- "The Anomalies are conclusive proof that the past exists, in a fourth dimension as real and solid as those we already know. Our job is to predict and contain them."
- ―Nick Cutter[src]
|Object type||Temporal intersection|
|Appearances||See full list|
Anomalies are fourth-dimensional rifts in space and time, described as close-curve temporal-spatial intersections, which act as portals in time and space between eras throughout all of history. This idea comes from the wormhole theory in relativity. They have opened numerous times in numerous locations, mainly in Great Britain and North America.
While almost everyone who knows of the Anomalies - including the Anomaly Research Centre, Helen Cutter, Cross Photonics and Project Magnet - refer to them as Anomalies, members of the nomadic Time Tribe such as Patrick Quinn and Emily Merchant simply call them Gateways. (Episode 4.3)
Nick Cutter hypothesised that the Anomalies are somewhat like earthquakes in time which occur along temporal fault lines. (Episode 1.3) The Artifact's time map indicated that each Anomaly is where two different points in the Timeline intersect. (Episode 3.6) Evan Cross and Howard Kanan also theorised that Anomalies were similar to spikes in harmonics; they would, after opening, fade over time similar to a musical note, until they eventually decayed to the point of collapse. (Breakthrough (New World Episode 1.9)) According to Lieutenant Ken Leeds, the existence of Anomaly Spaghetti Junctions would indicate that the Anomalies are the same as the "rosen bridges" (A.K.A. wormholes) theorised by Albert Einstein. (The Sound of Thunder: Part 1 (New World Episode 1.12))
Anomalies resemble glowing shattered pieces of glass floating in mid-air; Evan Cross once speculated that the Anomalies' resemblance to explosions of shattering glass is due to the impact from the collision of the four-dimensional surfaces of time at the point where the Anomaly opens. (Breakthrough (New World Episode 1.9)) People, animals and objects can travel through Anomalies simply by passing through from one side to the other; it has also been shown that liquids and atmospheric gases can pass through Anomalies as well. (Episode 1.2, 1.3, 2.2, 2.4, 5.2, 5.4, 5.5) Sound also can travel through some Anomalies, (Episode 1.1, 1.4, 2.5, 3.4) but not through others. (Fear of Flying (New World Episode 1.3))
Anomalies each produce an extremely powerful magnetic field, which can disrupt unprotected electronic devices that come within close range of the Anomaly, (The New World (New World Episode 1.1)) and can pull ferrous objects (such as pens, keys, spanners and mobile phones) into them; their magnetic fields also cause compasses near them to go haywire. (Episode 1.1) However it is shown with the Matchroom Stadium - Spaghetti Junction Anomaly that the magnetic field is not strong enough to penetrate through the metal of a stainless steel fridge door. (Episode 1.4) It was theorised that each Anomaly's magnetic field has a unique signature caused by interference with Earth's magnetic field. (Breakthrough (New World Episode 1.9))
The Anomalies also produce radio interference on the frequency 87.6 FM, as demonstrated by the Castle Cross Shopping Mall - Cretaceous Desert Anomaly; this allows a means of detecting them. (Episode 2.1 onwards) Man-made Anomalies can also be recalibrated, which will cause them to release a gamma ray and close (though it is unknown whether this can also be done with natural Anomalies). (Episode 5.4)
Anomalies can open in any location. They can open in small spaces such as a fridge, (Episode 1.4) and through obstacles such as floors. (Episode 3.3) They can also open underwater (Episode 1.3, 2.4, Sisiutl (New World Episode 1.2)) and several feet - metres above the ground. (Episode 1.5, Fear of Flying (New World Episode 1.3))
It is possible to travel partway through an Anomaly without being sucked in; for example a person or creature can poke their face or part of their body through an Anomaly without travelling all the way through. (Episode 1.1, 2.1, 3.1, 3.4, 3.5)
The Anomalies can apparently cut across space as well as time, as creatures which were never native to the geological area of present day Great Britain have come through Anomalies into modern Britain. For example, the Dodo was only found on tropical islands around Mauritius, and Scutosaurus were located in Russia and parts of Europe. (Episode 1.1, 1.4) Also, there have been numerous examples of Anomalies which linked to locations on either side that were far apart. (Episode 3.8, 3.10, The Sound of Thunder: Part 1 (New World Episode 1.12), The Sound of Thunder: Part 2 (New World Episode 1.13))
The strength of an Anomaly weakens over time. It slowly loses its magnetic power, starts to weaken, and eventually collapses on itself and closes; although Anomalies can reopen. When an Anomaly closes, any object caught halfway through the Anomaly will be severed, with each piece on the side it was on when the Anomaly closed, as seen with a Raptor which was decapitated. (Episode 2.1) Evan Cross and Howard Kanan theorised that when open, Anomalies are similar to spikes in harmonics; they fade over time like a musical note, and eventually collapse upon decaying past a certain point. (Breakthrough (New World Episode 1.9))
Nick Cutter theorised that Anomalies are intermittent, and that when they close, they do not truly cease to exist but rather just temporarily fade. (Episode 1.3) This is supported by the fact that numerous Anomalies have reopened after closing. Helen Cutter once said that there are Anomalies everywhere, some one just can't see. It is likely that the unseen Anomalies are simply Anomalies that are closed at the time. (Episode 3.9) Evan Cross also theorised that it can be told from an Anomaly's radiation peak whether, when an Anomaly closes, it will reopen or has closed permanently. (Babes in the Woods (New World Episode 1.7))
There are several known "freak Anomalies".
