An underwater robot recently discovered a 30-foot model of the legendary lake beast that was once used in the 1970 Billy Wilder movie The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. The prop sank during filming in 1969, allegedly because its buoyant humps were removed at the behest of the director.
For nearly 50 years, the fake monster sat at the bottom of Loch Ness. It was finally recovered thanks to Norwegian surveillance company Kongsberg Maritime, which teamed up with VisitScotland and Nessie-focused research group The Loch Ness Project to survey the lake’s bottom.
The expedition, dubbed "Operation Groundtruth," used an underwater robot called Munin to map the lake's depths using sonar and camera equipment. Munin ended up capturing images that matched the measurements and shape of the Nessie model near the place it originally sank.
"We have found a monster, but not the one many people might have expected,” Adrian Shine of the Loch Ness Project told the BBC.
The robot made some other interesting finds. It detected a 27-foot-long shipwreck, and it also disproved a recent claim that the lake’s bottom had a "Nessie trench" large enough to conceal a massive monster.
Despite these new findings, Loch Ness's depths will always hold an allure, Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said in a statement. “No matter how state-of-the-art the equipment is, and no matter what it may reveal, there will always be a sense of mystery and the unknown around what really lies beneath Loch Ness."
That's good news for Scotland's bottom line: According to The New York Times, VisitScotland reports that Nessie is worth roughly $85 million to the country's economy.
Banner image courtesy of Visit Scotland.