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Lake is a professor of biology at Miskatonic University. It is he who first discovers the Mountains of Madness as a result of his "strange and dogged insistence on a westward - or rather, northwestward - prospecting trip" based on his discovery of strange fossils. He also discovers the ancient extraterrestrial specimens that he dubs Elder Things based on their resemblance to "certain monsters of primal myth" found in the Necronomicon. He reports that his findings in Antarctica confirm his belief "that earth has seen whole cycles of organic life before known one that begins with Archaeozoic cells," and predicts that this "will mean to biology what Einstein has meant to mathematics and physics." When eight of the Elder Things turn out to be living creatures rather than fossils, they butcher Lake and the rest of his sub-expedition. For the rest of the story, he is referred to as "poor Lake".