere and claimed to be from Loch Ness. In 2006, palaeontologist and artist Neil Clark similarly suggested that travelling circuses might have allowed elephants to refresh themselves in the loch and that the trunk could therefore be the head and neck, with the elephant's head and back providing the humps. In support of this he provided a painting.
When viewed through a telescope or binoculars with no outside reference, it is difficult to judge the size of an object in the water. Loch Ness has resident otters and pictures of them are given by Binns, which could be misinterpreted. Likewise he gives pictures of deer swimming in Loch Ness, and birds that could be taken as a "head and neck" sighting.
A number of photographs and a video have confirmed the presence of seals in the loch, for up to months at a time. In 1934 the Sir Edward Mountain expedition analysed film taken the same year and concluded that the monster was a species of seal, which was reported in a national newspaper as "Loch Ness Riddle Solved – Official". A long-necked seal was advocated by Peter Costello for Nessie and for other reputed lake-monsters. R.T. Gould wrote "A grey seal has a long and surprisingly extensible neck; it swims with a paddling action; its colour fits the bill; and there is nothing surprising in its being seen on the shore of the loch, or crossing a road." This explanation would cover sightings of lake-monsters on land, during which the creature supposedly waddled into the loch upon being startled, in the manner of seals. Seals could also account for sonar traces that act as animate objects. Against this, it has been argued that all known species of pinnipeds are usually visible on land during daylight hours to sunbathe, something that Nessie is not known to do. However seals have been observed and photographed in Loch Ness and the sightings are sufficiently infrequent to allow for occasional visiting animals rather than a permanent colony.
In 1933 the Daily Mirror showed a picture with the following caption 'This queerly-shaped tree-trunk, washed ashore at Foyers may, it is thought, be responsible for the reported appearance of a "Monster"'. (Foyers is on Loch Ness.)
In a 1982 series of articles for New Scientist, Dr Maurice Burton proposed that sightings of Nessie and similar creatures could actually be fermenting logs of Scots Pine rising to the surface of the loch's cold waters. Initially, a rotting log could not release gases caused by decay, because of high levels of resin sealing in the gas. Eventually, the gas pressure would rupture a resin seal at one end of the log, propelling it through the water—and sometimes to the surface. Burton claimed that the shape of tree logs with their attendant branch stumps closely resemble various descriptions of the monster.
Four Scottish lochs are very deep, including Morar, Ness and Lomond. Only the lochs with pinewoods on their shores have monster legends; Loch Lomond—with no pinewoods—does not. Gaseous emissions and surfactants resulting from the decay of the logs can cause the foamy wake reported in some sightings. Indeed, beached pine logs showing evidence of deep-water fermentation have been found. On the other hand, there are believers who assert that some lakes do have reports of monsters, despite an absence of pinewoods; a notable example would be the Irish lough monsters.
Loch Ness, because of its long, straight shape, is subject to some unusual ripples affecting its surface. A seiche is a large, regular oscillation of a lake, caused by a water reverting to its natural level after being blown to one end of the lake. The impetus from this reversion continues to the lake's windward end and then reverts. In Loch Ness, the process occurs every 31.5 minutes.
Boat wakes can also produce strange effects in the loch. As a wake spreads and divides from a boat passing the centre of the loch, it hits both sides almost simultaneously and deflects back to meet again in the middle. The movements interact to produce standing waves that are much larger than the original wake, and can have a humped appearance. By the time this occurs, the boat has passed and the unusual waves are all that can be seen.
Wind conditions can give a slightly choppy and thus matte appearance to the water, with occasional calm patches appearing as dark ovals (reflecting the mountains) from the shore, which can appear as humps to visitors unfamiliar with the loch. In 1979, Lehn showed that atmospheric refraction could distort the shape and size of objects and animals, and later showed a photograph of a rock mirage on Lake Winnipeg that looked like a head and neck.
The Italian geologist Luigi Piccardi has proposed geological explanations for some ancient legends and myths. He pointed out that in the earliest recorded sighting of a creature, the Life of St. Columba, the creature's emergence was accompanied "cum ingenti fremitu" (with very loud roaring). The Loch Ness is located along the Great Glen Fault, and this could be a description of an earthquake. Furthermore, in many sightings, the report consists of nothing more than a large disturbance on the surface of the water. This could be caused by a release of gas from through the fault, although it could easily be mistaken for a large animal swimming just below the surface.
Binns concludes that it would be unwise to put forward a single explanation of the monster, and probably a wide range of natural phenomena have been mistaken for the monster at times: otters, swimming deer, unusual waves. However, he adds that this also touches on some issues of human psychology, and the ability of the eye to see what it wants to see.
According to the Swedish naturalist and author Bengt Sjögren (1980), present day beliefs in lake monsters such as the Loch Ness Monster are associated with the old legends of kelpies. He claims that the accounts of loch monsters have changed over the ages, originally describing creatures with a horse-like appearance; they claimed that the "kelpie" would come out of the lake and turn into a horse. When a tired traveller would get on the back of the kelpie, it would gallop into the loch and devour its prey. This myth successfully kept children away from the loch, as was its purpose. Sjögren concludes that the kelpie legends have developed into current descriptions of lake-monsters, reflecting modern awareness of plesiosaurs. In other words, the kelpie of folklore has been transformed into a more realistic and contemporary notion of the creature. Believers counter that long-dead witnesses could only compare the creature to that with which they were familiar, and they were not familiar with plesiosaurs.
Specific mention of the kelpie as a water horse in Loch Ness was given in a Scottish newspaper in 1879, and was commemorated in the title of a book Project Water Horse by Tim Dinsdale.
A study of the Highland folklore literature prior to 1933 with specific references to Kelpies, Water Horses and Water Bulls suggested that Loch Ness was the most mentioned loch by a large margin.
The Loch Ness monster phenomenon has seen several attempts to hoax the public, some of which were very successful. Other hoaxes were revealed rather quickly by the perpetrators or exposed after diligent research. A few examples are mentioned below.
In August 1933, Italian journalist Francesco Gasparini submitted what he claimed was the first news article on the Loch Ness monster. In 1959, he confessed to taking a sighting of a "strange fish" and expanding on it by fabricating eye witness accounts. "I had the inspiration to get hold of the item about the strange fish. The idea of the monster had never dawned on me, but then I noted that the strange fish would not yield a long article, and I decided to promote the imaginary being to the rank of monster without further ado."
In the 1930s, a big-game hunter named Marmaduke Wetherell went to Loch Ness to look for the Loch Ness Monster. He claimed to have found footprints, but when casts of the footprints were sent to scientists for analysis, they turned out to be from a hippopotamus. A prankster had used a hippopotamus-foot umbrella stand to make the footprints.
In 1972 a team of zoologists from Yorkshire's Flamingo Park Zoo had gone in search of the legendary monster and discovered a large body floating in the water. The corpse was 16–18 feet long and weighed up to 1.5 tonnes, described by the Press Association as having "a bear's head and a brown scaly body with clawlike fins." The creature was put in a van to be taken away for testing, whereupon police chased them down and took the cadaver under an act of parliament that prohibits the removal of "unidentified creatures" from Loch Ness. But it was later revealed that Flamingo Park's education officer John Shields had shaved the whiskers and otherwise disfigured a bull elephant seal that had died the week before and dumped it in Loch Ness to dupe his colleagues.
On 2 July 2003, Gerald McSorely found a fossil supposedly belonging to Nessie when he tripped and fell into the loch. After examination, it became clear that the fossil was not from Loch Ness and had been planted there.
