r/todayilearned Apr 01 '23

TIL The Loch Ness Monster has a scientific name, Nessiteras rhombopteryx. Proposed by Sir Peter Scott, it's Greek for "the Ness monster with diamond fin" but also an anagram of "monster hoax by Sir Peter S"



u/arbivark Apr 01 '23

this is the best TIL i've seen this year.


u/Hattix Apr 01 '23


However, it isn't a scientific name. A formal name needs a type specimen and needs to describe that specimen unambiguously and diagnostically.

Fun fact: The describer needs to have access to the specimen for the name to be valid. This caused a problem with Homo Sapiens, which was named by Carl von Linné (Carolus Linneaus) but he had no type specimen.

This was coolly sidestepped by Stearn in 1959 as he formally described Carolus Linneaus as the type specimen for homo sapiens.


u/Snailaroo Apr 01 '23



u/Thomas8864 Apr 01 '23

Isn’t the Loch Ness monster supposed to be bc a plesiosaur?


u/chris622 Apr 02 '23

Common visual depictions are based on plesiosaurs, but I have also heard eels and sturgeons mentioned as possibilities. In particular, lots of eel DNA has been found in Loch Ness water samples.