10 Fossils Named for Rock Stars

Fossils rock. So much so that paleontologists have named a whole menagerie of prehistoric critters after their favorite musicians. Here’s a rundown of some of the fantastic prehistoric species named in honor of rock stars.

1. Masiakasaurus knopfleri

Picking away at ancient rock all day can be a little tedious, so paleontologists often bring music out into the field to help the days go faster. Some songs seem to be luckier than others. Paleontologists working in the 70 million year old rock of Madagascar kept finding lots of bones of a dog-sized predatory dinosaur whenever they put Dire Straits on the radio—so when it was time to name the snaggletoothed dinosaur (above), they dubbed it Masiakasaurus knopfleri in honor of the band’s singer, Mark Knopfler.

2. Qiliania graffini

This feathered dinosaur is named after Bad Religion frontman Greg Graffin. Belonging to an extinct group of avians with teeth and claws called enantiornithes, the 120 million year old Qiliania graffini is yet another species that confirms the fact that birds are dinosaurs.

3. Barbaturex morrisoni

At about six feet long, the 50 million year old iguana Barbaturex was the biggest plant-eating lizard of all time. Such superlative size requires a fitting name. Since The Doors’ Jim Morrison once proclaimed himself The Lizard King, paleontologists thought adding his name as a species epithet was the perfect way to highlight the lizard’s impressive girth.

4. Kingnites diamondi

Vertebrates aren’t the only hard-rocking fossils. Danish rocker King Diamond inspired the name of Kingnites diamondi, a 420 million year old worm that grew to 20 inches and had a nasty set of piercing mouthparts.

5. The Punk Trilobites

Trilobites were relatively mild-manned invertebrates, crawling over the prehistoric seabottom and rolling up into a ball when threatened. But there is one group that has a bit more edge. All the species in trilobite genus Arcticalymene are named after the Sex PistolsA. jonesi, A. matlocki, A. cooki, A. vicious, and A. rotteni. The Ramones got their turn, too, while trilobites named Mackenziurus joeyi, M. johnnyi, M. deedeei, and M. ceejayi.

6. Mesoparapylocheles michaeljacksoni

This 100 million year old hermit crab wasn’t known for doing the moonwalk or "Thriller" dance. Instead, paleontologists discovered the Cretaceous crustacean on the same day as they learned of Michael Jackson’s death and named it Mesoparapylocheles michaeljacksoni in honor of the deceased pop idol.

7. Amaurotoma zappa

Fossil snails are a bit of an acquired taste. They’re often small and don’t have the celebrity status of megamammals or dinosaurs. Perfect, then, that the 300 million year old snail from Nevada was dubbed Amaurotoma zappa in honor of musical underdog Frank Zappa.

8. Gagadon minimonstrum

Some paleontologists go all out with their clever names. On the basis of a fossil jaw, researchers Richard Stucky and Herbert Covert named a new, 50 million year old hoofed mammal Gagadon minimonstrum. The official paper says that the species name refers to the small and complex teeth of the mammal, but we all know that the name translates to Lady Gaga’s “Little Monster.”

9. AC/DC Millipedes

Paleontologist Gregory Edgecombe has a habit of naming fossils for his favorite musical acts. Not only did he dub the Sex Pistols and Ramones trilobites, but in a 1998 paper [PDF], he named a pair of 410 million year old millipedes after the famous AC/DC brothers Malcolm and Angus Young—Maldybulakia malcolmi and M. angusi, respectively. Imagine the on-stage histrionics if Angus had as many legs as his prehistoric namesake.

10. Jaggermeryx

This 19 million year old mammal probably didn’t have moves like Jagger, but it did have lips like him. A set of tiny holes around the jaw of Jaggermeryx, a distant cousin of today’s hippos, indicate that it probably had unusually fleshy and sensitive lips. The fossil record is as yet unclear on whether this swamp-dwelling beast could get any satisfaction.

Everything You Need to Know About Record Store Day

The unlikely resurgence of vinyl as an alternative to digital music formats is made up of more than just a small subculture of purists. Today, more than 1400 independent record stores deal in both vintage and current releases. Those store owners and community supporters created Record Store Day in 2007 as a way of celebrating the grassroots movement that’s allowed a once-dying medium to thrive.

To commemorate this year’s Record Store Day on Saturday, April 21, a number of stores (a searchable list can be found here) will be offering promotional items, live music, signings, and more. While events vary widely by store, a number of artists will be issuing exclusive LPs that will be distributed around the country.

For Grateful Dead fans, a live recording of a February 27, 1969 show at Fillmore West in San Francisco will be released and limited to 6700 copies; Arcade Fire’s 2003 EP album will see a vinyl release for the first time, limited to 3000 copies; "Roxanne," the Police single celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, will see a 7-inch single release with the original jacket art.

The day also promises to be a big one for David Bowie fans. A special white vinyl version of 1977’s Bowie Now will be on shelves, along with Welcome to the Blackout (Live London ’78), a previously-unreleased, three-record set. Jimmy Page, Frank Zappa, Neil Young, and dozens of other artists will also be contributing releases.

No store is likely to carry everything you might want, so before making the stop, it might be best to call ahead and then plan on getting there early. If you’re one of the unlucky vinyl supporters without a brick and mortar store nearby, you can check out, which will be selling the special releases online.

Henson Company
Pop Culture
Jim Henson's Labyrinth Is Being Adapted Into a Stage Musical
Henson Company
Henson Company

More than 30 years after its cinematic debut, Labyrinth could be hitting the stage. In an interview with Forbes, Jim Henson's son and Henson Company CEO Brian Henson shared plans to transform the cult classic into a live musical.

While the new musical would be missing David Bowie in his starring role as Jareth the Goblin King, it would hopefully feature the soundtrack Bowie helped write. Brian Henson says there isn't a set timeline for the project yet, but the stage adaptation of the original film is already in the works.

As for a location, Henson told Forbes he envisions it running, "Not necessarily [on] Broadway, it could be for London's West End, but it will be a stage show, a big theatrical version. It’s very exciting."

Labyrinth premiered in 1986 to measly box office earnings and tepid reviews, but Jim Henson's fairytale has since grown into a phenomenon beloved by nostalgic '80s kids and younger generations alike. In the same Forbes interview, Brian Henson also confirmed the 2017 news that a long-anticipated Labyrinth sequel is apparently in development. Though he couldn't give any specifics, Henson confirmed that, "we are still excited about it but the process moves very slowly and very carefully. We're still excited about the idea of a sequel, we are working on something, but nothing that's close enough to say it's about to be in pre-production or anything like that."

While fans eagerly await those projects to come out, they can get their fix when the film returns to theaters across the U.S. on April 29, May 1, and May 2. Don't forget to wear your best Labyrinth swag to the event.

[h/t Forbes]


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