Washington DC: A muscly fossil fireworm, discovered by scientists from the University of Bristol and the Natural History Museum, has been named Rollinschaeta myoplena in honour of punk musician and spoken word artist, Henry Rollins.
The fossil worm is a polychaete annelid, a marine relative of earthworms and leeches. Polychaetes are entirely soft bodied and thus seldom occur as fossils. When conditions are right, however, some remarkable and surprising details of such creatures can be preserved, as in the case of Rollinschaeta which is preserved mostly as three dimensional muscle tissue.
Luke Parry, one of the researchers who made the discovery, said that fossil muscle tissue is rare and usually not described in any detail by palaeontologists, but the discovery highlights that soft tissues preserved in fossils can offer details approaching what we can observe in living organisms. When choosing a name for the muscly beast, they decided to honour Henry Rollins, the legendary, muscular frontman of LA punk band Black Flag.
The research is published in BMC Evolutionary Biology.