Fossil hunters have pieced together the remains of an enormous sea creature which is being labeled a real-life Loch Ness monster.
Researchers have uncovered the 70-million-year-old fossilized remains of a massive elasmosaur from the icy depths of Antarctica unlike anything ever seen before.
The animal would have once weighed as much as 15 tons, and it is now one of the most complete ancient reptile fossils ever discovered.
The marine giant is a terrifying member of the reptile family elasmosaurid and is the largest of its kind ever found.
They make up a family of the plesiosaurs, which represent some of the largest sea creatures of the Cretaceous period.
Some believe Nessie is a long-necked plesiosaur-like an elasmosaur - that somehow survived when all the other dinosaurs were wiped out.
They looked a little like large manatees with giraffe necks and snake-like heads, reports the National Geographic.
There are many theories to explain the incredible length of its neck, but most believe it was to help with hunting.
“For years it was a mystery ... we didn’t know if they were elasmosaurs or not,” revealed paleontologist Jose O'Gorman of Argentina's National Scientific and Technical Research Council.
“They were some kind of weird plesiosaurs that nobody knew.”
News of the startling discovery is bound to be welcomed by those who believe Nessie is for real and hiding out in the depths of Loch Ness.
However, most scientists point out the loch is only about 10,000 years old, and plesiosaurs went extinct more than 65m years ago.
For another thing, marine reptiles weren't equipped with gills, so even if Nessie is a plesiosaur, it would still have to surface for air numerous times every hour - making it easy to spot.
And, finally, there just isn't enough food in Loch Ness to support the needs of a 15-ton plus sea monster, say the experts.
This story originally appeared in The Sun.