In 2004, a documentary team for television channel Five, using special effects experts from movies, tried to make people believe there was something in the loch. They constructed an animatronic model of a plesiosaur, and dubbed it "Lucy". Despite setbacks, such as Lucy falling to the bottom of the loch, about 600 sightings were reported in the places they conducted the hoaxes.
In 2005, two students claimed to have found a huge tooth embedded in the body of a deer on the loch shore. They publicised the find widely, even setting up a website, but expert analysis soon revealed that the "tooth" was the antler of a muntjac. The Loch Ness tooth was a publicity stunt to promote a horror novel by Steve Alten titled The Loch.
In 2007, a video purported to show Nessie jumping high into the air showed up on YouTube. This was revealed by the online amateur sceptic's community eSkeptic to be a viral ad promoting the then-upcoming Sony Pictures film The Water Horse. The release of the film confirmed the eSkeptic analysis: the viral video comprises footage from The Water Horse.
In 1933 the suggestion was made that the monster "bears a striking resemblance to the supposedly extinct plesiosaur", a long-necked aquatic reptile that went extinct during the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. At the time this was a popular explanation. The following arguments have been put against it:
In response to these criticisms, proponents such as Tim Dinsdale, Peter Scott and Roy Mackal postulate a trapped marine creature that evolved either from a plesiosaur or to the shape of a plesiosaur by convergent evolution. Robert Rines also explained that the "horns" described in some sightings may be breathing tubes or nostrils that allow the animal to breathe without breaking the surface.
R. T. Gould suggested something like a long-necked newt and Roy Mackal discussed this possibility, giving it the highest score (88%) in his list of possible candidates.
In 1968 Frank Holiday proposed that Nessie and other lake-monsters such as Morag could be explained by a giant invertebrate such as a bristleworm, and cited the extinct Tullimonstrum as an example of the shape. He says this provides an explanation for land sightings and for the variable back shape, and relates it to the medieval description of dragons as "worms". Mackal considered this, but found it less convincing than eel, amphibian or plesiosaur types of animal.
In the 1930s, the Dutch zoologist Antoon Cornelis Oudemans first proposed that the Loch Ness Monster could possibly be an unknown form of long-necked Pinniped (semi-aquatic mammals including seals). In 1892, Oudemans had come to the conclusion that several sightings of Sea serpents were probably huge, plesiosaur-like pinnipeds. He came up with a hypothetical new species of long-necked pinniped, to which he gave the scientific name of Megophias megophias. He theorized that the Loch Ness cryptid was simply a freshwater version of his own Megophias megophias. In 2003, cryptozoologists Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe discussed the pinniped hypothesis, and found it to be the most likely candidate for the Loch Ness Monster.
A sea serpent or sea dragon is a type of sea monster either wholly or partly serpentine.
Sightings of sea serpents have been reported for hundreds of years, and continue to be claimed today. Cryptozoologist Bruce Champagne identified more than 1,200 purported sea serpent sightings. It is currently believed that the sightings can be best explained as known animals such as oarfish, whales, or sharks (in particular, the frilled shark). Some cryptozoologists have suggested that the sea serpents are relict plesiosaurs, mosasaurs or other Mesozoic marine reptiles, an idea often associated with lake monsters such as the Loch Ness Monster.
In Norse mythology, Jörmungandr, or "Midgarðsormr" was a sea serpent so long that it encircled the entire world, Midgard. Some stories report of sailors mistaking its back for a chain of islands. Sea serpents also appear frequently in later Scandinavian folklore, particularly in that of Norway.
In 1028 AD, Saint Olaf is said to have killed a sea serpent in Valldal, Norway, throwing its body onto the mountain Syltefjellet. Marks on the mountain are associated with the legend  . In Swedish ecclesiastic and writer Olaus Magnus's Carta marina, many marine monsters of varied form, including an immense sea serpent, appear. Moreover, in his 1555 work History of the Northern Peoples, Magnus gives the following description of a Norwegian sea serpent:
Those who sail up along the coast of Norway to trade or to fish, all tell the remarkable story of how a serpent of fearsome size, 200 feet long and 20 feet wide, resides in rifts and caves outside Bergen. On bright summer nights this serpent leaves the caves to eat calves, lambs and pigs, or it fares out to the sea and feeds on sea nettles, crabs and similar marine animals. It has ell-long hair hanging from its neck, sharp black scales and flaming red eyes. It attacks vessels, grabs and swallows people, as it lifts itself up like a column from the water.
Sea serpents were known to seafaring cultures in the Mediterranean and Near East, appearing in both mythology (the Babylonian Labbu) and in apparent eye-witness accounts (Aristotle's Historia Animalium). In the Aeneid, a pair of sea serpents killed Laocoön and his sons when Laocoön argued against bringing the Trojan Horse into Troy.
The Bible refers to Leviathan and Rahab, from the Hebrew Tanakh, although 'great creatures of the sea' (NIV) are also mentioned in Book of Genesis 1:21. In the Book of Amos 9:3 speaks of a serpent to bite the people who try to hide in the sea from God.
Hans Egede, the national saint of Greenland, gives an 18th-century descriptions of a sea serpent. On 6 July 1734 his ship sailed past the coast of Greenland when suddenly those on board
"saw a most terrible creature, resembling nothing they saw before. The monster lifted its head so high that it seemed to be higher than the crow's nest on the mainmast. The head was small and the body short and wrinkled. The unknown creature was using giant fins which propelled it through the water. Later the sailors saw its tail as well. The monster was longer than our whole ship", wrote Egede. (Mareš, 1997)
Sea serpent sightings on the coast of New England, are documented beginning in 1638. An incident in August 1817 spawned a rather silly mix-up when a committee of the New England Linnaean Society went so far as to give a deformed terrestrial snake the name Scoliophis atlanticus, believing it was the juvenile form of a sea serpent that had recently been reported in Gloucester Harbor. The Gloucester Harbor serpent was claimed to have been seen by hundreds of New England residents, including the crews of four whaling boats that reportedly sought out the serpent in the harbor. Rife with political undertones, the serpent was known in the harbor region as "Embargo." Sworn statements made before a local Justice of the Peace and first published in 1818 were never recanted. After the Linnaean Society's misidentification was discovered, it was frequently cited by debunkers as evidence that the creature did not exist.
A particularly famous sea serpent sighting was made by the men and officers of DaedalusHMS in August 1848 during a voyage to Saint Helena in the South Atlantic; the creature they saw, some 60 feet (18 m) long, held a peculiar maned head above the water. The sighting caused quite a stir in the London papers, and Sir Richard Owen, the famous English biologist, proclaimed the beast an elephant seal. Other explanations for the sighting proposed that it was actually an upside-down canoe, or a posing giant squid.
Another sighting took place in 1905 off the coast of Brazil. The crew of the Valhalla and two naturalists, Michael J. Nicoll and E. G. B. Meade-Waldo, saw a long-necked, turtle headed creature, with a large dorsal fin. Based on its dorsal fin and the shape of its head, some (such as Bernard Heuvelmans) have suggested that the animal was some sort of marine mammal. A skeptical suggestion is that the sighting was of a posing giant squid, but this is hard to accept given that squids do not swim with their fins or arms protruding from the water.
On April 25, 1977, the Japanese trawler Zuiyo Maru, sailing east of Christchurch, New Zealand, caught a strange, unknown creature in the trawl. Photographs and tissue specimens were taken. While initially identified as a prehistoric plesiosaur, analysis later indicated that the body was the carcass of a basking shark.
Skeptics and debunkers have questioned the interpretation of sea serpent sightings, suggesting that reports of serpents are misidentifications of things such as cetaceans (whales and dolphins), sea snakes, eels, basking sharks, baleen whales, oarfish, large pinnipeds, seaweed, driftwood, flocks of birds, and giant squid.
