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It’s official: Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers are literally fossils

A paleontologist at the University of Iowa has named newly discovered fossils after Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers. (St. John’s Arts & Culture Centre)

Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers have been forever immortalized — in fossil form. 

Thanks to a professor of paleontology at the University of Iowa, two newly discovered fossils have been named after the legendary trio, who have been entertaining audiences at home in Newfoundland and Labrador — and far beyond — for decades. 

The 460-million-year-old trilobite species will be known as Oenonella wasisnamei and Oenenella otherfellersorum

Jonathan Adrain, originally from Alberta, was introduced to the music of Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers while spending summers in Newfoundland in the ’90s.

“I had done work in Newfoundland and western Newfoundland on four separate summers,” said Adrain. “On the 1996 trip, we stopped at a gas station and bought a cassette of the Makin’ for the Harbour album. I just played it nonstop for the rest of the trip. So every time I’ve been back in Newfoundland with my students to do fieldwork, Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers has been the soundtrack.”

The two trilobites were discovered near the town of Main Brook, south of St. Anthony. 

A trilobite, extinct for 250 million years, was a marine arthropod that lived at the bottom of the ocean that looked quite like a horseshoe crab. The fossils discovered were some of the smallest adult trilobites that Adrain has ever found. 

A Trilobite fossil
The 460-million-year-old trilobite species, similar to the one pictured here, will be known as Oenonella wasisnamei and Oenenella otherfellersorum, thanks to Jonathan Adrain. (Submitted by Andie Bulman)

While aging performers are often jokingly referred to as fossils, Adrain said, naming the trilobites after the band is actually his way of paying tribute.

“I’ve always named species after all sorts of strange things, but it’s always an act of homage,” said Adrain. “It’s always someone that means something, or has been sort of along with me for a bit in my life.”

Even the trilobites selected to honour the group were chosen for a specific reason.

Normally, Adrain explained, he would name a different type of species after each member of a band. 

“I was searching for a couple of really nice, closely related species. Because the band’s name itself is sort of a little joke, I was looking for two species I could do the same sort of joke with.”

Among other people Adrain has named fossils after: members of the Edmonton Oilers, the Beatles, drag queens and even a taxi driver who didn’t charge him for his trip to the airport.

The musical trio, consisting of Kevin Blackmore, Wayne Chaulk and Ray Johnson, released its first album in 1986. (St. John’s Arts & Culture Centre)

Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers now find themselves on that list.

Decades after first hearing the band’s music, Adrian still holds them near and dear to his heart. His favourite song is Where the Mountains Meets the Bay.

“The funny stuff is great, but there are so many, very deeply affecting songs. That’s the one that’s really stayed with me.”

Wayne Chaulk, one of the Other Fellers, said he was shocked when he heard — via an email from Kevin Blackmore, a.k.a. Buddy Wasisname — that he’s now a fossil.

“I got a crazy email from my buddy Kevin informing me that we’ve now reached the pinnacle of fame,” he said with a laugh. “You don’t get any better than that, b’y!”

Chaulk said the honour is one of the most unique he’s received in 37 years with the band.

“Whenever somebody recognizes you in some way for what you accomplish, when they show gratitude, when they come forward with a symbol of thanks, that’s a feather in your cap, said Chaulk. That feels good.”

LISTEN | Jonathan Adrain explains naming newly discovered fossils after Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers: 

St John’s Morning Show7:46Buddy Wasisname immortalized as fossils

We hear from a paleontologist who’s named two newly discovered trilobite species after Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Larbador

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