190-Million-Year-Old Fossil Named In Honor Of ALICE COOPER

March 2, 2024

A new fossil has just been named Serpula alicecooperi in honor of the American singer and performer Alice Cooper. Alice joins several other legendary musicians like Tony Iommi (BLACK SABBATH),Lemmy (MOTÖRHEAD),King Diamond and THE ROLLING STONES, to name but a few, who all have fossils named in their honor.

Serpula alicecooperi is 190 million years old, and represents a serpulid worm, a kind of marine worm who constructed a calcific tube it lived in. They live by filtering the sea water with their crown of tentacles, and when they feel threatened, they can retract their bodies into the tube that closes with a lid. The fossil was found by amateur geologist Mette Hoftstedt in the 190-million-year-old Hasle Sandstone on the Danish Island of Bornholm and was handed over to the researchers on Geomuseum Faxe in Denmark to be studied and identified. The study describing and naming the fossil was conducted by researchers Tomas Koči from the Natural History Museum in Prague, Czech Republic, Jesper Milàn and Sten Lennart Jakobsen from Geomuseum Faxe, Denmark and Arden Basforth from the Natural History Museum of Denmark.

Milàn says: "When we studied the fossil, it quickly became clear that it was a new and unknown species of serpulid worm we were dealing with. Being both a palaeontologist and a huge fan of metal and rock music, I have always thought that if somebody deserved to have a fossil named in his honor, it should be Alice for his enormous impact on the musical scene during the last half decade, and his music has been firmly playing in the background during much of my research.

"Serpulid worms were pioneers in their particular lifestyle when they first evolved, and they became an abundant element in the ocean's ecosystems at the beginning of the Jurassic period, about 190 million years ago, and they are still around to this very day. Alice was a pioneer of the chock rock scene when he arrived during the late sixties, and he is still around to this very day."

The scientific paper is published in Bulletin Of The Geological Society Of Denmark and can be downloaded here.

Scientists have been naming species in honor of celebrities since the 18th century. According to The Conversation, the father of taxonomy, Carl Linnaeus, coined names to curry the favor (and open the purses) of rich patrons.

According to BBC, an estimated 17,000 to 24,000 animal species are identified every year. The scientists who identify the new species get to choose a name. Often they pick one that alludes to distinguishing features of the animal, or the place it is found, but some choose the name of someone they respect or admire.

Some researchers have said that naming a new species after a celebrity is a way to bring attention to spiders and other animals who are otherwise ignored.

There are plenty of other animals, plants and other fascinating bits of nature named after rock and metal musicians, including those named after Dave Mustaine (MEGADETH),METALLICA, Freddie Mercury (QUEEN) and SEPULTURA.

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