The current special exhibition at Geomuseum Faxe in Faxe, Denmark about fossils that are named after rock stars is featured at this year’s British Science Festival — which is being held September 7-12 in Newcastle — as an example of outreach in scientific exhibitions.
The British Science Festival is one of Europe’s largest celebrations of science, engineering and technology, with over 250 events, activities, exhibitions and trips taking place over a week in September, each year in a new town.
Esben Horn, founder of 10Tons Aps, which built the models, says that the reaction from the scientific community has been great, and everybody has admired his fantastic creations of the about 400 million years old worms Kingnites Diamondi (named after King Diamond) and Kalloprion Kilmisteri (named after Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister).
The background for the exhibition is the old scientific tradition that when a scientist discovers a new and unknown fossil, he gets to give it a scientific name. Some choose a name that reflects the shape of the animal, some choose a name that relates to where it’s found, and others choose to name them after their favorite rock stars. The resulting exhibition, “Heavy Metal And Punk Fossils”, explores this more amusing part of natural history by focusing on a series of bizarre fossils that all are named in honor of rock stars.
One of the pieces on display is a 420-million-year-old worm with huge jaws, which carries the name Kingnites Diamondi, named by Professor Mats Eriksson, from Lund, Sweden, after the Danish metal maestro King Diamond. Another equally old and ferocious-looking worm is named Kalloprion Kilmisteri, after Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister of MOTÖRHEAD. Other fossils that are portrayed in the exhibition are named after members of AC/DC, BAD RELIGION, SEX PISTOLS, and RAMONES. And a fiercely looking dinosaur, Masikasaurus Knopfleri, is named after Mark Knopfler from DIRE STRAITS.
The exhibition portrays the story behind the fossils, the rock stars and the scientists behind the names, and the funny anecdotes about why they choose the names they did. The exhibition is being held as a cooperation between Dr. Jesper Milàn, curator at Geomuseum Faxe and Esben Horn from 10Tons Aps, a company specializing in zoological and palaeontological reconstructions who built models for the exhibition. Professor Mats Eriksson from Lund, Sweden, Dr. Gregory Edgdecombe, Natural History Museum in London and Dr. Jingmai O’Connor from Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology in Beijing have been scientific supervisors on the project.
The exhibition opened on June 9 at Geomuseum Faxe in Denmark, where King Diamond himself took part in the festivities and exposed the model of the animal named in his honor.
Museum curator Jesper Milàn from Geomuseum Faxe says: “It has been great fun to create this exhibition together with Esben Horn, and I am very pleased about how well it has been received, both in the scientific community and among rock fans. We can defintly see an increased number of visitors wearing heavy metal t-shirts at the museum after we opened the exhibition.
“The exhibition can be seen at Geomuseum Faxe until the spring, and we are currently negotiating with the Natural History Museum in Oslo about the possibility that they can display it next summer.”