In the never ending mashup of cool nerds and music enthusiasts, a group of scientists from the University of Bristol in the UK and the Natural History Museum in London have named a newly discovered species of particularly muscular fossil fireworms after D.C. hardcore punk rocker (who has worn many creative hats throughout the decades), Henry Rollins.
During a study of the fossilized remains of the Rollinschaeta myoplena (fossilization is a rare event in nature when it comes to worms) the team was able to determine the species was a close relative of earthworms and leeches as well as a member of the “fireworm” (or “Amphinomidae”) family. All of which (unlike Mr. Rollins), have soft bodies. Comparatively speaking, this worm’s got a six-pack, in worm terms.
The fossilized remains of Rollinschaeta myoplena
According to Greg Edgecombe of the Natural History Museum, (the co-author of the study) this was the first time that “any fossil has been identified by its muscle anatomy.” Sadly, the Rollinschaeta is extinct so we can’t all run out and start a new hardcore punk rock worm colony in our basements.
No word on what Rollins thinks of all this, but he joins a growing list of musicians who have had animals speciesnamed after them like Lou Reed, whose name is now synonomous with a species of velvet spider known as Loureedia, David Bowie provided the namesake for a rare type of Malaysia spider, Heteropoda davidbowie, and Frank Zappa who had the distinct honor to have a jellyfish named after him, the Phialella zappai.
Zappa has an even stranger claim to scientific immortality: a type of bacteria that causes pimples was dubbed Propionibacterium zappae:
Loureedia annulipes, an underground-dwelling genus of velvet spider discovered in Israel
‘Spider from Mars’: Heteropoda davidbowie, discovered in Malaysia in 2009.