Scientists name new fossil species after Rotting Christ

Rotting Christ
(Image credit: Natural History Museum, Luxembourg)

Doctors at the Natural History Museum in Luxembourg have decided to name a newly-discovered fossil species in honour of Sakis and Themis Tolis, the frontman and drummer of Greek black metal band Rotting Christ.

Dr. Ben Thuy and and Dr. Lea Numberger’s studies recently uncovered a new brittle-star species, and they have now bestowed the name Brezinacantha Tolis upon their discovery after the brothers who founded the Athens band, “to honour their unorthodox yet powerful approach to music.”

Roting Christ

(Image credit: Natural History Museum, Luxembourg)

“The ophiuroids described herein merit in many ways a Black-Metal-referenced name,” the scientists say. “They gathered in great numbers in a spooky, toxic environment on top of their dead predecessors’ remains.” 

“When we first saw the fossil brittle star, we immediately knew it was something exciting,” say Dr. Ben Thuy and Dr. Lea Numberger. “It turned out to be a species new to science, and so we had the privilege to name it. With the choice of the name, we wanted to combine our joint passions for science and music, and decided to honor one of our favorite bands. The new fossil belongs to an animal that lived in a dark, toxic environment in the depths of an ancient ocean, dwelling on the remains of their dead predecessors. This is pure black metal! Naming this species after Sakis and Themis Tolis is our way to issue an academic recognition of their talent and hard work. Now they own a small piece of immortality, because scientific species names are for eternity.”

Rotting Christ

(Image credit: Rotting Christ)

Sakis Tolis has responded to the honour, saying, “My deepest thanks to the paleontological community, and especially to Dr. Ben Thuy and Dr. Lea Numberger, to name a fossil under my name! This is one of the greatest honors I have received as an individual and musician and gives me power to keep on creating during these wild times. Brezinacantha Tolis can be found in the Natural History Museum in Maastricht. If you are close, have a look.”

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.