Rock & Roll Animals: 22 Weird Creatures Named After Superstars - Rolling Stone
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Rock & Roll Animals: 22 Weird Creatures Named After Superstars

Freddie Mercury, Jerry Garcia, the Beatles and more artists have inspired the scientific names of rare species

bob marley rock animal

Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns; Y-zo via Wikipedia Commons

Scientists recently named a new Caribbean fish parasite Gnathia marleyi, after reggae legend Bob Marley. (Pictured at left, inset, is a similar parasite.) As it turns out, Marley isn't the only star to be immortalized forever in the annals of zoology. Check out these other animals who were named after some rock & roll bigwigs – just wait until you see the critter version of the Fab Four.

By Jessica Misener

mark knopfler

Bob King/Redferns

Masiakasaurus knopfleri (Mark Knopfler, small dinosaur)

The paleontologists who discovered this small predatory theropod dinosaur spent a lot of time jamming out to Dire Straits – so they named it after the band's distinctive baritone lead singer. Notable for having its front teeth pointing straight outward rather than down, Masiakasaurus lived in the time before microwave ovens and custom kitchen deliveries, but still probably got its prehistoric money for nothing and its lady dinosaurs for free.

• 100 Greatest Guitarists (David Fricke's Picks): Mark Knopfler
• Mark Knopfler: Photo Gallery
• Dire Straits: The Rolling Stone Interview

elvis presley rock animal

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Preseucoila imallshookupis (Elvis Presley, gall wasp)

Gall wasps never had as much swagger as this one. Scientists created a new genus, Preseucoila, based on the name "Presley" – and just to make things extra clear, they named the species after one of the King's signature hits.

• The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time: Elvis Presley
• The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time: Elvis Presley
• Photos: Young Elvis Presley 

james taylor carole king rock animal

Mike Coppola/FilmMagic

Anacroneuria taylori and Anacroneuria carole (James Taylor and Carole King, insects)

Decades after James Taylor and Carole King's first performance together at the Troubador, the singer-songwriters have been immortalized as two closely related species of stoneflies. "You've Got a Friend," indeed.

• The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time: James Taylor 
• The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time: James Taylor
• The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Carole King's Tapestry

james brown rock animal

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Funkotriplogynium iagobadius (James Brown, mite)

In 1997, some mite researchers gave a new species a Latin name that cleverly disguised a tribute to the hardest working man in show business. (Iago = "James," badius = "brown.") It's the funkiest microscopic insect on earth.

• The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time: James Brown
• The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time: James Brown
• Being James Brown: Rolling Stone's 2006 Story

keith richards rock animal

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Perirehaedulus richardsi (Keith Richards, trilobite)

Trilobites – an extinct class of sea-living arthropods that died out 250 million years ago – have some of the most rock & roll names in biological history. This species was named after the Rolling Stones' legendary guitarist.

• The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time: Keith Richards 
• Keith Richards on His Remarkable New Memoir, Life
• The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street 

simon and garfunkel rock animals

GAB Archive/Redferns

Avalanchurus simoni and Avalanchurus garfunkeli (Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, trilobites)

the beatles rock animals

Harry Hammond/V&A Images/Getty Images

The Trilo-Beatles

425 million years ago, a less-handsome version of the Fab Four roamed the earth as prehistoric ocean dwellers. Avalanchurus lennoni (John Lennon) and Avalanchurus starri (Ringo Starr) belonged to the same genus as their Simon & Garfunkel-named friends, while Struszia harrisoni (George Harrison) and Struszia mccartneyi (Paul McCartney) came from a different genus. Together, they comprised one of the greatest bands in evolutionary history.

• The 100 Greatest Beatles Songs
• The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time: The Beatles 
• The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

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