- An Anomaly can either have a fixed location on both sides; but in rare cases, one side may be unstable and thus move location. For example the present day side of one Anomaly to the Cretaceous moved from Lambeth Baths, Queen Mary Reservoir and Wakefield Road, while the Cretaceous side of the Anomaly was fixed. (Episode 1.3) Another Anomaly was first found in a jungle, then later moved into a temple chamber. (Shadow of the Jaguar) Also, an Anomaly located in Stanley Park which frequently closed and reopened was, according to Evan Cross, in a slightly different part of the park each time it reopened. (The New World (New World Episode 1.1))
- Some Anomalies vary in size; standard Anomalies are approximately the size of a car. One Anomaly in West London Hospital was only around half a metre tall, (Episode 3.3) while another in an airport was large enough to let through a Giganotosaurus. (Episode 3.4) An Anomaly to the Cretaceous in the Russian Tundra was far far larger due to the meteor responsible for the K-T Mass Extinction. (Extinction Event) The First Man-made Anomaly was no taller than one or two feet, (Episode 5.4, 5.6) while the New Dawn Anomaly was about the size of a warehouse. (Episode 5.6) The Spring River Airport - Jurassic Desert Anomaly was also about seven storeys high. (Fear of Flying (New World Episode 1.3))
- There has been one instance of an Anomaly which led to different locations, but both sides were in the exact same time period. (Fire and Water)
- At an old prison, two Anomalies linking to different time periods opened on exactly the same spot. The energy created by this opened various satellite Anomalies until the Anomalies eventually pushed each other apart using their magnetic fields.
Range in time and locations
Although many Anomalies apparently lead to locations outside Great Britain in prehistoric times, in the Present, Anomalies leading to countries other than Britain and Canada are rare; though some occur as Anomalies have opened in Ancient Egypt, (Episode 3.1) the Indian Ocean, (Episode 1.1) Peru, (Shadow of the Jaguar) Guns Island off the coast of southern Ireland, (The Lost Island) Siberia, (Extinction Event) South Africa (Fire and Water) and many other countries. (Episode 5.5)
Anomalies can be linked to any period in Earth's history besides just the Present. Anomalies have been shown linking the Permian and the Future, (Episode 1.6) the Eocene and Ancient Egypt, (Episode 3.1) the Cretaceous and the Medieval ages, (Episode 3.7) the Future and the Cretaceous, (Episode 3.10) the Cretaceous and Victorian, (Episode 5.3) the near Future and Cretaceous, and the Cretaceous and Silurian. (The Sound of Thunder: Part 1 (New World Episode 1.12), The Sound of Thunder: Part 2 (New World Episode 1.13))
The two earliest known Anomalies are two Anomalies that led to the Precambrian. (Episode 2.2, 5.5) It seems likely that the latest known Anomaly is the Anomaly which led to the home of the Future Fungus, which is speculated to be 500 million years in the Future. (Episode 3.5) The most recent Past Anomaly is the one that led to 2006, while the nearest known Future Anomaly is the one that linked the Cretaceous Spaghetti Junction to London in the near Future. (The Sound of Thunder: Part 2 (New World Episode 1.13))
Anomalies to the Future appear to be rare, as Helen Cutter never mentioned one before discovering the Future Predator, (Episode 1.6) and the ARC have encountered considerably less Anomalies linking the Future and the Present than the Present and prehistoric eras.
- See main article: Timeline
It has been demonstrated that interference with the Past can alter the Future in unspecified ways. It is also apparent that when history is changed, anyone or anything that was in the Past when the change occurred is unaffected. (Episode 1.6, 4.1, 4.7, 5.6, Truth (New World Episode 1.8), The Sound of Thunder: Part 2 (New World Episode 1.13)) It would also appear that if and when the Timeline is changed, this can cause numerous Anomalies to close. (The Sound of Thunder: Part 2 (New World Episode 1.13))
It is possible for two Anomalies to open on the exact same spot, but they will then try to use their magnetic properties to separate from one another via magnetic repellence. The magnets work by repelling and attracting the other Anomaly towards each other with equal force, making it stand in the same place until one force wins. This force seems only occur when the Anomalies become more frequent in preparation for Convergence.
