Fossils of small plesiosaurs were located a river system dig, which led to researchers at the University of Bath making the claim.
Grainy images and descriptions that stemmed from claims of sightings of the Loch Ness Monster, also known as 'Nessie,' have resembled characteristics of the plesiosaur, a prehistoric marine reptile that had a long neck, small head and four flippers.
Skeptics of Nessie's existence have argued that the prehistoric plesiosaur lineage could have survived into the modern era, while believers argued that the massive reptile was able to live in the suitable freshwater environment the famed Scottish loch.
The recent discovery of the plesiosaurs fossils in the Moroccan river system now provides the suggestion that the prehistoric reptiles lived in an environment similar to loch ness.
The fossils located reportedly included bones and teeth from an estimated 9.8-foot adult plesiosaur, as well as the arm bone of a 4.9-foot baby, which indicate that the species shared a habitat with the likes of frogs, crocodiles, turtles and fish, as well as the Spinosaurus, a water-based dinosaur, according to the Mirror.
“What amazes me is that the ancient Moroccan river contained so many carnivores all living alongside each other," said Dave Martill, a professor of paleobiology at the University of Bath, who co-authored the research, via the Mirror. "This was no place to go for a swim.”
Scientists said the teeth found during the river system dig showed similarities to the heavy wear in the Spinosaurus, which supports the theory that the plesiosaur preyed on similar fish in the habitat and wasn't just passing through the freshwater areas.
"We don’t really know why the plesiosaurs are in freshwater," said Dr. Nick Longrich, a corresponding author of the research. “It’s a bit controversial, but who’s to say that because we paleontologists have always called them ‘marine reptiles’, they had to live in the sea? Lots of marine lineages invaded freshwater.”