While most cryptozoologists recognize that at least some reports are simple misidentifications, they claim that many of the creatures described by those who have seen them look nothing like the known species put forward by skeptics and claim that certain reports stick out. For their part, the skeptics remain unconvinced, pointing out that even in the absence of outright hoaxes, imagination has a way of twisting and inflating the slightly out-of-the-ordinary until it becomes extraordinary.
A recent posting on the Centre of Fortean Zoology blog by Cryptozoologist Dale Drinnon notes his check of the categories in Heuvelmans' In The Wake of the Sea-Serpents, in which he extracted the mistaken observation categories as a control to check the Sea-serpent categories by using the reports he created identikits for the mistaken observations and enlarged them to possibly 126 of Heuvelmans' sightings, making the mistaken observations the largest section of Heuvelmans' reports. His identikits include oarfish, basking sharks, toothed whales, baleen whales, lines of large whales for the largest Sea-serpent "hump" sightings and trains of smaller cetaceans for the "Many-finned,elephant seals and manta rays. Each of these categories was given a percentage of the whole body of reports, ranging between 1% and 5% with the whales at an average 2.5%, figures which he considers comparable to the regular Sea-serpent categories of Super-eel and Marine Saurian (each of which he breaks into a larger and a smaller sized series following Heuvelmans' suggestion in In the Wake of the Sea-Serpents) Drinnon has also published in the 2010 CFZ yearbook in which he modifies Coleman's categories (below), adding a possible Giant otter category to the Giant Beavers and modifying several others, bringing the total to 17 categories to broaden the coverage. The broadened coverage allows more instances of conventional fishes such as sturgeons and catfishes, left off Coleman's list. In a separate and earlier CFZ blog, Drinnon reviewed Bruce Champagne's sea-serpent categories and identified several of them as known animals, and several whales in particular Drinnon basically recognises the Longneck, Marine Saurian and Super-eel categories in this blog as well, with the modification that the Marine Saurian as spoken of by Champagne is more likely a large crocodile akin to C. porosis and that there has been a suggestion that an eel-like animal is involved in certain "Many-finned" observations. The whale categories he identifies are: BC 2A-Possible Odobenocetops, BC2B, Atlantic gray whale or Scrag Whale, BC 4B, as being similar to an unidentified large-finned beaked whale otherwise reported in the Pacific, and BC 5, the large Father-of-All-the-Turtles, as a humpback whale turned turtle.
Cryptozoologists have argued for the existence of sea serpents by claiming that people report seeing similar things, and further arguing that it is possible to classify sightings into different "types". There have been different classification attempts with different results, although they share some common characteristics.
In zoology, an egg is an organic vessel in which an embryo first begins to develop. In most birds, reptiles, insects, molluscs, fish, and monotremes, an egg (Latin, ovum) is the zygote, resulting from fertilization of the ovum, which is expelled from the body and permitted to develop outside the body until the developing embryo can survive on its own. The term "egg" is used differently outside the animal kingdom, for an egg cell (sometimes called an ovum). Reproductive structures similar to the egg in other kingdoms are termed spores, or (in spermatophytes) seeds.
Oviparous animals are animals that lay eggs, with little or no other development within the mother. The study or collecting of eggs, particularly bird eggs, is called oology.
Reptile eggs, bird eggs, and monotreme eggs, which are laid out of water, are surrounded by a protective shell, either flexible or inflexible. The special membranes that support these eggs are traits of all amniotes, including mammals.
Eggs laid on land or in nests are usually kept within a favourable temperature range (warm) while the embryo grows. When the embryo is adequately developed it breaks out of the egg's shell. This breaking out is known as hatching. Baby animals which have just hatched are hatchlings, though standard names for babies of particular species continue to apply, such as chick for a baby chicken. Some embryos have a temporary egg tooth with which to crack, pip, or break the eggshell or covering.
The 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) ostrich egg is the largest egg currently known, though the extinct Aepyornis and some dinosaurs had larger eggs. The Bee Hummingbird produces the smallest known bird egg, which weighs half of a gram. The eggs laid by some reptiles and most fish can be even smaller, and those of insects and other invertebrates can be much smaller still.
Several major groups of animals typically have readily distinguishable eggs.
Bird eggs are laid by females and incubated for a time that varies according to the species; a single young hatches from each egg. Average clutch sizes range from one (as in condors) to about 17 (the Grey Partridge). Some birds lay eggs even when not fertilized (e.g. hens); it is not uncommon for pet owners to find their lone bird nesting on a clutch of unfertilized eggs, which are sometimes called wind-eggs.
The default color of vertebrate eggs is the white of the calcium carbonate from which the shells are made, but some birds, mainly passerines, produce colored eggs. The pigments biliverdin and its zinc chelate give a green or blue ground color, and protoporphyrin produces reds and browns as a ground color or as spotting.
Non-passerines typically have white eggs, except in some ground-nesting groups such as the Charadriiformes, sandgrouse and nightjars, where camouflage is necessary, and some parasitic cuckoos which have to match the passerine host's egg. Most passerines, in contrast, lay colored eggs, even if there is no need of cryptic colors.
However some have suggested that the protoporphyrin markings on passerine eggs actually act to reduce brittleness by acting as a solid state lubricant. If there is insufficient calcium available in the local soil, the egg shell may be thin, especially in a circle around the broad end. Protoporphyrin speckling compensates for this, and increases inversely to the amount of calcium in the soil.
For the same reason, later eggs in a clutch are more spotted than early ones as the female's store of calcium is depleted.
The color of individual eggs is also genetically influenced, and appears to be inherited through the mother only, suggesting that the gene responsible for pigmentation is on the sex determining W chromosome (female birds are WZ, males ZZ).
It used to be thought that color was applied to the shell immediately before laying, but this research shows that coloration is an integral part of the development of the shell, with the same protein responsible for depositing calcium carbonate, or protoporphyrins when there is a lack of that mineral.
In species such as the Common Guillemot, which nest in large groups,each female's eggs have very different markings, making it easier for females to identify their own eggs on the crowded cliff ledges on which they breed.
Bird eggshells are diverse. For example:
Tiny pores in bird eggshells allow the embryo to breathe. The domestic hen's egg has around 7500 pores.
Most bird eggs have an oval shape, with one end rounded (the aerus) and the other more pointed (the taglion). This shape results from the egg being forced through the oviduct. Muscles contract the oviduct behind the egg, pushing it forward. The egg's wall is still shapeable, and the pointy end develops at the back. Cliff-nesting birds often have highly conical eggs. They are less likely to roll off, tending instead to roll around in a tight circle; this trait is likely to have arisen due to evolution via natural selection. In contrast, many hole-nesting birds have nearly spherical eggs.
Many animals feed on eggs. For example, principal predators of the Black Oystercatcher's eggs include raccoons, skunks, mink, river and sea otters, gulls, crows and foxes. The stoat (Mustela erminea) and long-tailed weasel (M. frenata) steal ducks' eggs. Snakes of the genera Dasypeltis and Elachistodon specialize in eating eggs.
Brood parasitism occurs in birds when one species lays its eggs in the nest of another. In some cases, the host's eggs are removed or eaten by the female, or expelled by her chick. Brood parasites include the cowbirds and many Old World cuckoos.
