German prog-metal outfit the Ocean were recently honored in the scientific community when a freshly uncovered marine fossil received classification in their name, the band revealed on Monday (Sept. 21).

The new fossil designation, Ophiacantha oceani, is a benefitting distinction for the rockers so interested in earth sciences as to have named some of their past albums after units of geological time. That's what Dr. Ben Thuy, co-author of the study that discovered the ancient fragment, pointed out.

"Musicians who so skillfully combine arts and science, composing albums like Precambrian (with songs named after the periods of the Precambrian), Pelagial (with songs named after the bathymetric subdivisions of the water column) and Phanerozoic — as well as the song 'Turritopsis Dohrnii,' referring to the immortal jellyfish from the Mediterranean — are more than deserving of being immortalized in the fossil record," he said.

The fossil comes from an ocean-dwelling animal who lived millions of years ago.

Still, the fossil itself is "only a tiny piece of the animal's skeleton" but it was "possible to compare it with other known species," explained Dr. Lea Numberger-Thuy, the lead author of the study. When a previously unknown species gets discovered, the leading scientists of the probe get to name it, as is the case here.

"Ophiacantha oceani is now officially the band's very own fossil," the French National Museum of Natural History announced. "It belongs to an ancient brittle star, a starfish-like creature that lived in the deep sea. … It was found on the island of Sicily in rocks dated to the late Cenozoic, some 2.6 million years ago, thus perfectly fitting the geological context of the Ocean's upcoming album."

That imminent effort is the Ocean's Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic, the album sequel to 2018's Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic. Last month, the band revealed the forthcoming collection's second single, "Oligocene." Phanerozoic II arrives Sept. 25 via Metal Blade Records — pre-orders are available now.

Added Dr. Ben Thuy, "As metalheads and longtime fans of the Ocean, the choice was quickly made [to name the fossil]. A band so deeply intertwined with paleontology just had to be [commemorated] by a fossil species."

Ophiacantha Oceani Fossil Named After Metal Group the Ocean

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