Lifeless Lake in Siberia

Lifeless Lake in Siberia

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There is a lake in Siberia called Lake Pustoye. No life exists in the lake. There are no fishes and no plants and even trees around the lake die . No birds even visit this lake .The lake even has bubbles in it like champagne .The water has been tested and there is nothing in the water that makes it harmful to life. It even tastes like champagne and yet life cannot exist in it .Fish were introduced into the lake but they quickly died off . So why can't any life form survive in this lake ?

This is a detailed comparison between two lakes in the Trans-Volga region in Russia, one of them being Lake Pustoye. I'm not sure if the Lake Pustoye in this article is the same lake being referred to by the op as it isn't in Siberia and there's no mention of champagne-like water, but it does bear the same name and has a curious lack of fish. The authors found that while there is an absence of fish, there is by no means an absence of life in the waters of Pustoye. In the article, they catalog the seasonal shifts of biodiversity in the waters of both lakes. The pH was observed to be low in Lake Pustoye which they implicated to be the likely cause for the lack of fish, though they indicated that more research would be needed to determine the exact cause of the acidification.

Exploring Lake Baikal

The world’s largest, deepest freshwater lake is home to hundreds of species that don’t live anywhere else on Earth. But it’s threatened by climate change.

Q: What’s more than a mile deep, 400 miles long, and holds 20% of all of the Earth’s fresh surface water?

A: Lake Baikal, which is a huge body of water located in a remote corner of southeastern Siberia, just above Mongolia. The deepest lake in the world and the largest freshwater lake by volume, Lake Baikal is so interesting that it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. UNESCO chose well the geology and biodiversity of Lake Baikal are truly unique.

The age and isolation of Lake Baikal combine to make it quite unusual. As described by John Langdon Brooks in the Quarterly Review of Biology, Lake Baikal has an “extraordinarily high degree of endemism,” meaning hundreds of species there are found nowhere else on Earth. This concentration of unique species extends up and down the food web while the fish are for the most part not unique, there are hundreds of species of small invertebrates in the lake found nowhere else on Earth. There are even six species of unique freshwater sponge. And at the top of the food web is the Baikal Seal, the only species of seal in the world that lives exclusively in freshwater.

A Baikal seal via Wikimedia Commons

The nature of the lake itself lends it to great diversity. For one thing the lake is at least 25 million years old. It is also extremely deep, and unlike many deep lakes, all depths contain plenty of dissolved oxygen. Under such conditions, organisms have the entire lake in which to speciate. Species can differentiate at opposite ends of the lake, or in the same location but at different depths. Several river systems drain into Baikal, so additional organisms have the opportunity to colonize the lake. Some of these species remain as they are, adding to the diversity, while others evolve in the lake into even more unique creatures.

Unfortunately, climate change threatens this incredible place. According to Marianne V. Moore and colleagues in Bioscience, the base of the Baikal food web, tiny endemic algae called diatoms, are extremely dependent on the duration of ice cover. In Lake Baikal, the annual spring algae bloom that supplies oxygen and food to the lake through photosynthesis occurs under the ice. This necessary event would be severely disrupted by changes in ice cover, potentially impacting the entire ecosystem of the lake. Moreover, the iconic freshwater seals require the ice for mating and molting. If ice were to melt too early, fertility of this unique species would decline.

Weekly Digest

According to Moore et al., Baikal is of great cultural significance as an emblem of the native beauty of Russia, nicknamed the “Sacred Sea,” and is the birthplace of the country’s environmental movement. The lake is even home to the world’s only marathon completely on ice. The researchers conclude:

The choices of Russians, many of whom have shown exceptional dedication to the lake in the past and are actively concerned about its welfare today, will determine future local impacts on the Sacred Sea. However, limiting climate change, which is arguably the most pervasive threat to the lake, can be achieved only through international commitments and concerted action, including the involvement of the world scientific community.

Ancient Arctic DNA gives unprecedented insight into human history

When you think of Siberia, you probably conjure up images of a sparsely populated, icy tundra — albeit one that's less frozen these days.

But from this remote place came a group of ancient peoples whose DNA may have changed the course of human history.

According to research published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, scientists were, for the very first time, able to trace the dramatic migration of different ancient Siberian peoples — individuals who share DNA with living Inuits and Native Americans.

Some background— By analyzing ancient remains from five different regions in Russia and Northeast Asia, researchers produced genetic data for 40 individuals from the Late Upper Paleolithic to the Medieval era.

The oldest of the ancient people dates back to nearly 17,000 years ago, while the youngest was alive only 550 years ago.

The earliest of these northeast Asian ancestors came of age after the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), which ended 18,000 to 20,000 years ago. LGM refers to a period of time when the ice sheets reached their peak mass during the last Ice Age.

What's new — Things were pretty frosty up in ancient Siberia. However, while previous studies stated that the LGM reduced population numbers in northeast Asia, this new data suggests a complex and dynamic flow of ancient people took place despite the LGM.

The researchers began by analyzing the remains of the oldest individual in their group: a 16,900-year-old female known as Khaiyrgas-1, who was excavated from Khaiyrgas Cave. This cave is one of the oldest-known locations of post-LGM human occupation in Siberia.

"Khaiyrgas-1 belongs to the first known human groups that settled the central Siberian plateau during the post LGM," co-author Gülşah Merve Kılınç tells Inverse.

Kılınç and her team found that Khaiyrgas-1 shares some DNA with Selkups, a modern-day group in Siberia that speaks the Uralic language. This implies a direct line from the ancient past to the present.

They also found some shared DNA between Khaiyrgas-1 and indigenous people in North America, such as the Chane, Guarani, and Karitiana.

However, the history of migration makes it difficult to confirm a direct link between Khaiyrgas-1 and Native Americans.

According to Kılınç, about 15,000 years ago, there was a global warming period known as Bølling–Allerød, which followed the last Ice Age.

"Around 15,000 years ago, during the Bølling–Allerød warming period, human groups represented by [Khaiyrgas-1] retracted from the area," Kılınç says. "Therefore, we cannot make clear statements about a direct link between people in the Americas and Khaiyrgas-1."

However, another ancient individual in the study that can give us a greater degree of confidence in this ancient Siberian-American connection: Kolyma_M.

According to Kılınç, Kolyma_M carries "genetic components which are present in present-day Native America populations."

Using this gene sequencing, the researchers also identified the ancient Asian ancestors of the Paleo-Inuits, who died out 700 years ago prior to the existence of modern-day Inuit people.

