Initial Plesiosaurus Research
Today's research was mostly about dinosaurs. Back in the '30's, when the first major Nessie sightings were making it into the papers and taking the country by storm - it was postulated, publicly, that the most likely creature Nessie is, is a Plesiosaurus; a large, marine sauropterygian reptile.
That public postulation definitely stuck: in every Google image search and Pinterest search I have done (apart from the occasional elephant) Nessie looks like a dinosaur. Which is cool, I like drawing dinosaurs.
Palaeontologists found a bunch of fossilised Plesiosauria skeletons in England, on the Dorset coast. The rocks from that coast would have been really close to the equator during Jurassic period, so they are teeming with fossils from that period. One of these fossils is named after Sir David himself, the Attenborosaurus. I like the proximity of these fossilised creatures to Loch Ness, I think it makes it that bit more plausible that one of them could have ended up in the loch.
With this and the general public favouring, the plesiosauria order seems like a good start for my Nessie research. My current, screaming, issue with this though, is how would she breathe? Nessie's not often seen, so she must live considerably deeper than these dinosaurs typically did. I'm thinking she must have evolved gills, although maybe still has some residual lungs, like a lungfish.
Loch Ness formed about 10,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age, during which the Great Glen (the deep gouges in the land which cut Scotland from Fort William to Inverness) was under a glacier. Loch Ness is not easy to access via the sea (either from Inverness or the west coast of Scotland) since the rivers are pretty shallow and very clear, and there are a lot of man-made canals which haven't been around very long. So it's not very likely that Nessie has swum in from the sea recently, or swims back and forth between the loch and the sea (which would also cause problems with the salt water and fresh water and breathing...).
After much rambling - I decided that Nessie could indeed be an evolved sort-of plesiosaur, who is native to the loch. What does she eat though, being so big?