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Home >> Sci-Edu
UPDATED: 17:51, August 18, 2005
Chinese experts: no such things as "lake monsters"
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Rumor about "monstrous beast in lake" is the topic of much discussion among many people. Whether it is in Loch Ness, or in Tianchi of Changbaishan Mountain and in Kenas Lake, the "mystical appearance" of these "animals" each time will invariably draw the attention of natural lovers. However, scientists say with certainty that there simply can't be so-called "lake monster" in the world.

"Monsters" emerge in the Kanas Lake
Chen Yifeng, professor with the hydrobios institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences who is currently participating in the China-Russia comprehensive scientific survey in Lake Baikal, said that according to the descriptions in the rumor, the "lake monsters" refer to large mammals in the lake region, which are unknown to humankind. In reality, some mammals do live in many rivers and lakes, the famed ones include flag dolphins and black finless porpoises in the Yangtze River and ringed seals in Russia's Lake Baikal. But speaking in relevance to the land, this type of animals in freshwater system is very scarce.

Reports say, mammals originally live in ocean or the land, after entering lakes, have gradually adapted to the environment and have so far multiplied as a new species, they need a fairly long process. Scientists have conducted a lot of research on the evolution of these animals, and have formed a unified viewpoint.

Comparatively speaking, the "monstrous beasts" as claimed by rumor are partly hidden and partly visible, and are of uncertain whereabouts. Based on this, a judgment can be made that "visible" "monstrous beasts" in some places are very limited in number. According to biological knowledge, animals that have not yet formed population in relatively independent environment absolutely cannot be multiplied.

Prof. Chen Yifeng said that within the same region, the bigger the size of animals, the higher the demand they set on the living environment. Large mammals in lakes are at the top level of a pyramid of the food chain, and need large quantity of fish, shrimps and other food. At present, human beings' research on hydrobios has generally reached a very high level, the scientists have left their footmarks almost in all main lakes of the globe, and have mastered the basic characteristics of hydrobios, including the food chain of local living things.

In the eyes of ordinary natural lovers, "lake monsters" as rumored have a mysterious color. But as far as scientists are concerned, there is nothing worth studying. As a matter of fact, in a fairly long period of time from now on, human beings have not really discovered any large mammals unknown in the past.

This expert who has visited many lakes and conducted on-the-spot investigation on hyrobios, emphasized that the area of Kenas Lake in China's Xinjiang and Tianchi on top of Changhbaishan Mountain is relatively small and the time is short after their formation, so objective conditions are totally not available for the existence and multiplication of the so-called "monstrous beasts".

Lake Baikal which is being jointly surveyed by Chinese and Russian scientists is the deepest lake in the world, its area ranks eighth in the world's lakes, formed 20-25 million years ago, there was also once rumor on "lake monsters" here.

By People's Daily Online

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