Digging into the details — Going further, the researchers also found genetic evidence indicating significant genetic diversity and complex history of migration in the Siberian region surrounding Lake Baikal.

About 8,500 years ago, a new group of people with East Asian ancestry settled around the lake, bringing a new set of DNA compared to the people who lived there previously.

Researchers also found dwindling population sizes starting around 4400 years ago. Low population sizes in two of the study's research areas— Cis-Baikal and Yakutia — could possibly signal the impacts of climate change, which could have led to the collapse of these ancient populations.

Overall, the researchers show that ancient peoples east of the lake remained genetically stable from the Mesolithic to the Bronze Age, but populations west of the lake encountered significant population upheavals during the Late Upper Paleolithic to the Neolithic eras.

Their findings show how much we can learn about the rise and fall of ancient peoples — about ancient history — through modern gene-sequencing technology.

Finally, the researchers even brought the story full circle back to 2021 through an analysis of an ancient plague bacterium that may have brought down some of the individuals in the study: yersinia pestis (Y. pestis).

"We observed a decrease in the genetic diversity and effective population sizes after the time that the 4,400-year-old individual from Cis-Baikal who found to have been affected by yersinia pestis lived. So, it might be possible to speculate about a plague pandemic during those times in that part of the world," Kılınç says.

But more data is needed to say whether an ancient pandemic wiped out these Siberian peoples, Kılınç says.

What's next — This research brings exciting new insight into the complex genetic history of an ancient people that shaped the world through their DNA, which ultimately made its way to the Americas.

But scientists still need to uncover new data to fully uncover the migration patterns of these Siberian ancestors.

A possible avenue for future research includes analyzing genetic data from unexplored regions and archaeological sites in northeast Asia, which could provide new opportunities for gene sequencing.

'Aliens and UFOs at world's deepest lake'

Curious reports of extra-terrestrials pulling Steven Spielberg to Siberian jewel Baikal.

True or not about Spielberg's interest, the lake is perhaps the biggest focus of UFOs in Russia. Picture:

Since ancient times, the vast Lake Baikal has been known as deeply mysterious, but in the closing years of the Soviet era, and since, it has been the location of a number of alleged sightings of aliens and UFOs.

Initially these were covered-up by the authorities of the USSR, but later they were revealed by the Russian media.

In recent days there have been unconfirmed reports in Russia that American director Steven Spielberg is planning a documentary based on these weird and unexplained accounts. At the time of writing, this appeared to be a hoax, though it was unclear who planted stories in the Russian media.

True or not about Spielberg's interest, the lake is perhaps the biggest focus of UFOs in Russia.

The versions of extra-terrestrial activity at Baikal - edged by mountains and containing one-fifth of the world's unfrozen freshwater - relate to supposed aliens seen by military divers in its depth, and large 'spaceships' hovering over its grey, moody expanses.

Some of the images here show what two photographers claimed were UFOs buzzing the lake, while others are mock-ups from NTV based on descriptions of an incident at Kudara-Somon, in Buryatia, exactly a quarter of a century ago.

A number of sightings also indicate bright 'cigar-shaped' objects in the sky flying over Baikal, as in the top picture.

NTV channel mock-up of 'flying saucer' based on accounts by residents of Kudara-Somon village in 1990. Pictures: NTV

A case for which there were no images, but an intriguing description, occurred at Kurma, Irkutsk region, in 17 April 1987. The words that follow are from Valery Rudentsov, a local resident of nearby Shida village:

'There was 13 of us. At about 12.20am, one of our guys went out into the yard, a few seconds later runs, and calls all of us out. He stood in the centre of the yard and pointed his finger at the sky.

'Diagonally from his gesture - 150 metres above us - hung a huge flying saucer. From the centre of the plate went a phosphorescent purple ray. And at the edges of the plate were yellow portholes, almost like in our rural houses. The diameter of the plate was 70 metres. We saw it so clearly and for a long time, someone even suggested he throw a stone at it .

'The weather was amazingly quiet, no sound was heard from the hanging saucer, although behind us was the village of Kurma - there was the noise of a dog barking, the lowing of cows. We were spellbound.

'It was a full moon and the visibility was so clear that no one of us could doubt the reality of what we saw. And then the plate slid smoothly away, sailed along the shore of the bay and further slipped into the hills of Olkhon. Neither before nor after have I ever met such a thing.

'But since that time it has been a kind of sacrilege to me - not to believe in UFOs. My friend Alexander, a hunter, and his colleagues who lived there for 20 years, often see UFOs - and all is fine, he is still alive. So if to speak about glowing balls or 'cigars', we constantly see these on the shores of Lake Baikal. They exist.'

The case highlighted by NTV channel was on 16 May 1990 in the village of Kudara-Somon, in Kyakhtinsky district, some 300 km from Ulan-Ude, capital of the Republic of Buryatia.

Margarita Tsybikova recalls the UFO's visit to Kudara-Somon. Marina Zimireva shows where the 'flying saucer' landed. Pictures: NTV

Olga Fedorova, a local resident, recalled: 'At some moment everything turned yellow. My daughter came home from school. I looked - her face was yellow.'

The explanation soon became clear, according to accounts from villagers.

Vasily Timofeev spoke of a flying saucer. 'Its diameter was around 30 meters, it shone brightly. But I did not see a clear image of metal or something like this.'

Another resident Margarita Tsybikova said: 'From this dish came down people in shiny, shimmering costumes.' Olga explained: 'There were people, as far as I remember, three people in shining yellow suits. Seems there were people, yes.'

Marina Zimireva, who also says she witnessed this extraordinary sight, said: 'It was some kind of circle, it can be said, it was like a disk. It turned on the edge and and, well, windows were visible.

'I personally decided for myself that they were people. They had some human image. They were the same - straight, slender, they had arms and legs. And their gait was the same as ours. A little lower down there were three in orange suits. They went down from the disk like a man - the steps were very visible.'

Then, as they recounted the strange event, the 'aliens' saw the people watching them. They returned to their spaceship and flew away.

A picture taken by Nikita Tomin, shows three green-shaded lights on a UFO flying above a lakeside resort in Irkutsk region. Pictures: Baikal Press, NTV

Game warden Gennady Lipinsky also recalls seeing a UFO. 'When I saw it, it was flying low. Until it disappeared over the horizon, I kept looking at it. I call it a fireball, and what it really was - I cannot know.'

The chairman of the Union of Photographers of Buryatia, Sergey Konechnykh, Ulan-Ude, was quoted about a much more recent incident, on 9 July 2009, at around 10pm.