An average Whooping Crane egg is 102 mm (4.0 in) long and weighs 208 g (7.3 oz)
Eurasian oystercatcher eggs camouflaged in the nest
Egg of a Senegal Parrot, a bird that nests in tree holes, on a 1 cm (0.39 in) grid
Eggs of ostrich, emu, kiwi and chicken
Finch egg next to American dime
Eggs of duck, goose, guineafowl and chicken
Eggs of ostrich, cassowary, chicken, flamingo, pigeon and blackbird
Egg of an emu
The most common reproductive strategy for fish is known as oviparity, in which the female lays undeveloped eggs that are externally fertilized by a male. Typically large numbers of eggs are laid at one time (an adult female cod can produce 4–6 million eggs in one spawning) and the eggs are then left to develop without parental care. When the larvae hatch from the egg, they often carry the remains of the yolk in a yolk sac which continues to nourish the larvae for a few days as they learn how to swim. Once the yolk is consumed, there is a critical point after which they must learn how to hunt and feed or they will die.
A few fish, notably the rays and most sharks use ovoviviparity in which the eggs are fertilized and develop internally. However the larvae still grow inside the egg consuming the egg's yolk and without any direct nourishment from the mother. The mother then gives birth to relatively mature young. In certain instances, the physically most developed offspring will devour its smaller siblings for further nutrition while still within the mother's body. This is known as intrauterine cannibalism.
In certain rare scenarios, some fish such as the hammerhead shark and reef shark are viviparous, with the egg being fertilized and developed internally, but with the mother also providing direct nourishment.
The eggs of fish and amphibians are jellylike. Cartilagenous fish (sharks, skates, rays, chimaeras) eggs are fertilized internally and exhibit a wide variety of both internal and external embryonic development. Most fish species spawn eggs that are fertilized externally, typically with the male inseminating the eggs after the female lays them. These eggs do not have a shell and would dry out in the air. Even air-breathing amphibians lay their eggs in water, or in protective foam as with the Coast foam-nest treefrog, Chiromantis xerampelina.
The eggs of the egg-laying mammals (the platypus and the spiny anteaters) are macrolecithal eggs very much like those of reptiles. The eggs of marsupials are likewise macrolecithal, but rather small, and develop inside the body of the female, but do not form a placenta. The young are born at a very early stage, and can be classified as a "larva" in the biological sense. In placental mammals, the egg itself is void of yolk, but develops an umbilical cord from structures that in reptiles would form the yolk sac. Receiving nutrients from the mother, the fetus completes the development while inside the uterus.
Eggs are common among invertebrates, including insects, spiders, mollusks, and crustaceans.
All sexually reproducing life, including both plants and animals, produces gametes. The male gamete cell, sperm, is usually motile whereas the female gamete cell, the ovum, is generally larger and sessile. The male and female gametes combine to produce the zygote cell. In multicellular organisms the zygote subsequently divides in an organised manner into smaller more specialised cells, so that this new individual develops into an embryo. In most animals the embryo is the sessile initial stage of the individual life cycle, and is followed by the emergence (that is, the hatching) of a motile stage. The zygote, the sessile organic vessel containing the developing embryo, or even the ova itself may be called the egg.
Like amphibians, amniotes are air-breathing vertebrates, but they have complex eggs or embryos, including an amniotic membrane. Amniotes include reptiles (including dinosaurs and their descendants, birds) and mammals.
Reptile eggs are often rubbery and are always initially white. They are able to survive in the air. Often the sex of the developing embryo is determined by the temperature of the surroundings, with cooler temperatures favouring males. Not all reptiles lay eggs; some are viviparous ("live birth").
Dinosaurs laid eggs, some of which have been preserved as petrified fossils.
Among mammals, early extinct species laid eggs, as do platypuses and echidnas (spiny anteaters). Platypuses and two genera of echidna are Australian monotremes. Marsupial and placental mammals do not lay eggs, but their unborn young do have the complex tissues that identify amniotes.
Scientists often classify animal reproduction by degree of development that occurs before the new individuals are expelled from the adult body, and eggs by the degree of yolk they include.
Vertebrate eggs can be classified by the relative amount of yolk. Simple eggs with little yolk are called microlecithal, medium sized eggs with some yolk are called mesolecithal, and large eggs with a large concentrated yolk are called macrolecithal. This classification of eggs is based on the eggs of chordates, though the basic principle extends to the whole animal kingdom.
Small eggs with little yolk are called microlecithal. The yolk is evenly distributed, so the cleavage of the egg cell cuts through and divides the egg into cells of fairly similar sizes. In sponges and cnidarians the dividing eggs develop directly into a simple larva, rather like a morula with cilia. In cnidarians, this stage is called the planula, and either develops directly into the adult animals or forms new adult individuals through a process of budding.
Microlecithal eggs require minimal yolk mass. Such eggs are found in flatworms, roundworms, annelids, bivalves, echinoderms, the lancelet and in most marine arthropods. In anatomically simple animals, such as cnidarians and flatworms, the fetal development can be quite short, and even microlecithal eggs can undergo direct development. These small eggs can be produced in large numbers. In animals with high egg mortality, microlecithal eggs are the norm, as in bivalves and marine arthropods. However, the latter are more complex anatomically than e.g. flatworms, and the small microlecithal eggs do not allow full development. Instead, the eggs hatch into larvae, which may be markedly different from the adult animal.
In placental mammals, where the egg is nourished from the mother throughout the whole fetal period, the egg is reduced in size to essentially a naked egg cell (zygote).
Mesolecithal eggs have comparatively more yolk than the microlecithal eggs. The yolk is concentrated in one part of the egg (the vegetal pole), with the cell nucleus and most of the cytoplasm in the other (the animal pole). The cell cleavage is uneven, and mainly concentrated in the cytoplasma-rich animal pole.
The larger yolk content of the mesolecithal eggs allows for a longer fetal development. Comparatively anatomically simple animals will be able to go through the full development and leave the egg in a form reminiscent of the adult animal. This is the situation found in hagfish and some snails. Animals with smaller size eggs or more advanced anatomy will still have a distinct larval stage, though the larva will be basically similar to the adult animal, as in lampreys, coelacanth and the salamanders.
Eggs with a large yolk are called macrolecithal. The eggs are usually few in number, and the embryo have enough food to go through a full fetal development in most groups. Really macrolecithal eggs are only found in selected representatives from two groups: Cephalopods and vertebrates.
Macrolecithal eggs go through a different type of development than other eggs. Due to the large size of the yolk, the cell division can not split up the yolk mass. The fetus instead develops as a plate-like structure on top of the yolk mass, and only envelope it at a later stage. A portion of the yolk mass is still present as an external or semi-external yolk sac at hatching in many groups. This form of fetal development is common in bony fish, even though their eggs can be quite small. Despite their macrolecithal structure, the small size of the eggs do not allow for direct development, and the eggs hatches to a larval stage ("fry"). In terrestrial animals with macrolecithal eggs, the large volume to surface ratio necessitate structures to aid in transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide, and for storage of waste products so that the embryo do not suffocate or get poisoned from its own waste while inside the egg, see amniote.
In addition to bony fish and cephalopods, macrolecital eggs are found in cartilaginous fish, reptiles, birds and monotreme mammals. The eggs of the coelacanths can reach a size of 9 cm in diameter, and the young go through full development while in the uterus, living off the copious yolk.
Animals are commonly classified by their manner of reproduction, at the most general level distinguishing egg-laying (Latin. oviparous) from live-bearing (Latin. viviparous).
These classifications are divided into more detail according to the development that occurs before the offspring are expelled from the adult's body. Traditionally:
Eggs laid by many different species, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, have probably been eaten by mankind for millennia. Popular choices for egg consumption are chicken, duck, roe, and caviar, but by a wide margin the egg most often humanly consumed is the chicken egg, typically unfertilized.
