Here's an anecdote that, for Professor Neil Gemmell, puts his weird year as a monster-hunting scientist smartly into perspective.

On a pier in Santa Monica just west of Los Angeles, a researcher is about to board a boat.

A couple of curious passers-by ask about all of the containers that she has with her.

She explains she's going out to collect water samples, so she can use something called environmental DNA to reveal what species of turtle and other marine life are present in that part of the ocean.

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"Then they say, oh, like the Loch Ness Monster ?" Gemmell

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