Dr. Mats E. Eriksson, Associate Professor of Palaeontology at the Department of Geology at Sweden’s Lund University is no stranger to hard and heavy compounds (what with digging through rock for a living). However his latest breakthrough can be attributed to a much heavier and altogether darker type of substance; naming his latest discovery, a pretty beastly prehistoric marine worm, after none other than Denmark’s legendary metal screamer, King Diamond! Dr Eriksson comments:


“A circa 420 million year old fossil organism was recently discovered from Silurian rocks of Sweden and Estonia. It is the remains of a marine worm with jaws. The critter was baptized ‘Kingnites diamondi’ in honour of Danish metal maestro King Diamond. So, in addition to his obvious place in the history of heavy metal music, Diamond now also has left an eternal imprint in science. Father of this fossil is Mats Eriksson, a metal-loving professor of palaeontology from Sweden.”



‘Kingnites diamondi’ is actually the second species of worm that the good Doctor has named after a metal musician; naming ‘Kalloprion Kilmisteri’ after Motorhead’s infamous hellraiser Lemmy Kilmister in 2006. Judging from the photo below ‘Kingnites diamondi’ looks like it was not a worm to be messed with, measuring up to half a metre (inferred) and with jaws that look as if they could make you shriek like the King himself if they were to find themselves embedded in your buttocks!


GFF, a Scandinavian journal of Earth Sciences, describes ‘Kingnites diamondi’ in detail:


“The polychaete annelid ‘Kingnites diamondi’, a new paulinitid genus and species, is described from the Silurian of Baltoscandia. Its large maxillae differ morphologically from those of all other known paulinitids, particularly in being very elongate and having conspicuous myocoele openings and posterior portions of the first maxillae (MI). Albeit rare, this polychaete taxon is highly characteristic and appears to be confined to the Wenlock–Ludlow transitional interval on Gotland, Sweden, and ranges into the upper Ludlow on Saaremaa, Estonia. All samples yielding this species derive from strata formed in proximal carbonate platform environments. The temporal and geographical distribution indicates that it first appeared in Gotland and subsequently spread north-eastwards to the present-day Saaremaa. ‘Kingnites diamondi’ adds to the list of known members of the Paulinitidae and reinforces the importance of this family, in terms of abundance and diversity, in Silurian polychaete faunas of Baltica. This is the biggest paulinitid recorded from the Silurian with an inferred body length of approximately half a metre and its diagnostic jaws may serve as a proxy for shallow water, backreef (marginal marine to lagoonal) environments”


Doctor Eriksson, we salute you sir!


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