Rachel Sanoff
Updated Nov 27, 2019 @ 11:23 pm
Credit: ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images

The elusive Loch Ness monster of the Scottish Highlands has captivated the imaginations of ~truthseekers~ since the sea monster folklore began over 1,000 years ago. While the existence of Nessie, the Loch Ness monster, has long been disputed, did you know that, definitively, another real life sea monster lived in Scotland 170 million years ago?

Credit: Keystone/Getty Images

Known as the Storr Lochs Monster, the IRL sea monster is a Scottish ichthyosaur — a dolphin-esque reptile measuring 13-feet-long, complete with large, cone-shaped teeth for feeding on fish and squid, according to National Geographic.

Another, smaller species of ichthyosaur
Another, smaller species of ichthyosaur
| Credit: Wild Horizons/UIG via Getty Images

The fossil of the Storr Lochs Monster has actually been housed at the National Museums Scotland for 50 years, after it was discovered in Scotland in 1966. However, it was never displayed for the public because paleontologists couldn’t break through the rock in which the fossil was embedded.

But a partnership between University of Edinburgh, National Museums Scotland, and SSE, an energy company in the U.K., has allowed Scottish paleontologists to finally break apart the stone and study the fossil — which also happens to be the most complete ichthyosaur skeleton ever discovered in the country.

Paleontologist and lead researcher, Stephen Brusatte, told the National Geographic:

“Although some people think that sea monsters live here today in our lakes… there were actually real ones that lived here over a hundred million years ago.”

And Brusatte connected the Storr Lochs Monster to other prehistoric creatures in a statement to the Washington Post:

“On land, the tyrannosaurs were getting their start, and it’s probably when the first birds were flying around, and in the ocean you had this big turnover event when smaller marine animals were replaced by bigger ones.”

Plus, while it will take more research to confirm the possibility, it is likely that the fossil is the remnants of an entirely new species of ichthyosaur.

Monsters are real, everyone.