I didn’t expect a throw-away post I made last Friday debunking an alleged image of the Loch Ness Monster to go viral, but this is the internet and these things happen. As you might expect, my inbox, social media accounts, and this website have been inundated with comments about that post, how wrong I must be, what’s really going on, and why X theory is clearly the correct one. For the record, it’s still a boat wake, but in light of the amount of attention the post received, I updated it with a bit more information about how that image could occur.
With that out of the way, here are my five favorite responses to the latest Loch Ness Monster sighting:
1. It’s a viral marketing campaign for Apple Maps. Many people rightly pointed out that the much maligned Apple Maps isn’t doing so well compared to its Google counterpart. As someone who has published papers on how to “do” social media, I can say with authority that associating your mapping software (that already has a reputation for being unreliable) with sightings of cryptic lake monsters is not a particularly good marketing plan.
2. It’s a hoax/photoshop/someone at Apple Maps is pranking us. I’m going to take the high road and apply Hanlon’s Razor here. I think it’s a stitching error in the Apple Map’s software, no malevolent intent required. I even chatted with Andrew Dixon, one of the image’s discovers, via twitter, and he seems perfectly genuine. So no, I don’t think the image is an intentional fake.
3. It’s a giant catfish. The boat is 20 meters long. The largest catfish ever caught it less than 3 meters. A catfish that big would probably be as shocking as the actual Loch Ness Monster.
4. It’s a basking shark/whale shark/great white shark. All are saltwater fishes. The whale shark is the largest fish in the sea, but even so, the largest ever recorded tips the scales at 12.65 meters. Finding a fish that big would be as exciting as finding Nessie.
5. It’s the Loch Ness Monster, pretending to be a 20-meter long boat kicking up a wake. There is literally no way I can debunk this. Good bye.