According to the Kashrut, that is the set of Jewish dietary laws, kosher food may be consumed according to halakha (Jewish law). Kosher meat and milk (or derivatives) cannot be mixed (Deuteronomy 14:21) or stored together. Eggs are considered pareve (neither meat nor dairy) despite being an animal product and can be mixed with either milk or kosher meat. Mayonnaise, for instance, is usually marked "pareve" despite by definition containing egg.
Many vaccines for infectious diseases are produced in fertile chicken eggs. The basis of this technology was the discovery in 1931 by Alice Miles Woodruff and Ernest William Goodpasture at Vanderbilt University that the rickettsia and viruses that cause a variety of diseases will grow in chicken embryos. This enabled the development of vaccines against influenza, chicken pox, smallpox, yellow fever, typhus, Rocky mountain spotted fever and other diseases.
A baby tortoise emerges from its egg.
Insect eggs, in this case those of the Emperor Gum Moth, are often laid on the underside of leaves.
Fish eggs, such as these herring eggs are often transparent and fertilized after laying.
Skates and some sharks have a uniquely shaped egg case called a mermaid's purse.
The bunyip, or kianpraty, is a large mythical creature from Aboriginal mythology, said to lurk in swamps, billabongs, creeks, riverbeds, and waterholes. The origin of the word bunyip has been traced to the Wemba-Wemba or Wergaia language of Aboriginal people of South-Eastern Australia. However, the bunyip appears to have formed part of traditional Aboriginal beliefs and stories throughout Australia, although its name varied according to tribal nomenclature. In his 2001 book, writer Robert Holden identified at least nine regional variations for the creature known as the bunyip across Aboriginal Australia. Various written accounts of bunyips were made by Europeans in the early and mid-19th century, as settlement spread across the country.
The word bunyip is usually translated by Aboriginal Australians today as "devil" or "evil spirit". However, this translation may not accurately represent the role of the bunyip in Aboriginal mythology or its possible origins before written accounts were made. Some modern sources allude to a linguistic connection between the bunyip and Bunjil, "a mythic 'Great Man' who made the mountains and rivers and man and all the animals." The word bunyip may not have appeared in print in English until the mid-1840s.
By the 1850s, bunyip had also become a "synonym for impostor, pretender, humbug and the like" in the broader Australian community. The term bunyip aristocracy was first coined in 1853 to describe Australians aspiring to be aristocrats. In the early 1990s, it was famously used by Prime Minister Paul Keating to describe members of the conservative Liberal Party of Australia opposition.
The word bunyip can still be found in a number of Australian contexts, including place names such as the Bunyip River (which flows into Westernport Bay in southern Victoria) and the town of Bunyip, Victoria.
Descriptions of bunyips vary widely. George French Angus may have collected a description of a bunyip in his account of a "water spirit" from the Moorundi people of the Murray River before 1847, stating it is "much dreaded by them… It inhabits the Murray; but…they have some difficulty describing it. Its most usual form…is said to be that of an enormous starfish." Robert Brough Smyth's Aborigines of Victoria of 1878 devoted ten pages to the bunyip, but concluded "in truth little is known among the blacks respecting its form, covering or habits; they appear to have been in such dread of it as to have been unable to take note of its characteristics." However, common features in many 19th-century newspaper accounts include a dog-like face, dark fur, a horse-like tail, flippers, and walrus-like tusks or horns or a duck-like bill.
The Challicum bunyip, an outline image of a bunyip carved by Aborigines into the bank of Fiery Creek, near Ararat, Victoria, was first recorded by The Australasian newspaper in 1851. According to the report, the bunyip had been speared after killing an Aboriginal man. Antiquarian Reynell Johns claimed that until the mid-1850s, Aboriginal people made a "habit of visiting the place annually and retracing the outlines of the figure [of the bunyip] which is about 11 paces long and 4 paces in extreme breadth."
Non-Aboriginal Australians have made various attempts to understand and explain the origins of the bunyip as a physical entity over the past 150 years.
Writing in 1933, Charles Fenner suggested that it was likely that the "actual origin of the bunyip myth lies in the fact that from time to time seals have made their way up the ... Murray and Darling (Rivers)". He provided examples of seals found as far inland as Overland Corner, Loxton, and Conargo and reminded readers that "the smooth fur, prominent 'apricot' eyes and the bellowing cry are characteristic of the seal."
Another suggestion is that the bunyip may be a cultural memory of extinct Australian marsupials such as the Diprotodon or Palorchestes. This connection was first formally made by Dr George Bennett of the Australian Museum in 1871, but in the early 1990s, palaeontologist Pat Vickers-Rich and geologist Neil Archbold also cautiously suggested that Aboriginal legends "perhaps had stemmed from an acquaintance with prehistoric bones or even living prehistoric animals themselves ... When confronted with the remains of some of the now extinct Australian marsupials, Aborigines would often identify them as the bunyip."
Another connection to the bunyip is the shy Australasian bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus). During the breeding season, the male call of this marsh-dwelling bird is a "low pitched boom"; hence, it is occasionally called the "bunyip bird".
During the early settlement of Australia by Europeans, the notion that the bunyip was an actual unknown animal that awaited discovery became common. Early European settlers, unfamiliar with the sights and sounds of the island continent's peculiar fauna, regarded the bunyip as one more strange Australian animal and sometimes attributed unfamiliar animal calls or cries to it. It has also been suggested that 19th-century bunyip lore was reinforced by imported European memories, such as that of the Irish Púca.
A large number of bunyip sightings occurred during the 1840s and 1850s, particularly in the southeastern colonies of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia, as European settlers extended their reach. The following is not an exhaustive list of accounts:
One of the earliest accounts relating to a large unknown freshwater animal was in 1818, when Hamilton Hume and James Meehan found some large bones at Lake Bathurst in New South Wales. They did not call the animal a bunyip, but described the remains indicating the creature as very much like a hippopotamus or manatee. The Philosophical Society of Australasia later offered to reimburse Hume for any costs incurred in recovering a specimen of the unknown animal, but for various reasons, Hume did not return to the lake.
More significant was the discovery of fossilised bones of "some quadruped much larger than the ox or buffalo" in the Wellington Caves in mid-1830 by bushman George Rankin and later by Thomas Mitchell. Sydney's Reverend John Dunmore Lang announced the find as "convincing proof of the deluge". However, it was British anatomist Sir Richard Owen who identified the fossils as the gigantic marsupials Nototherium and Diprotodon. At the same time, some settlers observed "all natives throughout these... districts have a tradition (of) a very large animal having at one time existed in the large creeks and rivers and by many it is said that such animals now exist."
In July 1845, The Geelong Advertiser announced the discovery of fossils found near Geelong, under the headline "Wonderful Discovery of a new Animal". The newspaper continued, "On the bone being shown to an intelligent black (sic), he at once recognised it as belonging to the bunyip, which he declared he had seen. On being requested to make a drawing of it, he did so without hesitation." The account noted a story of an Aboriginal woman being killed by a bunyip and the "most direct evidence of all" – that of a man named Mumbowran "who showed several deep wounds on his breast made by the claws of the animal". The account provided this description of the creature:
Shortly after this account appeared, it was repeated in other Australian newspapers. However, it appears to be the first use of the word bunyip in a written publication.
In January 1846, a peculiar skull was taken from the banks of Murrumbidgee River near Balranald, New South Wales. Initial reports suggested that it was the skull of something unknown to science. The squatter who found it remarked, "all the natives to whom it was shown called [it] a bunyip". By July 1847, several experts had identified the skull as the deformed foetal skull of a foal or calf. At the same time, however, the so-called bunyip skull was put on display in the Australian Museum (Sydney) for two days. Visitors flocked to see it, and The Sydney Morning Herald said that it prompted many people to speak out about their "bunyip sightings".