'My son and I went out to the balcony, to see the last of the waning sunset. Suddenly there appeared these two glowing points and they hovered over the water.'

His pictures of this incident are clear yet perhaps raise as many questions as they answer. They show two glows in the night sky, featuring a yellow core with an orange-red surround.

By his account, the mysterious crafts rose and rebased elsewhere on Baikal's surface.

Around the same time, Anna Vinogradova, recalled a different but equally strange sight on the water. 'We were standing with tents on the beach and at night we saw orange-red flashes, as if a huge fires,' she said.

At Listvyanka in July 2010, a picture taken by Nikita Tomin, shows three green-shaded lights on a UFO flying above the lakeside resort in Irkutsk region.

The chairman of the Union of Photographers of Buryatia, Sergey Konechnykh shows the pictures he made in July 2009. Pictures: NTV, Sergey Konechnykh

'It flew right above us, very low. The object was shining down on us with a green light. We were a bit scared,' he said.

But the accounts also include 'aliens' in the deep waters of Baikal. Interestingly, unlike several other Siberian lakes, Baikal is not seen as home to a Loch Ness-style monster, but rather boasts space-like aliens under its murky surface.

For example, Vyacheslav Lavretevich, a rescuer, recalled an incident but did not give the date. 'We were on a yacht on Lake Baikal, and from under us flew out a huge glowing disk. It blinded us, and for a second flew into the sky.

'We did not even have time to grab any cameras, nor take video, although many of us saw it. It was a huge - and lit up all of our yacht. In diameter it was probably 500-700 metres, a huge disk.

'For three minutes it shone from below (the surface), and then abruptly departed in a second. The spectacle was huge, awesome. Beautiful, and shocking.'

Vyacheslav Lavretevich, a rescuer, recalled an incident on Baikal. Oleg Chichulin saw strange objects near Cape Svyatoi Nos. Pictures: NTV

Oleg Chichulin was also on a boat, training students. Near Cape Svyatoi Nos they saw strange objects.

'There was a ball that glowed. And then this ball started to fade, fade and blush. And it turned into a red ball. This red ball for a while lay on the water, and then began to sink. And all this gradually, gradually went under the water. And it became dark.'

Yet there are even more intriguing accounts of underwater aliens in the vast lake.

In 1977, when Leonid Brezhnev ruled the Kremlin, two researchers named V Alexandrov and G Seliverstov, were in a submersible device at a depth of 1200 metres in the lake.

The researchers turned off their spotlights, to explore the depth of penetration of sunlight into the water. Suddenly the scientists were bathed in light from an unusual 'glow'.

Aleksandrov recalled: 'It was so like if our device was lit from above and the side by two strong spotlights. Only a minute later, unknown floodlights went out, and we found ourselves in total darkness.'

In 1977 two researchers named V Alexandrov and G Seliverstov, were in a submersible device at a depth of 1200 metres in the lake and observd strange lights. Picture: Vokrug Sveta

In 1982, seven military divers were reported to have come across aliens under the waters of Baikal. Alexey Tivanenko, a doctor of history, said: 'At a depth of 50 metres, they met swimmers, around three metres tall, dressed in tight-fitting silvery suits. They did not have any scuba or other devices, just helmets on their heads.

'They received an order to catch the Ihtiander (half-boy, half-shark, from modern Russian folklore) - but they were immediately washed ashore with signs of decompression.

'They had two decompression devices, but one was broken. All seven people could not be put inside, so they put only four of them. And those three people, who were not put in the device, died on the beach.'

Tivanenko has likened the descriptions to ancient petroglyphs seen by some as being aliens visiting Earth. 'I have hundreds of drawings with these 'Sons of the Sky',' he told NTV.

'They are united by the fact that all of them are tall, dressed in suits, all with the helmets on their heads. And there are mechanisms used by astronauts today.'

'I have hundreds of drawings with these 'Sons of the Sky', told Alexey Tivanenko. Pictures: NTV

Reports surfaced several days ago in the Russian media that Spielberg was expected at Baikal in May, and that he intends to make a documentary entitled Depth 211.

Citing the 'press service' of MUFON - the Mutual UFO Network, a US-based organisation that investigates UFO sightings - news source and others reported his trip.

Yet there was no confirmation from the Hollywood director, who has made such films as Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, would be arriving, nor further detail on the reported project.

Later, Komsomolskaya Pravda and IA Teleinform denied the reports but without quoting any sources close to the director.

So is there a Loch Ness Monster in Siberia?

A Moscow scientist is calling for a new scientific expedition to solve the mystery of a huge 'monster' claimed to be living in remote Lake Labynkyr in Siberia.

Is this the Siberian Nessie.

Known as 'Russia's Loch Ness Monster ', the accounts of the creature in Yakutia predate the Scottish claims yet in many ways are similar.

Intriguingly, too, there are theories that Labynkyr - which has unusual cracks on its 60 to 80 metre deep floor - is connected by underwater channels to another lake, Vorota, where monster sightings have also been recorded, including by respected Soviet geologist Viktor Tverdokhlebov, an academician not given to hyperbole.

Associate Professor of Biogeography Lyudmila Emeliyanova revealed to The Siberian Times that on her own scientific mission to Labynkyr she recorded 'several seriously big underwater objects' with sonar readings.

She is not the only researcher to have done so.

'It was our fourth or fifth day at the lake when our echo sounding device registered a huge object in the water under our boat,' she said.

'The object was very dense, of homogeneous structure, surely not a fish nor a shoal of fish, and it was above the bottom. I was very surprised but not scared and not shocked, after all we did not see this animal, we only registered a strange object in the water. But I can clearly say - at the moment, as a scientist, I cannot offer you any explanation of what this object might be.'

Lyudmila Emelyanova, Moscow State University Associate Professor of Biogeography working with echo sounding device during her expedition to Labynkur lake in Yakutia. Picture: Andrei Emelyanov

The readings were repeated and she became convinced there was more than one large living object in the pure waters.

'I can't say we literally found and touched something unusual there but we did register with our echo sounding device several seriously big underwater objects, bigger than a fish, bigger than even a group of fish.

'This is why I fully support the idea of a new trip there and extra research.

'I would love to take part in another visit to this lake. I know how to organise it and know enough good local people who can help on the spot. It is a hard trip I must say but it is definitely worth doing it again. This mysterious and very deep lake still has some secret to tell us.'

