Legendary Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has been introduced to a 469 million year-old fossil which was named after him by heavy-metal loving scientists.
Scientists were so thrilled to discover the ancient eel-like marine vertebrate known as a conodont that they named it after their rock hero.
The remains of the eel-like creature, now known as ‘Drepanoistodus Iommii’ was reportedly found near a Russian river by a Scandinavian team, including palaeontologist Mats E. Eriksson.
To celebrate the occasion, Westside BID manager Mike Olley set up a surprise Facetime meeting between Tony, his fossil and Mats on the Black Sabbath bench on Broad Street.
In the video, Tony said: “It was a real shock to hear that a fossil’s been named after me. I’ve had a bit of abuse from my friends about it who’ve enjoyed calling me an old fossil, but I think it’s great, a real honour.”
Mats, who has been a fan of Black Sabbath since he was a boy, was so thrilled by his team’s discovery that he commissioned famous heavy metal painter, Joe Petagno, to create an honorary painting to mark the occasion.
The eel-like marine fossil is depicted in the painting as a giant, alien-like creature.
‘The weirdest thing that’s ever been named after me’
The Birmingham-born guitarist can be seen showing his joy in the video after being shown a photo of the fossil.
“This has to be the weirdest thing that’s ever been named after me but I’m really proud of it and I wanted to thank Mats and his team in person for being such brilliant fans,” Tony said.
Speaking to Tony from his home in Sweden, Mats said: “What an absolute honour it is to meet you. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around this. From our point of view, it’s to be regarded as nothing but a huge honour.
“The reason we do this is to have fun and to combine my love affairs with nature and with music. But this is just amazing. For me to publish academic papers is fun but talking to you is priceless.”
Mats added: “I love the painting that Joe affectionately refers to as ‘Tony Iommi conjuring an otherworldly gargantuan conodont.”
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