Another early written account is attributed to escaped convict William Buckley in his 1852 biography of thirty years living with the Wathaurong people. His 1852 account records "in... Lake Moodewarri [now Lake Modewarre] as well as in most of the others inland...is a...very extraordinary amphibious animal, which the natives call Bunyip." Buckley's account suggests he saw such a creature on several occasions. He adds, "I could never see any part, except the back, which appeared to be covered with feathers of a dusky grey colour. It seemed to be about the size of a full grown calf... I could never learn from any of the natives that they had seen either the head or tail." Buckley also claimed the creature was common in the Barwon River and cites an example he heard of an Aboriginal woman being killed by one. He emphasized the bunyip was believed to have supernatural powers.
The word bunyip has been used in other Australian contexts, including The Bunyip newspaper as the banner of a local weekly newspaper published in the town of Gawler, South Australia. First published as a pamphlet by the Gawler Humbug Society in 1863, the name was chosen because "the Bunyip is the true type of Australian Humbug!" The word is also used in numerous other Australian contexts, including the House of the Gentle Bunyip in Clifton Hill, Victoria. There is also a coin-operated bunyip at Murray Bridge, South Australia, at Sturt Reserve on the town's riverfront.
Numerous tales of the bunyip in written literature appeared in the 19th and early 20th centuries. These included a story in Andrew Lang's The Brown Fairy Book (1904). The Bunyip of Berkeley's Creek is a contemporary Australian children's picture book about a bunyip.
Alexander Bunyip, created by children's author and illustrator Michael Salmon, first appeared in print in The Monster That Ate Canberra in 1972, Alexander Bunyip went on to appear in many other books and a live-action television series, Alexander Bunyip's Billabong. A statue of Alexander is planned for the Gungahlin Library.
Bunyips appear in Naomi Novik's fantasy novel Tongues of Serpents., and in the short story Bunyip's Gift in Mind's Eye by Jackie French. It also makes an appearance as the primary threat to the treasure seekers in the Bengali novel called Chander Pahar by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay.
In the early 1950s, Bertie the Bunyip was a popular character on Channel 3 in Philadelphia.
The 1977 film Dot and the Kangaroo contains a song "The Bunyip (Bunyip Moon)".
The is also a familiar in the MMORPG RuneScape. As a reference to its origins, it speaks with a thick Australian accent.
A character named Bruce Bunyip appears in the book The Neddiad by Daniel Pinkwater. He is initially described as "big and swarthy, and had tiny eyes, a scowl and his eyebrows grew together." Later, the character wails that his mother "says my father is a monster and I'm a monster too."
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (known on-screen as simply The Water Horse) is a 2007 American-British family fantasy drama film directed by Jay Russell. The screenplay was written by Robert Nelson Jacobs, it is an adaptation of Dick King-Smith's children's novel The Water Horse. It stars Alex Etel as a young boy who discovers a mysterious egg and cares for what hatches out of it: a "Water Horse" (loosely based on the Celtic water horse) which later becomes the fabled Loch Ness Monster. The film also stars Emily Watson, Ben Chaplin, and David Morrissey.
The film was produced by Revolution Studios and Walden Media, in collaboration with Beacon Pictures, and was distributed by Columbia Pictures. Visual effects, which included the computer-generated imagery of the water horse (named "Crusoe" by Etel's character) were completed by the New Zealand-based companies Weta Digital and Weta Workshop—visual effects companies who worked with Walden Media before on the productions of filmsThe Chronicles of Narnia. The Water Horse was released in the United States on December 25, 2007 and in the United Kingdom on February 8, 2008.
In present-day Scotland, an American tourist couple go into a bar where they meet an old man who tells them a story about the Loch Ness Monster.
In 1942 Scotland a boy called Angus MacMorrow lives in a large manor house on the shores of Loch Ness with his mother Anne (housekeeper), his sister, a cook, a maid and an old game keeper. Later they are joined by Lewis Mowbray, who comes to work as a handyman in the manor. Angus' father—a sailor in the Royal Navy—is missing since his ship has been sunk in the war. However, Angus is unable to accept that he may be dead.
One day, while looking for seashells in the tidepools (in the movie the loch is saltwater), he discovers what appears to be a large mysterious egg. He leaves it in his father's shed and returns later to check on it. An unknown creature hatches from it whom he calls 'Crusoe' after Robinson Crusoe, that becomes the fabled Loch Ness Monster. Angus keeps the creature a secret, but eventually tells his sister and (reluctantly) Lewis about it. Lewis explains to Angus that it is a "Water Horse" and that it could be a boy or a girl, that it lays one egg, then dies before it can see it hatch. The next day troops of the 12th Medium Regiment Royal Artillery arrive at the house. They are commanded by Captain Thomas Hamilton a friend of Lord Killin, the owner of the house who is serving with the Royal Air Force. An artillery battery is set up near the lake as defence against possible attacking or hiding German U-boats and the troops set up camp on the grounds of the house. An anti-submarine net is also raised at the mouth of the lake to prevent the entrance of German U-boats into the lake. Meanwhile, Crusoe grows so fast that hiding him becomes impossible and eventually Angus has no other option but to allow Lewis to take it to the lake.
Captain Hamilton persuades Angus' mother to allow him to teach Angus some discipline and make a soldier out of him. She agrees but after a few days Angus escapes and returns to the lake where he left his friend. Crusoe lets Angus ride on its back. After some time, it begins to dive underwater, coming to the surface from time to time for breathing. Angus, having aquaphobia, loudly protests that it should stop diving, but later enjoys himself, perhaps even overcoming his phobia for the sea. The peaceful setting doesn't last long; Crusoe suffers from shell shock after almost getting shot by "Victoria" (a cannon; originally meant to stop submarines) aimed at the lake during a firing demonstration. Angus interrupts the demonstration to save Crusoe from getting killed. This upsets Hamilton and Angus' mother, who sends him to his room for a month as punishment for causing the disruption.
Two people who previously saw Crusoe while fishing on the lake attempt to take a photo of it in order to become rich. When they realize that they won't be able to photograph the real thing due to the bombardment test, they decide to create an imitation, which results in the real-life faked picture of The Loch Ness Monster, also known as "The Surgeon's Photo".
The photo, however fake, piques the interest of a few soldiers who venture out on the lake at night to kill it. The surprise attack proves futile for the soldiers, as Crusoe easily capsizes their boat. Angus attempts to calm Crusoe down and wades into the lake where he loses his footing and sinks. Crusoe comes to Angus' rescue and saves his life. After much coaxing from Angus, Crusoe decides to leave the loch for shelter and safety. However, guns from the nearby Artillery battery open fire upon Crusoe, mistaking it for a German U-Boat. Crusoe attempts to jump over the anti-submarine net but instead crushes it with its weight and escapes from the lake also causes all their guns to blow up again. It is implied that Angus finally accepts that his father may never return home while he sees Crusoe's departure from afar, along with Lewis and his family. (The story ends with the fact that, while several people claim to have seen Crusoe over the years, Angus never saw it again and yet never doubts that it was real.)
After the story was told (it is revealed that the story teller is Angus himself), a mother calls out to her son, who is walking down the beach and spots a rock. The rock looks similar to the egg that the water horse, or 'Nessie' as known in modern times, had hatched from. The last thing that is heard in the film is a crack from the egg, hinting to the viewers that Crusoe has died, but not before leaving a descendant behind to be the next Nessie.
