Story at a glance

  • A group of scientists recently paid homage to legendary heavy metal guitarist Tony Iommi by naming an ancient eel after the rock icon.
  • “It is my way of honoring one of the greatest guitarists in the world in one of the greatest bands of all time,” Mats Eriksson said.
  • “He is already immortalized in the music history books and now also in science with this fossil bearing his name,” Eriksson added.

A group of scientists recently paid homage to legendary Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi — naming an ancient sea creature after the rock icon. 

Scandinavian scientists named the eel-like creature that existed around 469 million years ago Drepanoistodus Iommii, NBC News reported

“It is my way of honoring one of the greatest guitarists in the world in one of the greatest bands of all time,” Mats Eriksson, a professor of paleontology at Lund University in Sweden, told NBC. “He is already immortalized in the music history books and now also in science with this fossil bearing his name.” 

Eriksson told NBC he has named other fossil finds after various music idols.

“This allows me to combine my life-long love affairs with nature/science and music/art,” Eriksson wrote. “It doesn’t get more beautiful than that in my humble opinion.”

"Tony Iommi has been high on my list of people I wanted to honor this way,” Eriksson added in an interview with the music site Blabbermouth. “To my great pleasure, both my fellow co-authors loved the suggestion.”


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The group’s discovery of the conodont dates to a 41.6 million year era known as the Ordovician period, according to the outlet. During that time oceans were covered with the ancestors of a variety of modern species like starfish and sea urchins. 

Eriksson added that the fossil was discovered in limestone formations that were once part of the sea floor.

“The rocks we sampled at a steep Russian river bluff might not look like much to the naked eye, but they have turned out to be a treasure trove for us fossil aficionados,” Eriksson’s colleague, Anders Lindskog, told Blabbermouth.


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Published on Oct 13, 2021