New fossils named after DEEP PURPLE, the drummers of MESHUGGAH and metal artist JOE PETAGNO

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Life on Earth as we know it is the result of millions of years of evolutionary change, but exactly what drives biotic innovation is generally considered impossible to grasp using fossil evidence. An international team of paleontologists recently discovered new fossils that challenge this paradigm by showing precisely when, how and why a large group of starfish-like marine invertebrates were born. And, at the same time, the researchers took the opportunity to immortalize two of their favorite metal groups.

Meet Ophiopetagno paicei and Muldaster haakei; two extinct brittle stars fossils recovered from 428 million year old rocks on the Swedish island of Gotland.

“Analyzing fossils the size of a grain of dust and delving deep into complex evolutionary models can be mind-boggling,” says Dr. Ben Thuy of the Natural History Museum Luxembourg, lead author of the study. “The music of Deep Purple and Meshuggah has really helped us to let off steam, to renew the inspiration and to calm our spirits,” he adds.

But why specifically honor the drummers of these two groups? “Ian Paice of Deep Purple (pictured above) and Tomas Haake of Meshuggah are two of the most prolific and influential drummers of all time,” says Professor Mats E. Eriksson of Lund University, co-author of the study. In addition, Dr Thuy is himself a metal drummer: “At the time of compiling our study, I recorded the drums for the next album by the Luxembourg metal band Sleepers’ Guilt, so it was an obvious choice. to honor two of my idols. ,” he explains.

Paleontologists have also included a scientific bow towards metal artwork legend Joe Petagno. “Joe is used to including zoological objects in his paintings and has provided illustrations for some of my previous fossil finds,” says Professor Eriksson. “It was high time to name a fossil in his honor,” he adds. “In my wildest fantasies (and I have a lot of them), I never thought I would have a fossil with my name and a superb brittle stars over 400 million years old. Far – over there. I am truly honored, ”says Petagno of his fossil.

Read the published article here.

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