Director Jay Russell first read Dick King-Smith's book years before the film was actually made. "With the technology where it was at the time and the cost of that technology, we couldn't get it made then," said Russell. "Technology needed to catch up. It did, and it allowed us to do things I envisioned without it costing $300 million."
Filming took place in 2006 in New Zealand, Scotland and at Miramar Studios in Wellington. Most of the film was shot in New Zealand, with Queenstown's Lake Wakatipu doubling for a Scottish Loch. The filmmakers found that some of the landscape and geography there was similar to Scotland. However Russell said, "There was no way I was going to make a movie about the Loch Ness monster and not shoot at least part of it in Scotland."
The scenes in and around the MacMorrow family's house were shot on the 100-year-old Ardkinglas Estate on the shores of Loch Fyne in Scotland. The owners of the estate continued to live in the house while the crew was filming there.
Visual effects on the film were handled by New Zealand visual effects specialists Weta Digital and Weta Workshop who mainly did Crusoe. Most of the roughly 600 effects shots in the film involved Crusoe. And many of those shots involved the creature (Crusoe) interacting with water, which, in terms of the history of computer graphics, has always been a particularly difficult substance to deal with. In terms of the design of the creature, Weta Digital tried to not humanize him but instead based some of his expressions on real animals such as a dog. "We wanted to create something which seemed familiar, but was unique at the same time," said Russell. "As a result, Crusoe’s face is a combination of a horse, a dog, an eagle and a giraffe." When creating his movements and body shape at various stages of growth, the animators referenced animals ranging from baby birds to seals to whales.
The score was composed by James Newton Howard. Sinéad O'Connor contributed to the soundtrack with "Back Where You Belong".
The Water Horse was formerly scheduled for two different release dates in North America: September 21, 2007 and December 7, 2007. No reason has been given as to why either date was dropped, but the film was released across 2,772 screens in the United States, Canada and Mexico on Christmas day of 2007. The MPAA rated the film PG for some action and peril, mild language and brief smoking.
Many release dates ranging from January 2008 to April 2008 were set for worldwide audiences, including France (February 8), the United Kingdom (February 13), Russia (March 6) and India (April 4).
A promotional poster for the film, featuring silhouettes of Etel's character and Crusoe on the loch, was seen as early as June 2006 during the New York Licensing Show alongside promotional art for the Disney Fairies and Kung Fu Panda. Another poster that features Etel's character with Crusoe on the loch during the daytime was released in October 2007.
Two teaser trailers were released in quick succession in June 2007. The first was a teaser created specifically for the Rock Ness Music Festival on June 9 and 10, but was leaked onto the internet and later pulled. A different trailer was released to Yahoo.com on 22 June 2007 and became the official teaser.
Internet promotion includes several different official different websites in the English (with individual websites for the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia), Spanish, French and Russian languages. They were launched by Sony in early November 2007 and feature photos, video clips, a video blog, games and information on the film's plot and production. Another website was created by the film's production companies, asecretthisbig.com, and is dedicated to the examination of the Loch Ness Monster's existence in reality. Additionally, the film has a YouTube account which features the video blogs from the official website, as well as additional video content.
Two sweepstakes were created for The Water Horse. The first, "See It To Believe It," awarded the winner with a family trip to the Aquarium of the Pacific. The second, "Unloch the Legend" awarded the winner with a family trip to Scotland.
A 15-meter "water screen" was used to project a moving image, with sound, of the Water Horse in Tokyo Bay.
The film received generally positive reviews from critics. As of December 26, 2007, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 73 percent of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 56 reviews, classifying the film as "Certified Fresh", reaching the consensus that "The Water Horse is a fine family film. It takes a classic tale and infuses it with extra imagination, sly humor, heart, and inventive special effects." Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 73 out of 100, based on 16 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Pete Hammond of Maxim magazine gave the film 4 stars out of 5, saying "It's not only the perfect holiday movie, but perhaps the most wondrous film of its kind since E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial touched down." Hammond said the character Angus is "expertly played by Alex Etel," said the film was "skillfully directed by Jay Russell", and said the special effects were "stunning" and "rival the year's best." Roger Ebert awarded the film three and a half stars out of four, complimenting the film's "real story about complex people" and the "first rate supporting performances" of Emily Watson, Ben Chaplin and Brian Cox.
The film does take some liberties with Scottish geography:
The film also has some chronological inconsistencies:
The film was a moderate box office success and grossed about $9 million during its opening weekend. As of October 2010, the film has grossed a total of $103,071,443 worldwide due to gaining about $40.4 million in the United States and about $62.1 million in foreign countries, according to the website Box Office Mojo.
The DVD was released on April 8, 2008, selling 646,841 units in the opening weekend for a total of $12,678,084. As of 2012, 1,611,757 units had been sold for a total of $30,598,707.
Legend of Dinosaurs and Monster Birds (1977) is a Japanese science fiction film, released by Toei Company.
The year is 1977. A woman wanders barefoot in the lush Aokigahara (青木ヶ原), also known as the Sea of Trees (樹海 Jukai) region of Mt. Fuji, and suddenly falls into an underground cavern. When she comes to her senses, she discovers that she is in an icy cave full of large eggs. To her horror, one of the eggs begins hatching, revealing a large yellow eye within. She goes into hysterics, runs for her life, and is eventually discovered by a construction crew. Though she goes into a coma, the girl apparently managed to babble about what she saw to a reporter.
Her story airs on a televised news report that is seen by Takashi Ashizawa, an employee of the Universal Stone Company. Upon hearing of the report of a fossilized egg, Takashi skips his plane trip to Mexico and heads to his office. He packs his gear, leaves his boss in the lurch, and heads off to Mt. Fuji to get a look-see at the fossilized dinosaur egg. When he arrives at the small village bordering Fuji's Saiko Lake, Takashi immediately heads into the heavily forested Jukai. A sudden earthquake appears and is knocked out. He later awakens in his father's old cabin near Saiko Lake, and discovers that he was rescued by Shohei Muku, an old friend of the family.
As the two converse, we learn that Takashi is intent on discovering, and making a profit from, any and all fossils he finds. Shohei isn't too big on that idea and refuses to help Takashi seek out the motherload of stone eggs. (Essentially, Shohei believes that looking for fossils to make a profit is inherently wrong, and he wants no part of it.) Takashi decides to get back to fossil-hunting and heads toward the Jukai once again. As he's cruising through the nearby village, he sees Akiko and Junko, and slams on his brakes. Moments later, he's having a tender moment with Akiko in her Winnebago and it seems like Mr. Ashizawa is about to get a little action. The mood is quickly ruined however, by a randomly placed box full of slimy eels.
Other bizarre things start happening around the Saiko Lake community. A young couple in a paddle boat disappear without a trace, an injured diver is pulled from the lake, and livestock begin to mysteriously vanish. Takashi begins developing a theory that perhaps a dinosaur is alive and well in Saiko lake. His theory gains a little more momentum after he rescues Junko on a foggy afternoon. While chasing her dog Kuma down a dirt road, ends up taking a dip in a big puddle of blood with a headless horse-corpse lying nearby.
She begins to scream for help and wouldn't you know it, Takashi just happened to be in the neighborhood. He brings Junko back to Akiko's RV, and waits with the two girls until nightfall. Eventually two local schmucks happen by and tell the confused trio that they must have imagined the headless horse. Takashi is baffled by this and decides to go see for himself. He finds the exact spot and begins probing around with a flashlight. Takashi doesn't see the horse anywhere, but he does discover some strange tracks in the mud and photographs them. His photo shoot is instantly interrupted after some blood drips onto the back of his neck. He quickly points his flashlight up and is shocked to see that the headless horse's remains are lodged in the branches above.
