29th August 2023 0 By Jon Deaux

AVATAR has been immortalized as a fossil from Southern Sweden; discovered by Dr. Ben Thuy, a​​ paleontologist at the Luxembourg Natural History Museum. This fossil is now known as Ophiocoma avatar. Some 80 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed our planet, southern Sweden was located on the shores of a subtropical sea. One particular location, the old quarries at Ivö Klack, exposes an exceptional palaeo-environment that is only rarely preserved in the fossil record: a rocky shore with oyster-encrusted boulders. The mud that accumulated between these boulders millions of years ago contains the fossil remains of the animals that lived in and around the rocky shore. One of these animals is the brittle star named after AVATAR: Ophiocoma avatar

Brittle star skeletons tend to fall apart very quickly after death. As a result, most brittle-star fossils consist of tiny skeletal fragments that are collected with the sieve. The original fossil of Ophiocoma avatar is a fragment from the arm skeleton that carried the long arm spines. The AVATAR brittle star belongs to a genus that nowadays lives along tropical and subtropical shores. They are known to hide under rocks and in crevasses during the daytime and emerge at night to collect food particles with their spiny arms. A remarkable feature of living Ophiocoma species is that many of them are capable of sight, without even having eyes or a brain! They can literally see their entire body surface, and some even change color between day and night as part of a sunglass effect. Whether the AVATAR brittle star exhibited the same features is impossible to determine based on fossils alone. What we can say, however, is that the Ophiocoma avatar is by far the oldest known representative of this exciting group of brittle stars.

The name Ophiocoma avatar, is valid for eternity. AVATAR are now a part of the Earth’s history, of the palaeontological heritage of Sweden, and has gained a small piece of immortality.

The heavy metal ‘n’ roll, dark, madcap visionaries collectively known as AVATAR, are having a banner year in 2023 since the release of their latest album Dance Devil Dance, out via Black Waltz Records and distributed by Thirty Tigers. 

They’ve achieved their first #1 single with ‘The Dirt I’m Buried In‘. The track has surged itself to #1 on Mediabase’s Active Rock Chart, and on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Chart, the single rises to #1 on its 31st week, making it the longest trek to #1 in 20 years.

On the number one single and fossil discovery, vocalist Johannes Eckerström comments: 
“If you told the 16-year-old me that we would hit the top of the US radio charts, I’d ask you what you’re smoking. If you then proceeded to tell me that a fossil would be named after us, I’d ask you what you’re smoking, and if you could share. Hitting the charts was never a priority, but now that we’re here I’m grateful. It shows the reach of what we’re doing and it is baffling. The fossil shows something else. That to me is a sign of people truly making our music a part of their lives. It’s a true honor. A beautiful gift. All we can say is thank you. We fully intend to keep earning your participation, over and over again.”

Band Members:
Johannes Eckerström – vocals
Jonas Jarlsby – guitars
Tim Öhrström – guitars
Henrik Sandelin – bass
John Alfredsson – drums

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