Freshwater Labynkyr, some 5,000 km east of Moscow, is mysterious for another reason, too. It is only around 60 kilometres from the settlement of Oymyakon - the coldest inhabited place on Earth - yet, astonishingly, the lake does not freeze over completely in winter, in contrast to virtually all lakes in the region. The ice that does form, unusually, can be too thin to walk on. It is not uncommon to driver cars on lakes in Yakutia in winter: but not Labynkyr.

One unproven theory is that Labynkyr, where much of the rock is volcanic, is warmed slightly from below by a fissure in the Earth's crust.

Dr Emeliyanova, from the Biogeography Department of the Geographical Faculty of Moscow State University, is struck by historical accounts of monsters in Labynkyr and Vorota and believes they are credible.

They date from the late 19th century, while accounts of the Loch Ness monster are usually held to have emerged in the 1930s.

Labynkyr lake, Yakutia. Picture: Andrei Emelyanov

On the basis of 'sightings' there has been speculation that Labynkyr and Vorota might be inhabited by a school of ichthyosaurs, prehistoric marine reptiles resembling dolphins or sharks, or plesiosaurs, a popular theory concerning 'Nessie' in Scotland which is often depicted with a long neck.

Another version has speculated that relic killer whales could have become marooned in Labynkyr. Some accounts even suggest the 'creature' makes a hideous primeval cry as it attacks its prey.

'Personally, I do believe that when the information about something strange circulates among local people for so many years, it just can't be groundless, it means something is there,' she said. 'I know the local people very well - they are ingenuous but they do not lie,' she said previously.

Now she adds: 'I have been on a dozen expeditions to this region and I can say I know the character of local people quite well. They are emotional - but are not intended to show their emotions and they are very true and honest by nature, often more honest than is necessary. This is why I am not ready to reject all these stories.'

For her another factor is how the stories of monsters in Yakutia relate solely to these two lakes out of more than 800,000 across this giant region.

'There are many lakes in Yakutia and around the Indigirka River, hundreds of them, big and small, their shores are more or less populated, but all the talk is about Labynkyr and Vorota lakes, and it has gone on for many dozens of years. It makes us think about it. And these stories about the local monster are older than those about the Loch Ness monster .'

Lyudmila Emelyanova, Moscow State University Associate Professor of Biogeography with her team on way to Labynkur lake in Yakutia. Pictures: Andrei Emelyanov

Even so, she insisted of her 2002 trip: 'I did not go there to chase the lake monster : as a biogeographer I was interested mainly in that very territory, I wanted to visit and study it.

'But, of course, I was curious to see the place which has so many legends and stories. I did not suppose we could really find something there simply because we did not plan to spend there enough time. Our stop by the lake was just for 12 days.

'As a scientist I know this is not enough to locate and study some unknown creature. I can put it like this, however. I believe there is a mystery in this lake because there is no smoke without fire.

'I am sure that numerous legends which exist and circulate for many years just can't be groundless. I read many different legends but the account below is what I heard with my own ears.

'Several fishermen who visit this lake from time to time say they experienced the following when fishing from a boat in this lake: during quiet, and not windy, weather when there were no disturbances in the lake, some strange waves coming from under the water suddenly heavily shook their boats.

'It was as if a big body was moving under the water and producing waves which reached the surface and shook the vessel.'

She explained: 'These stories shook me up, for instance, about a boat which was lifted by something or somebody. Two fishermen were fishing in the middle of the lake in late Autumn, they were in a 10 metre long boat when suddenly the bow began to rise as if somebody was pushing it from under the water.

'It was a heavy boat, only a huge and strong animal can do such a thing. The fishermen were stuck by fear. They did not see anything, no head, no jaws. Soon the boat went down.'

Another account of an entirely separate trip to the lake in August 2006 - where researchers used a Humminbird Piranha MAX 215 Portable fish-finder - produced results echoing her findings. Images are available from this trip - some are shown here - but the identities of those who took part are hidden.

'The conditions were ideal - clear cold fresh water, no big waves, stone bottom without plants there, no engine on the boat, soft and slow moving - all this means there were almost no problems for the scanning,' claimed one of those present.

'Often the device showed the long chain of big fish some 4 meters above the bottom of the lake, when the depth was about 30-45 meters.

'The further we went away from the shore, the deeper the lake was, at one moment there was no fish registered for a long period long, the screen was dead. But all of a sudden it blew up with signals about a huge shoal of fish, just like a cloud.

'Let me say a word about local fish - all kinds of fish here are predators, the bottom of the lake is 'dead', stones with sand, very cold near the bottom, no plants. Fish-predators just cannot swim all together making such a huge shoal, anybody familiar with Zoology will understand what I mean.

'This is why it meant nothing else but the huge swimming object with some air inside.

'We went twice above the object, it was at the depth of 30 metres (where the floor was 50 metres below). The upper 'fish' was at a depth of 25 metres, the lower 'fish' at 32 metres. It suggests the object was seven metres wide. What was it? We can't say.

Echo sounding device data of the underwater object in lake Labynkyr, with travelers drawing in red what they imagined the creature could have looked like. Pictures:

'I switched off the 'Fish ID' and we watched just pure scanning. soon we registered a 'shadow' some 15-17 meters under our boat, it was about 6.5 meters long. It was pretty clear, it was not a fish and not a tree. There cannot be fish that big, and a log would have been registered in a different way. How can it swim under the water?

'The most active 'shadows' or 'bodies' were registered in certain parts of the lake when the depth was 42 to 60 metres.'

'The next shadow the width of the object is about 70 cm, and although the screen shows its silhouette differently to how we imagined, my mind vividly paints a picture of a beast, swimming across the echo device scanning ray.

'Another object was 'caught' at the depth of 20 meters. It was definitely a live creature - look at the density! - but of a smaller size, like 2.5 meters.

Perhaps another giant fish. Or a baby of our monster ?'

Pictures here show the some of the images seen on the scanning device, including sketches (drawn on the screen in red) to show how the ' monster ' might look.

On another amateur trip to explore the lake, in 2000, Russian traveler Vladimir wrote: 'There was a signal from our echo sounding device, something was moving around our net with fish, something very big, seven to ten meters, it is hard to say because we did not know the speed of the object.

'And our nerves are not made of iron, there were two of us in the rubber boat, far away from the shore. we did not want to find it out, just got away from there.

'There were interesting trails on the water as if something big enough is swimming not very deep and playing in the water. There is a strange island there. It is in the middle of the lake and lots of broken nests of the sea gulls. The gulls were just crushed alive when they were asleep and did not have a chance to fly away. Some birds were eaten, some just left there. Who did it?

