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Stranger than fiction: Fossilized bird named in honor of punk rocker Greg Graffin

Greg Graffin, a man known best as the singer for punk band Bad Religion, will have an ancient fossilized bird named after him.

The bird was discovered and named by Dr. Jingmai O’Connor, according to this month’s Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society in London.

The discovery, made in the Gansu Province of northwestern China, will be called Qiliania graffini.

For anyone familiar with Graffin or his work, this honor is not very surprising. When he’s not on stage singing songs about thought-provoking issues, Graffin’s at UCLA or Cornell University teaching about evolutionary biology.

Graffin received his Ph.D. in zoology from Cornell University and has written books about evolution and social issues.

According to Bad Religion’s website, the reason the scientists named the bird in his honor is simple:

The species name is in honor of Dr. Gregory Graffin, PhD: paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, professor, rock star, and inspiration to numerous budding and established scientists around the world.

On a personal note, it was Graffin’s music, writings and teachings that fueled my interest in evolution and science in general, so I agree that it’s apt an important find like the Qiliania graffini should be named after him.

One of the reasons it’s important is because the bird “reveals new information regarding enantiornithine anatomy, evolution, and diversity.” Enantiornithine are a species of extinct, primitive birds mainly from the Mesozoic Era.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.

1 Comment

  1. That is quite an honor for Mr. Graffin! Cheers!

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