Nessie's Diet of Deadly Dinoflagellates

The Loch Ness Exploration Program has uncovered an exciting new theory to explain sightings of the famous Nessie monster.

Professor Arnold Stryker (33) of the International Marine Biology and Oceanographic Diversity Research Project (on secondment to the Loch Ness Exploration Program) has located an ancient organism called Pfiesteria at 8 different points in the loch.

"I did not expect to find this creature in such concentrations - it is a revolutionary discovery."

Pfiesteria is part of a group of pre-historic organisms called dinoflagellates.

Dr. Gunter Fishlin PhD (44) said "our Loch Ness Exploration Program has been looking for evidence of unknown creatures living in Loch Ness. We now believe that, while firm evidence of a large dinosaur living beneath the waves still eludes us, we have at least established the presence of dinoflagellates.

Pfesteria is a peculiar organism. It groups together with its fellows to form large clumps of slime. This slime actually displays "ambush-predator" qualities by attacking fish. As schools of fish build up in an area Pfiesteria starts secreting toxins which overcome them. The fish die from suffocation as their nervous system collapses and their skin tissue starts to break down under the impact of the toxin.

The interesting link for Loch Ness researches investigating the possibility of a large plesiosaur living in the depths is Pfiesteria's effects on humans. Dr. Fishlin explains "many eye-witnesses have come forward with accounts of their sightings of the Loch Ness monster, some of which include references to feelings of "lost time" that thy cannot explain. The toxins given off by Pfiesteria are hallucinogenic and research elsewhere has shown that a feeling of lost time is a common side effect.

Are humans around Loch Ness at risk from "the cells from hell"? Professor Stryker doesn't think so: "as long as people are aware of its dangers and avoid parts of the loch where they see large clumps of algae-like slime, they should be safe.

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