'In my humble opinion. there are four or five big animals in this lake, not more. If people do not rush there, maybe they will survive.'

In the 1960s, there are accounts of 'a monster with a long neck coming up out of the lake making an eerie sound'. Some versions say it was lizard-like.

In Soviet times and before, the lake was almost inaccessible. Today that is changing. Travel companies in Yakutsk, capital of Yakutia or the Sakha Republic, are already offering private trips to visit the lake, enabling people to carry out their own monster hunts.

This perhaps gives an added urgency to Dr Emeliyanova's plans to reach the lake and explore it in a fully scientific way: yet funds, so far not found, are needed to support this venture.

Lyudmila Emelyanova, Moscow State University Associate Professor of Biogeography. Picture: The Siberian Times

She emphasised: 'Apart from the legends about this monster , this lake is quite mysterious itself, for instance distances are hard to measure there.

'Probably it is diffraction of light but still - I mean when you are sailing in a boat and you clearly see the shore is quite far away, in a minute you all over a sudden get there and hit the ground. One shore is just drift sands. One of the islands on the lake sometimes is not visible, like a mirage in the desert, it comes and goes.

'There is an amazing fact, too, that this lake is never totally frozen, not what you would expect as it is not far from the Pole of Cold.

'But this is the fact, the lake is never fully covered by ice. If it had been fully covered, we could have closed this story about the monster forever. It could not survive.

'The question is - why it is not completely frozen? Probably because of its depth, I can suppose, too, it is somehow warmed from the bottom but it is not really my part of science and would like to give you the opinion of some colleague here rather then my suggestion. I met scientist in Yakutsk who told me they registered the depth of 80 meters in Labynkyr lake.'

There is also 'an absence of plants there. it is another mystery.

'There are 13 fish species in the lake. Of course they eat one another but not all of them, some would need plants for food, yet these appear to be absent.'

While she has conducted no research on it, she said that 'some scientists believe that this lake is connected with other lakes on the same plateau, at least with Lake Vorota, via some underground tunnel system'.

Accounts of strange creatures in the lake - often called the 'Labynkyr Devil' - have been passed down from generation to generation.

One one version the monster is of dark grey colour with a huge mouth and 'distance between its eyes is just as the size of raft made of ten logs'. The legend says that this animal is aggressive, it can attack people and animals, it can leave the water and go on the shore.

A more recent 'sighting' involved a party of geologists some of whom went fishing on the lake. 'Suddenly those in the boat started screaming - apparently they saw a huge head of some creature. Others, who were waiting for them on shore, started shooting, and scared the creature away'.

Echo sounding device data of the underwater object in lake Labynkyr, with travelers drawing in red what they imagined the creature could have looked like. Picture:

Some years ago Itogi magazine analysed the sightings and concluded: 'Comparing the stories we can say that it is 9-10 metres long, 1.2-1.5 metres wide, its jaw is huge, up to one-third the size of its body, looking like a huge beak with lots of teeth, and there is a sort of bone-made horn on the top of the animal. The creature was met either in Labynkyr or in Vorota lake - locals believe these lakes are connected to each other with the help of underground passages.'

Grasping for mundane theories to explain what the creature might be - if not a leftover from the Jurassic Age that somehow defied both extinction and the Ice Age - some have suggested an abnormally huge and well-fed pike.

Yury Gerasimov, head of the Ichthyology Department of the Institute of Biology of Freshwater of the Russian Academy of Sciences, is dubious. 'I have never come across such a big pike and I highly doubt they can exist.

'If we trust the stories about this 'Devil', there must be about 1.5 metres between its eyes. It means the length of its body must be about 7-8 metres.

'Pike do not live so long in order to reach such a big size. There are two factors that help fish to grow - nutrition and comfortable water temperatures. Even if nutrition is perfect there, surely the temperatures are not that high. So in my opinion the view about a huge pike is a fantastic one.'

Another Russian traveller Sergei Karpukhin, a former geologist who once spent 35 days alone at Labynkyr, questions two basic premises of the monster theory. If these monsters were to survive down the ages, there must be sufficient of them to reproduce. There would also need to be connections to other lakes, something he disputes.

'A little pack of them, like male/female plus several cubs is not enough,' he said. 'To survive this population must have such a number of animals that the lake would be swarming with them.

'Or at least there should be such number of them, that they would not go unnoticed - given the description of them being quite big, and the lake is not that large.

'I even think that there will need to be more creatures in the neighbouring lakes which the Labynkyr ones can be in contact with. Only then they can survive.

'Now the Labynkyr Devil defenders would, I know, refer to Lake Vorota, some 20 km away from Labynkyr. This is where Tverdokhlybov saw that mysterious creature. Here the legend has some extra bits to it, that allegedly the lakes are connected with some underground canals. I will argue this from a position of a geologist: it is possible to have two connected lakes. BUT, when the lakes of karstic origin. There must be some carbonaceous stones, which can be dissolved by water.

'But there aren't any. The stones there are all volcanic.'

Soviet geologist Viktor Tverdokhlebov

Accounts began reaching the outside world after nine geologists led by Viktor Tverdokhlebov, of the East Siberian branch of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, were involved in an expedition to this remote corner of the then USSR in the summer of 1953, a few months after the death of Stalin. As they rode on horseback, their guide was the elderly Varfolomey Vinokurov, a local man.

It took eight years his diary account to be published in a Soviet magazine and this referred to his own sighting in Lake Vorota - a name which literally 'Gates' (an unusual name for a lake, perhaps signifying Gates of the Devil?) while also including historical accounts he heard from locals.

'30 May. We left Tomtor village, went 70 kilometres up the Kuidusun Valley, turned left and got to the large Sordonnokhskoe plateau. Ahead of us there is Lake Labynkyr where there is storage with food and equipment.

'There are many legends about this Lake Labynkyr. In the evenings sitting by the fire our old guide told us that a 'devil' lived in this lake. He is so big that the distance between his eyes, as Varfolomey said, 'is wider than a fisherman's raft made of ten logs'.

'I heard about this 'devil' before and many times. In Ust-Ner, I heard that the devil ate a dog. The dog swam to bring the shot duck to the hunter, then huge jaws raised from the water and the dog just disappeared in a moment.

'One of the Tomtor villagers told me that one day he found a huge bone on the shore of Lake Labynkyr. It was like the devil's jaw - if you put it vertically, you could ride on a horse through it like under an arch. He said this jaw bone remained near the fishermen house on the shore.

