Kiwi scientists make 'surprising' discovery while testing Loch Ness in search of monster

The lead researcher of a group of New Zealand scientists trying to track down the Loch Ness monster says they have made a "surprising" discovery.

Professor Neil Gemmell, from the University of Otago specialises in genomics, ecology and evolutionary biology. 

He and his team have been testing hundreds of water samples from three different depths of the Loch, in an attempt to capture the monster's DNA.

As well as water samples, the team has collected fur, feathers, skin, scales and even faeces left behind by other animals. The samples have been sent all over the world for analysis.

The DNA has been sequenced and compared against known species, creating a list of everything that lives in the loch.

"We've tested each one of the main monster hypotheses and three of them we can probably say aren't right, and one of them might be," Gemmell told The Scotsman.

He is expected to release the results of the research at a press conference in Scotland in July - a year after the study began.

The main theories regarding the existence of the Loch Ness monster are that it is a large sturgeon or giant catfish, or that it is a long-necked plesiosaur that survived the extinction of the dinosaurs.