The following day, Takashi sits in his father's cabin and develops a possible theory as to what type of creature could bite off a horse's head, and then place the equine's remains in a tree for safe-keeping. He decides that the creature must be a living Plesiosaurus and shares his minimal proof and hypothesis with a very skeptical Shohei. In the meantime, the annual Dragon Festival is being held at Saiko Lake with the highlight being a country folk band performing on a floating stage. As the band strikes up a cheerful tune, the crowd begins clapping along. Everyone is so preoccupied with the band, that they all fail to notice the huge shadow moving beneath the water towards the stage.
The Plesiosaurus rams the stage, causing it to break apart, and several band members tumble into the water. The confusion gets the attention of Takashi and Shohei, so they hightail it to the Dragon Festival to see what all the hoopla is about. Its right at this time that Jiro and his buddies make their move. Jiro hops into a boat and points to the center of the lake, exclaiming that a monster is heading towards shore. Everyone begins to panic and rush back to dry land, except for Akiko and Junko. They hop into a small boat and begin photographing the lopsided fin that is slowly moving through the water. Using her zoom lens, Akiko discovers that two men are pushing the fin through the water.
Once the crowd realizes that the fin is just a lousy stunt, they all get back into clapping mode. Seeing that his prank has failed, Jiro rushes off to meet his two pals, Susumu and Hiroshi. He arrives at the rendezvous spot in time to see his two buddies swimming to shore with the fake fin. They take a short break, ditch the fake fin, then hop into a small raft and paddle towards Jiro. Susumu and Hiroshi make it about halfway before they are large tail rises out of the water and knocks them out of the raft, and both men are pulled underwater. A horrified Jiro watches, from the relative safety of dry land, as a dinosaurian head rises from the crimson water with one of his pals sticking out of its jaws.
Jiro rushes into town, charges into the mayor's office, and begins rambling about what he just saw. Everyone thinks he is making it up and they all try to ignore him and/or chase him off. Luckily for Jiro, a foreign news correspondent named Harold Tucker shows up. Mr. Tucker has photographed the monster in Saiko Lake, and assures the mayor that "Nessie is in Lake Sai! This is super big news!"
Elsewhere in the Saiko Lake area, the Plesiosaur heads to a summer camp. The creature peeks in on a woman getting dressed, then smashes its face through the roof to snack on her. Then the Plesiosaurus manages to get back into the lake, in time to feast upon Junko. As the plesiosaur actually seems to be toying with its victim. It plucks her off her raft and dangles her over the water before releasing her. After Junko plummets into the lake, she tries to swim to safety, but she soon finds that there is no escape from her prehistoric attacker.
Akoko comes back up on the raft but she is at first perplexed as to why Junko is missing, but she soon has a good laugh when she sees a hand grasping for aid at the far end of the raft. Thinking that Junko merely fell in, Akiko grabs her friend's hand, and with a great heave, slings the Junko's upper torso into the rubber craft. Junko's death finally gets the ball rolling, and soon a local chapter of the JSDF is combing Saiko Lake with the latest sonar and radar technology. The search continues for three days, and surprisingly, no dinosaur is discovered. The search is called off, and a conference is held.
It is at this conference, we also learn that Takashi's dad, Bunkichi, had a theory that if dinosaurs were ever to walk the earth again, that would mean a cataclysmic event was about to occur. To prove this point, a scientist that monitors earthquakes in the region claims that something very big is on the horizon: the eruption of Mt. Fuji! The following day, Takashi decides to go looking for the Plesiosaur. To make sure Akiko doesn't follow, he attempts to empty the air out of her scuba tanks.
When Akiko tries to stop Takashi, he slaps her around a bit, then makes a strange confession. He is not seeking out the dinosaur for money, or to finally prove his father's crazy theories, but to see it and "burn the memory into his mind forever." Apparently this is a good enough reason to risk his life, so Akiko sees Takashi off on his scuba run with no further complaints. But wouldn't you know it, the local officials have decided to drop depth charges into the lake to see if they can scare the lake's unwelcome denizen up to the surface. Akiko rushes back to her RV and puts on her scuba gear, then heads back to the lake in time to save her shell shocked lover. But instead of heading back to the safety of shore, the adventurous duo continue the search for the Plesiosaurus.
They eventually discover an underwater cavern and decide to venture inside after a disembodied head floats by. Takashi and Akiko swim on through and find that the cave leads to the egg chamber from the beginning of the film. While this would seem like the find of a lifetime, Takashi's excitement is marred by the discovery of Shohei Muku's mutilated remains. And how did Shohei meet such a messy end? Well an unnamed gentleman with a random theory that a Rhamphorhyncus could also come out of suspended animation, hired Shohei as a guide. They ventured into the cave, and were quickly mauled by a gigantic claw that burst out of an egg.
The winged terror descends from the skies above Saiko Lake and dive-bombs civil defense soldiers and helpless civilians that are crowded around a large stockpile of depth charges. The Rhamphorhyncus causes a bit of collateral damage before being shot at by the panic-stricken soldiers below. The assault on the scurrying humans ends after one unlucky soldier fires his weapon into a depth charge. The resulting explosion causes a chain reaction and everyone around the explosive barrels is reduced to ash.
The Rhamphorhyncus flies off in search for more prey. Elsewhere on Mt. Fuji, Takashi and Akiko have exited the accursed ice cavern and run into the Plesiosaur. They retreat back into the cave and put a row of stalactites between themselves and the drooling maw of the Plesiosaurus. All seems lost until a strange sound outside of the cave distracts the hungry Plesiosaur. As the long-necked beast pulls its head out of the cave entrance, Akiko and Takashi attempt to escape, only to find themselves trapped between two warring monsters. Just then, Mt Fuji begins to erupt. As the Monsters battle, they are thrown into a chasm where they apparently die. The movie ends with Takashi reaching out for Akiko's hand while she's hanging on to a tree during the lava flow.
Despite its title, neither of the creatures in this film are actually classified as dinosaurs. The Plesiosaur is actually classified as a marine reptile, while the rhamphornycus is classified as a flying reptile.
Bruce Allpress (born August 25, 1930) is a New Zealand actor. He has been in many television dramas and also presenting on television and radio productions. In the mid-1980s, he was a regular on The Billy T. James Show, as well as featuring alongside Tommy Lee Jones in the pirate adventure film Nate and Hayes. His most known role is Aldor, archer of Rohan that shot the first uruk-hai from their army in the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (known on-screen as simply The Water Horse) is a 2007 American-British family fantasy drama film directed by Jay Russell. The screenplay, written by Robert Nelson Jacobs, is an adaptation of Dick King-Smith's children's novel The Water Horse. It stars Alex Etel as a young boy who discovers a mysterious egg and cares for what hatches out of it: a "Water Horse" (loosely based on the Celtic water horse) which later becomes the fabled Loch Ness Monster. The film also stars Emily Watson, Ben Chaplin, and David Morrissey.
The film was produced by Revolution Studios and Walden Media, in collaboration with Beacon Pictures, and was distributed by Columbia Pictures. Visual effects, which included the computer-generated imagery of the water horse (named "Crusoe" by Etel's character) were completed by the New Zealand-based companies Weta Digital and Weta Workshop—visual effects companies who worked with Walden Media before on the productions of filmsThe Chronicles of Narnia. The Water Horse was released in the United States on December 25, 2007 and in the United Kingdom on February 8, 2008.
A Water Horse is a mythical creature, such as the Ceffyl Dŵr, Capaill Uisce, the Bäckahästen and Kelpie, as well as other water dwelling cryptids.