Extinct Monster Worm Named After CANNIBAL CORPSE Bassist

February 21, 2017

In a new study published in Scientific Reports ("Earth's Oldest 'Bobbit Worm' – Gigantism In A Devonian Eunicidan Polychaete") by Mats E. Eriksson of Lund University, Sweden, Luke A. Parry of Bristol University, U.K., and David M. Rudkin of Royal Ontario Museum, Canada, an extraordinary new species of polychaetes (bristle worms; the marine relatives of leeches and earthworms) is described from Canada.

The new species, Websteroprion Armstrongi, has a unique morphology and possessed the largest jaws recorded from the entire fossil record, reaching over one centimetre in length while usually being in the mm-size range. Investigation of the relationship between body and jaw size suggests that this animal achieved a body length in excess of a meter, which is comparable to that of extant "giant eunicid" species, colloquially referred to as "Bobbit worms" (the colloquial name is bizarrely enough derived from the infamous "Lorena and John Wayne Bobbit story." Don't know it? Well, Google it!).

Gigantism in animals is an alluring and ecologically important trait, usually associated with advantages and competitive dominance. It is, however, a poorly understood phenomenon among marine worms and has never before been demonstrated in deep time based on fossil material. The new species demonstrates a unique case of polychaete gigantism in the Palaeozoic, some 400 million years ago.

As suggested by Rudkin, the species epithet honors Derek K. Armstrong, who collected the material in 1994. The new genus name, Websteroprion, however honors Alex Webster; bass player of death metal pioneers CANNIBAL CORPSE. The study was headed by paleontology Professor Eriksson, who also happens to be a "metalhead," and has previously named fossil species after both Lemmy Kilmister and King Diamond. Along those same lines, second author PhD student Parry recently named a muscular fossil polychaete after Henry Rollins. Being die-hard fans of Webster's extraordinary bass playing technique and the music of CANNIBAL CORPSE, Eriksson and Parry found it suitable to honor Webster with this extinct monster worm. In the article, the authors explain the name by stating that it is "named after Alex Webster — a 'giant' of a bass player — combined with 'prion' meaning saw". They also conclude that this primordial marine giant must have been fierce and creepy looking, which fits well with the amusingly graphic lyrics of Webster's band.


Find more on Cannibal corpse
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).