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A New Muscly Fossil Fireworm Named After Henry Rollins


Rollins’ muscles


I love when scientists do that, it’s funny and it shows they are not lunatic nerds isolated from the rest of the world, it shows their humanity and tastes… even musical tastes. A group of scientists from the University of Bristol in the UK and the Natural History Museum in London have to be die hard Black Flag fans, because they have named a newly discovered fossil after hardcore rocker Henry Rollins.

And what about this new species? It is a fireworm, a marine relative of earthworms and leeches from the Amphinomidae family, which was named Rollinschaeta myoplena to honor the former Black Flag singer. What a weird choice for a worm you are gonna say, but it makes perfect sense when you know that the animal was a sort of ‘muscly beast,’ since its muscle tissue were remarkably preserved for a fossil from the Cretaceous of Lebanon

Bristol PhD student Luke Parry, one of the researchers who made the discovery, told ‘Fossil muscle tissue is rare and usually not described in any detail by palaeontologists, but our discovery highlights that soft tissues preserved in fossils can offer details approaching what we can observe in living organisms. When choosing a name for our muscly beast, we decided to honor Henry Rollins, the legendary, muscular frontman of LA punk band Black Flag.’

Researchers were even able to identify different muscle groups in the worm’s muscles.

‘While carrying out the research, we informally referred to the creature as ‘the muscle worm’ due to its preservation in almost pure muscle,’ said Dr Jakob Vinther of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences. ’Part of the reason why it’s preserved so well by muscle is that it was, in real life, a very buff little worm. Fireworms are active during the daytime on coral reefs and other environments with strong currents which makes them much more muscular compared to most other bristle worms.’

It makes total sense for me, a creature identifiable by its musculature? Who else than Rollins could they have chosen?

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