'I heard legends how a whole caravan perished going under the ice of Labynkyr. It was spoken that people saw a big horn stuck out of the ice. People gathered around it on ice and tried to take it out but suddenly the ice broke and many people and reindeer died'.

'5 June: Early in the morning we got to the shore of Lake Labynkyr and reached the storage. Comfortable tents with wooden beds and floor and table awaited us.

'7 June: We are having a rest. Lake Labynkyr is a square, 15 km long and 3 km wide. I found the ruined fisherman's house on the shore, carefully explored the house and all around it but did not find any 'jaw bone'.

He did not witness anything untoward in Labynkyr but went on with his expedition.

28 July: Now we stopped at the shore of Lake Vorota. Mikhail made a raft and went to measure the depth. It is 60 meters as in Labynkyr. But the lake itself is much smaller.

30 July: This is what happened today. It was sunny friendly morning, Boris Bashkatov and I went on a walking trip around Lake Vorota. We had to climb rocks on the way - about 11 am the way became dangerous and we decided to go down a bit, closer to the water. Looking at the water from the rock, I clearly saw a terrace under the water with a huge white spot on it. But when I looked at the terrace again a minute later there was no white spot there. 'Maybe sunshine is joking with me', I thought. But suddenly Boris shouted 'Look! What is there, in the middle?' We stopped. Some 300-400 meters away on the water there was clearly seen some white object, shining under the sunlight. 'A barrel', said Boris, 'made of tin.' 'Maybe a horse got into the lake,' I said.

Truly, the object was swimming, and fast enough. It was something alive, some animal. It was making an arch - first along the lake, then right towards us. As it was getting closer, a strange coldness like a stupor was growing inside me. Above the water there was big dark grey body, the white colour has gone. On this dark grey background there were clearly visible two symmetrical light spots looking like eyes and there was just stick in the body - maybe a fin? Or a harpoon of an unlucky fisherman?

'We saw just a part of the animal but we could guess its much bigger, massive body was under the water. We could guess this looking how the monster was moving - raising from the water, it threw its body forward then fully went under the water. At this time the waves were going away from its head, waves originating under the water. 'Flapping its mouth, catching fish', I guessed.

The animal was obviously swimming towards us and the waves made by the animal reached our legs. We looked at each other and immediately began to climb up the rock. What if 'it' goes out of the water? We witnessed a predator, no doubt, one of the strongest predators in this world: such indomitable, merciless and some sensible fierceness was in every his movement, in all its looks.

'The animal stopped some 100 meters away from the shore. Suddenly it began to beat against the water, waves went all ways, we could not understand what was going on. Maybe it lasted just a minute and then the animal was gone, dived. It was only then when I thought about a camera.

'We stood for another 10-20 minutes, it was quiet. We went further.

'There was no doubt, we saw the 'devil' - the legendary monster of this area. The Yakut fisherman was right, the animal had dark grey skin and the distance between its eyes was surely not less than a raft of 10 logs. But he saw it in Labynkyr and we saw it in Vorota lake. They are 20 km away from each other - and they are not connected.

'I recalled that white spot under the water. Obviously, the animal was hunting at that underwater terrace and we scared it when shouted going down the rocks.'

There is, now, the possibility that the waters of the two lakes are connected by a subterranean channel. For Tverdokhlebov, the sighting reminded him of the killer whales he had seen in the Sea of Okhotsk.

'At first I thought it that this animal is an unknown offspring of extinct animals who inhabited this area ages ago. But this feeling of fierceness was so familiar to me - where could I see it?'

In 1945 he had a clone encounter with such a creature when swimming.

'We turned around and some 30 metres away in the water we saw a huge dark grey body with two light spots and a fin above them. The animal was looking at us as if it was choosing who to start with.'

He also heard more accounts from locals of ' monsters ' in lakes on this plateau, which some geologists say maybe of very recent formation. An old fisherman told how he took his net out of Lake Yastrebiny and complaining it was torn, he nodded his head and blamed some animal.

'I did not pay attention then, thinking it was just a big pike,' he wrote.

'I recalled the stories of the workers who saw holes in the ice of Lake Labynkyr and one day they saw some grey body through the hole which disappeared later. Maybe all these stories are not that fantastic, and they are just a chain of real events?

'But if we imagine it is a killer whale, how could it get here? The Sea of Okhotsk is some 300 km away, and the plateau is 1 km above sea level. How would the sea animal survive in fresh water? How did it get here? Is it alone here or is there a whole family? What do they eat? How did they survive the Ice Age?

'What is obvious to me - the existence of this mysterious animal is closely connected with the mystery of the plateau, how and when it appeared.'

His suggestion of a killer whale led to some ridicule for his account. Cryptozoologist Valeriy Nikolayev scoffed: 'What killer whale? How on earth would it get there, miles from sea?!'

'A group of such creatures stranded, perhaps, when this plateau was cut off from the sea that has gone on reproducing in these remote parts? No, it's impossible!'

Labynkyr lake, Yakutia. Pictures: Andrei Emelyanov

In a book 'Trip to the Cold Pole', author Gennady Borodulin recounts another tale from Labynkyr in the 1920s.

'An Evenk family of nomads followed their reindeer and reached the shore of Lake Labynkyr. They decided to stay overnight on the shore. A five year old child went to the bank of a stream which led into the lake while adults were busy. Suddenly the adults heard the boy screaming.

'The father and grandfather rushed to the bank. They stopped on the edge of water and saw the child being carried away by an unknown animal to the centre of the lake. It was a dark creature, with a mouth looking like bird's beak. It held the child and moved away with quick rushes, then it dived leaving huge waves and dragged the child under the water.

'The granddad swore to revenge the 'devil. He took a sack made of animal skin, stuffed it with reindeer fur, rags, dry grass and pine trees needles, put a smouldering piece of wood inside. He attached the sack to a huge stone on shore with a rope and then threw the sack far into the waters of the lake.

'At night there was noise and splashes and terrible screams of the 'devil'. In the morning the waves brought the huge dead animal, about seven meters long with a huge jaw, almost one third size of the body, and relatively small legs and fins.

'The old man cut the animal's stomach, took out the body of his grandson, and buried him on the bank of the stream. Since then this stream is called 'The Stream of a Child'.

'It is hard to say what happened to the remains of the animal but this jaw was put like an arch on the shore.'

Could it have really happened? Only a fully fledged scientific mission can hope to answer whether the Labynkyr Monster is myth or reality.

