469 million-year-old fossil named after Tony Iommi

“This has to be the weirdest thing that’s ever been named after me,” the heavy metal legend says.

One of the founders of heavy metal, Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has achieved more in his lifetime than most mortals dream of. Taking the example of his own fragrance – designed in collaboration with Xerjoff and Sergio Momo in 2021 – the bloke’s honestly just completing side quests at this point.

And marking another totally unnecessary – but totally deserved – feather in his cap, he’s just been presented with a sculpture of a 469 million-year-old fossil that’s named after him.

The original fossil – an eel-like marine vertebrae – was discovered in 2021 by palaeontologist and heavy metal nut Mats Eriksson, who named it after his hero. Of course, he couldn’t name such a finding ‘Tony Iommi’ – you’ve got to give it a Latin name, apparently – so he settled for the second-best option, ‘Drepanoistodus Iommii’. To be fair, that rolls off the tongue a little better.

And two years later, Eriksson’s naming decision has paid off, because he just got the opportunity to head to Birmingham’s Velvet Music Rooms from his home in Sweden to present Iommi with a life-sized model of the fossil, created by scultor Esben Horn.

“When I first heard about this, it was a real shock to hear that a fossil’s been named after me!” Iommi says. “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.

“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. It was great to meet Mats and Esben today and receive an amazing replica of the Iommi fossil.”

Tony Iommi holds a sculpture of a fossil named after him
Credit: Westside BID

The unlikely meeting between the palaeontologist and his heavy metal hero was arranged by Mike Olley, general manager of Birmingham’s Westside BID.

“I’m delighted we were able to set up a meeting between Tony, Mats and Esben, and present Tony with the model of the fossil named after him. Tony is one of Birmingham’s greatest rock heroes and this is a fantastic gesture by Mats, and Esben, to honour him in this way. He is now officially an old fossil!”

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