Wednesday, July 16, 2014

TMFW 45 - Rock Music's True Dinosaur

Today's TMFW comes to you from the northern shore of Lake Kabetogama, which is one of the chain of lakes that makes up Voyageurs National Park.  It is a pretty amazing place, with islands created from ancient volcanoes and lakes created from glaciers that dragged themselves across North America over a period of 2 million years.  The rocks that cover much of the landscape are up to 3 billion years old.  Taking it all in, my mind turned to dinosaurs.  And thinking about dinosaurs brought me to today's TMFW.  (See? It all ties together...)
As rock and roll reaches senior status - the Beatles' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show turned 50 this year, making it eligible for AARP membership - rock critics and bloggers often use the term "dinosaur" to refer to older musicians still at it.  A few examples are easily plucked from Google - The Rolling Stones, The Who, and friends; Morrissey and U2; even a whole slideshow of 20+ "dinosaur acts."
But when people refer to Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler as a dinosaur, they are literally correct.  The Masiakasaurus was discovered in 2001 in Madagascar.  It is a "small predatory theropod dinosaur," and looks to me kind of like a cuter version of a velociraptor.   When it came time to name their discovery, the crew of palaeontologists that found the dinosaur thought back to their dig.  The crew listened to a lot of Dire Straits records, and the band's music seemed to bring some good luck to their excavation.  So they gave the dinosaur the proper name of Masiakasaurus knopfleri in tribute to the inspiration they received from Knopfler's musicAnd thus, the rock dinosaur became a real one.
For those interested in dinosaurs (and in bad puns), the Masiakasaurus took its last "Walk of Life" around 70 million years ago.
BONUS FACT:  As it turns out, it seems that there weren't many dinosaurs hanging around Minnesota. So today's TMFW was inappropriately inspired. 
BONUS FACT 2:  When researching for today's TMFW, I learned that Mark Knopfler is not unique in the "real rock dinosaur" category.  In fact, he's so far from unique that today's TMFW was not only inappropriately inspired but also is just about commonplace.  Per the link above, there are also dinosaur species named after Mick Jagger (2 of them!), Keith Richards, The Sex Pistols, each of the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, and the Ramones (RIP Tommy).

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