Oldest connection with Native Americans identified near Lake Baikal in Siberia

Excavation in 1976 of the Ust'-Kyakhta-3 site located on right bank of the Selenga River in the vicinity of Ust-Kyakhta village in the Kyakhtinski Region of the Republic of Buryatia (Russia). Credit: A. P. Okladnikov

Using human population genetics, ancient pathogen genomics and isotope analysis, a team of researchers assessed the population history of the Lake Baikal region, finding the deepest connection to date between the peoples of Siberia and the Americas. The current study, published in the journal Cell, also demonstrates human mobility, and hence connectivity, across Eurasia during the Early Bronze Age.

Modern humans have lived near Lake Baikal since the Upper Paleolithic, and have left behind a rich archaeological record. Ancient genomes from the region have revealed multiple genetic turnovers and admixture events, indicating that the transition from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age was facilitated by human mobility and complex cultural interactions. The nature and timing of these interactions, however, remains largely unknown.

A new study published in the journal Cell reports the findings of 19 newly sequenced ancient human genomes from the region of Lake Baikal, including one of the oldest reported from that region. Led by the Department of Archaeogenetics at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, the study illuminates the population history of the region, revealing deep connections with the First Peoples of the Americas, dating as far back as the Upper Paleolithic period, as well as connectivity across Eurasia during the Early Bronze Age.

The deepest link between peoples

"This study reveals the deepest link between Upper Paleolithic Siberians and First Americans," says He Yu, first author of the study. "We believe this could shed light on future studies about Native American population history."

Recent view on the Selenga River close to the archeological site Ust-Kyakhta-3. Credit: G. Pavlenok

Past studies have indicated a connection between Siberian and American populations, but a 14,000-year-old individual analysed in this study is the oldest to carry the mixed ancestry present in Native Americans. Using an extremely fragmented tooth excavated in 1962 at the Ust-Kyahta-3 site, researchers generated a shotgun-sequenced genome enabled by cutting edge techniques in molecular biology.

This individual from southern Siberia, along with a younger Mesolithic one from northeastern Sibe-ria, shares the same genetic mixture of Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) and Northeast Asian (NEA) ancestry found in Native Americans, and suggests that the ancestry which later gave rise to Native Americans in North- and South America was much more widely distributed than previously assumed. Evidence suggests that this population experienced frequent genetic contacts with NEA populations, resulting in varying admixture proportions across time and space.

"The Upper Paleolithic genome will provide a legacy to study human genetic history in the future," says Cosimo Posth, a senior author of the paper. Further genetic evidence from Upper Paleolithic Siberian groups is necessary to determine when and where the ancestral gene pool of Native Ameri-cans came together.

The fragmented tooth of individual UKY001 excavated from an archeological layer at the Ust-Kyakhta-3 site dated to the Upper Paleolithic, around 14,000 years old. Credit: G. Pavlenok(Published in Pavlenok, G.D., and Zubova, A. V. (2019). New Dental Finds Associated with the Paleolithic Selenga Culture, Western Trans-Baikal Region. Archaeol. Ethnol. Anthropol. Eurasia 47.)

A web of prehistoric connections

In addition to this transcontinental connection, the study presents connectivity within Eurasia as evidenced in both human and pathogen genomes as well as stable isotope analysis. Combining these lines of evidence, the researchers were able to produce a detailed description of the population histo-ry in the Lake Baikal region.

The presence of Eastern European steppe-related ancestry is evidence of contact between southern Siberian and western Eurasian steppe populations in the preamble to the Early Bronze Age, an era characterized by increasing social and technological complexity. The surprising presence of Yersinia pestis, the plague-causing pathogen, points to further wide-ranging contacts.

Although spreading of Y. pestis was postulated to be facilitated by migrations from the steppe, the two individuals here identified with the pathogen were genetically northeastern Asian-like. Isotope analysis of one of the infected individuals revealed a non-local signal, suggesting origins outside the region of discovery. In addition, the strains of Y. pestis the pair carried is most closely related to a contemporaneous strain identified in an individual from the Baltic region of northeastern Europe, further supporting the high mobility of those Bronze age pathogens and likely also people.

"This easternmost appearance of ancient Y. pestis strains is likely suggestive of long-range mobility during the Bronze Age," says Maria Spyrou, one of the study's coauthors. "In the future, with the generation of additional data we hope to delineate the spreading patterns of plague in more detail." concludes Johannes Krause, senior author of the study.

Salvaging complete and high-quality genomes of novel microbial species from a meromictic lake using a workflow combining long- and short-read sequencing platforms

Background Most of Earth’s bacteria have yet to be cultivated. The metabolic and functional potentials of these uncultivated microorganisms thus remain mysterious, and the metagenome-assembled genome (MAG) approach is the most robust method for uncovering these potentials. However, MAGs discovered by conventional metagenomic assembly and binning methods are usually highly fragmented genomes with heterogeneous sequence contamination, and this affects the accuracy and sensitivity of genomic analyses. Though the maturation of long-read sequencing technologies provides a good opportunity to fix the problem of highly fragmented MAGs as mentioned above, the method’s error-prone nature causes severe problems of long-read-alone metagenomics. Hence, methods are urgently needed to retrieve MAGs by a combination of both long- and short-read technologies to advance genome-centric metagenomics.

Results In this study, we combined Illumina and Nanopore data to develop a new workflow to reconstruct 233 MAGs—six novel bacterial orders, 20 families, 66 genera, and 154 species—from Lake Shunet, a secluded meromictic lake in Siberia. Those new MAGs were underrepresented or undetectable in other MAGs studies using metagenomes from human or other common organisms or habitats. Using this newly developed workflow and strategy, the average N50 of reconstructed MAGs greatly increased 10–40-fold compared to when the conventional Illumina assembly and binning method were used. More importantly, six complete MAGs were recovered from our datasets, five of which belong to novel species. We used these as examples to demonstrate many novel and intriguing genomic characteristics discovered in these newly complete genomes and proved the importance of high-quality complete MAGs in microbial genomics and metagenomics studies.

Conclusions The results show that it is feasible to apply our workflow with a few additional long reads to recover numerous complete and high-quality MAGs from short-read metagenomes of high microbial diversity environment samples. The unique features we identified from five complete genomes highlight the robustness of this method in genome-centric metagenomic research. The recovery of 154 novel species MAGs from a rarely explored lake greatly expands the current bacterial genome encyclopedia and broadens our knowledge by adding new genomic characteristics of bacteria. It demonstrates a strong need to recover MAGs from diverse unexplored habitats in the search for microbial dark matter.

Feudalism in Medieval Europe

One of the most immediately obvious details of this map of medieval Europe is how fragmented Western Europe was at the time.

