Amaurotoma zappa

"Wanna eat some clams?"

OK, it's not a clam - but I like the idea of this little, long-extinct, shellfish havingthe name zappa. It gives the idea that FZ has been aroundforever. Amaurotoma zappa, you see, lived and died some 300million years ago in the mountains of Clark County, Nevada, about 60 miles north east of LasVegas. We don't yet know if it spread to picturesque postcardy mountain rangesto the south west - such as those residing between lovely Rosamond and Gorman -but we can probably assume it did, can't we?

Certainly, FZ was around in January and December 1968 when, according to LeoP. Plas Jr. who wrote all this up (in Upper Wolfcampian (?) Mollusca fromthe Arrow Canyon Range, Clark County, Nevada, published in the Journal of Paleontology, v. 46, No 2 in March 1972), specimens of thelong-extinct mollusc were collected. He doesn't appear to have been busy on theroad: no gigs are shown in January or December on the Zappateers site. Instead, it would appear he was in the studio,with the Mothers, recording Uncle Meat and Ruben & the Jets (

The description of Amaurotoma zappa which Leo gives is long and complex, involving such technical terms as 'whorl', 'protoconch' and 'sutural ramp'; 'very thin parietal inductura . . . inner lip slightly reflexed around umbilicus . . . apertural lip crenulate . . .', that sort of thing. As an alternative, here are some snapshots:

Amaurotoma zappa isn't very big. The average size of the specimens examined was less than a centimetre in height. Perhaps, like FZ's record sales, they were not large, but significant. In any event, as Leo - and I assume it was his idea - says, 'The specific name, zappa, honors Frank Zappa.'

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