This vast array of independent territories technically made up the Holy Roman Empire (the empire’s borders are highlighted in green on the map). But why was the Holy Roman Empire so fragmented?

The empire was subdivided into individually governed entities at the time. These independent territories were governed by nobility rather than an absolute monarch. This was possible because the empire was run by the feudal system.

For the non-history buffs reading this, the feudal system was a socio-political system largely characterized by its lack of public authority. Theoretically, it was meant to have a distinct hierarchy:

  1. Monarchs
    At the top of the feudal food chain, monarchs were meant to hold absolute power over their land. However, many lords held so much power over their manors that the monarch acted more as a figurehead.
  2. Lords and Ladies (Nobility)
    The nobility was supposed to act as middle management— they were in charge of managing the land and the peasants who worked on it.
  3. Knights
    Protectors of the land, knights followed a strict code of conduct, known as chivalry. If they failed to follow their chivalry, their title and land was taken from them.
  4. Peasants
    A majority of the medieval population was made up of peasants, who did all the work on the land so lords and knights could plan and prepare for war.

Between the 1200-1400s, battles between nobles and monarchs were almost constant, and the map shows a time when estates were largely governed by the nobility. However, it’s important to note that in the years following 1444, monarchs gradually began to regain their power.

Eventually, governing became more consolidated, and this gradual transition to absolute monarchy marked the early stages of what we now recognize as nation states.

Mighty Lithuania

One very prominent and perhaps surprising section of the map is the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which today would include large portions of Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine. This snapshot depicts Lithuania at the height of its power, when their territory stretched all the way from the Baltic Sea down to the Black Sea, near Crimea.

Over time power ebbs and flows, and today Lithuania is a much more compact nation.

Staying Power

Europe’s borders have shifted constantly over the long history of the continent, but one area has remained remarkably consistent. On the map above, Portugal looks nearly identical to its present day form. This is because the country’s border with Spain–one of the world’s oldest–has barely shifted at all since the 13th century.


We thank the drilling team from the private company Stroiizyskaniya from Yakutsk. The expedition team thanks the local community of Chyuyya, a small village near the Yukechi Alas, for their hospitality and hosting us during the fieldwork. We thank the lab staff for helping with the biogeochemical analyses conducted at AWI Potsdam labs (Dyke Scheidemann and Antje Eulenburg), and incubation experiments and lipid biomarker analyses conducted at GFZ labs (Oliver Burckhardt, Charlotte Haugk, Lucas Horstmann, Daria Kapustina, Cornelia Karger, Ferdinand Perssen, and Anke Sobotta). The field campaign was supported by Avksentry P. Kondakov. This research was supported by the International Permafrost Association Action Group “The Yedoma Region”. Open access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.

Reports Surface of Monster Lurking in Russian Lake

For centuries, strange reports of a large, underwater creature have come from people living near the remote Lake Labynkyr in Siberia.

Now, a team of scientists from the Russian Geographical Society report they've found the skeletal remains of an animal that fits the description of the "Devil" of Lake Labynkyr, according to the Siberian Times, though skeptics have yet to be convinced of the legendary creature's existence.

"There have been all sorts of hypotheses about what kind of creature it could be: a giant pike, a … reptile or an amphibian," said research team geologist Viktor Tverdokhlebov, as quoted in the Siberian Times. "We didn't manage to prove or to disprove these versions … [but] we managed to find remains of jaws and skeleton of some animal."

The Russian research team &mdash which included divers from the Russian Emergencies Ministry, camera people from the Sakha National Broadcasting Company and scientists from Yakutsk State University &mdash was exploring the lake bottom to gather samples of water, plants and animals.

And on the bottom of the lake, using an underwater scanner, they discovered the large jawbone and skeleton, the Voice of Russia reports. Despite their claims, the team brought no physical evidence of their purported find to the surface. [Loch Ness, Chupacabra & More: Our 10 Favorite Monsters]

A mysterious lake that never freezes

The lake itself has been a source of scientific mystery for generations. Though other lakes in the region freeze solid during the long Siberian winter, Lake Labynkyr doesn't &mdash it maintains a near-constant surface temperature of 36 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), according to the Daily Mail.

This has led some to speculate that an underground hot spring may warm the lake. This scenario is plausible, as much of the rock in the Lake Labynkyr area is volcanic, and scientists know most of the eastern Siberia area is seismically active, according to the Smithsonian/NASA Astrophysics Data System.

The large lake measures roughly 17 square miles (45 square kilometers) in area and has an average depth of 171 feet (52 meters), though a large underwater trench runs as deep as 263 feet (80 m), the Daily Mail reports.

This is not the first time some evidence of Lake Labynkyr's "Devil" has surfaced. In addition to local folklore, some scientists have reported seeing a strange creature in the lake (and in nearby Lake Vorota).

In 1953, a team of geologists from the Soviet Academy of Sciences led by Viktor Tverdokhlebov visited Lake Vorota. Tverdokhlebov reported seeing a large, underwater animal the size of an orca swimming near the surface of the lake, according to a report in the Siberia Times.

And in 2012, an associate professor of biogeography at Moscow State University Ludmila Emeliyanova claimed that she used sonar readings to record several large, underwater objects in Lake Labynkyr.

"I can't say we literally found and touched something unusual there, but we did register with our echo-sounding device several seriously big, underwater objects, bigger than a fish, bigger than even a group of fish," Emeliyanova said, as quoted in the Siberia Times.

Skeptics weigh in

Of course, considerable skepticism surrounds rumors of the Labynkyr "Devil" and any Vorota "monster," especially given the lack of any verifiable photographs, video or physical evidence.

Yury Gerasimov, of the Institute of Freshwater Biology at the Russian Academy of Sciences, casts doubt on any such cryptozoological reports, according to the Siberian Times. He questioned claims regarding the creature's size.

"If we trust the stories about this 'Devil,' there must be about 1.5 meters [5 feet] between its eyes. It means the length of its body must be about 7 to 8 meters [23 to 26 feet]," Gerasimov told the Siberia Times.

It's often supposed that the creature is a large fish such as a pike. However, "pike do not live so long in order to reach such a big size," Gerasimov said. "There are two factors that help fish to grow: nutrition and comfortable water temperatures. Even if nutrition is perfect there, surely the temperatures are not that high. So, in my opinion, the view about a huge pike is a fantastic one," Gerasimov said.

Watch the video: Leben in Russland. Guckt noch jemand fern? Winter in Novosibirsk. Sibirien (October 2022).