The energy expelled from the Anomalies as a result of this process will create numerous satellite Anomalies within the area. Each satellite Anomaly is a smaller, silver-coloured, weaker version of one of the two original Anomalies, and is so weak that the Anomaly Detection Device cannot pick it up. Satellite Anomalies also appear to only last for a few minutes each at the most before ceasing to exist. Going into a satellite Anomaly will send one out through the original Anomaly, and vice versa.
It also appears that the side of the original Anomaly one will come out of by going through a satellite Anomaly will be the side that is in the same time period as the satellite Anomalies; effectively making it impossible to return through the Anomaly until the two Anomalies separate.
It is also known that when two Anomalies open on the exact same spot, whenever they are locked with an Anomaly Locking Mechanism they will just unlock until they separate. Eventually, one of the two Anomalies will be able to push the other Anomaly around five feet away using its magnetic field. Once the two Anomalies have separated, all of the satellite Anomalies will cease to exist. (Episode 4.7)
Anomalies appear to have some effects on and involving weather, as a massive storm occurred on Guns Island at the time when six Anomalies opened there, and it is believed that the storm may have been what caused the Anomalies to open. (The Lost Island)
It is also known that if and when a large enough man-made Anomaly is created during Convergence, then that Anomaly will begin to cause atmospheric changes which will quickly worsen over time. If the Anomaly's effects on Earth's atmosphere are not stopped, then the atmospheric changes will alter the planet's climate and weather patterns greatly to the point that the planet's surface will be reduced to an inhospitable wasteland. The only way to halt and stop the atmospheric changes is by destabilising and closing the Anomaly. (Episode 5.5)
Unlike natural Anomalies, man-made Anomalies are stable, so they can't close on their own like natural Anomalies; though they do at first need power to stay open until they become powerful enough to no longer need the machine that made it in order to stay open.
If two man-made Anomalies are merged, they will de-stabilise and close. (Episode 5.6) Also, man-made Anomalies can be recalibrated to release gamma rays; the Anomaly will turn white and begin to collapse, and will eventually close and release a burst of gamma radiation; though it is uncertain if this also happens when a natural Anomaly is recalibrated in this manner.
- Main article: Spaghetti Junction
A Spaghetti Junction is a nickname given by Connor Temple to an area in which dozens of Anomalies are simultaneously open; there are three - four known Spaghetti Junctions. (Episode 1.4,The Lost Island, Extinction Event, The Sound of Thunder: Part 1 (New World Episode 1.12), The Sound of Thunder: Part 2 (New World Episode 1.13)) Evan Cross and Ken Leeds theorised that Spaghetti Junctions were the temporal junctions that string theories about wormholes had predicted the existence of. (The Sound of Thunder: Part 1 (New World Episode 1.12))
Prediction and control
Helen Cutter claimed to know the locations of the Anomalies before they open and hinted that she could control them. Yet the evidence she provided for her claims proved contradictory.
After Helen was tracked down by Nick in the Cretaceous, she said she was staying away from Nick and the present because she did not want to reveal the secret of the Anomalies to the world; something she knew Nick would be compelled to do. She also claimed to have a "key to time". (Episode 1.3) She later told James Lester that she was aware of where the Anomalies would open before they actually did. (Episode 1.4)
However, when the Future Predator came through the Forest of Dean - Permian Hills Anomaly, she 'used' the team to find the Permian - Future Anomaly, suggesting that she couldn't control them or locate them after all. At one point when Helen Cutter was in the Cretaceous, she had a device resembling the handheld Anomaly trackers later made by Connor Temple. (Episode 2.2) It seems likely that this was a radio used to track Anomalies, as the Time Tribe were known to use these. (Episode 4.6)
Anomaly detectionAnomalies cause radio interference on the 87.6 FM wavelength. (Episode 2.1) When the ARC discovered this, Connor Temple created the Anomaly Detection Device. (Episode 2.3) This new equipment allowed the ARC to track any new Anomalies within seconds of them opening. Connor also created handheld Anomaly trackers to be used by the team in the field. Both these devices showed great accuracy and allowed the ARC to track Anomalies much more efficiently.
It is possible to contain and even move Anomalies using magnetic fields (e.g. by surrounding an Anomaly with a "cage" constructed of magnetite), even when the Anomaly is closed. This occurred when the Ancient Egyptians discovered an Anomaly and put it in a magnetite cage called the Sun Cage to contain it. (Episode 3.1) Connor later created a magnetic case with similar properties to the Sun Cage in order to be able to move the First Man-made Anomaly from the ARC. (Episode 5.6)
It is possible to temporarily prevent the passage of matter through an Anomaly by the application of an electric current. (Episode 3.1) Connor Temple used this discovery to create a device which "locks" Anomalies by reversing their polarity. Repeating the process returns the Anomaly to its natural unlocked state. A "locked" Anomaly appears as a glowing sphere composed of glass-like shards, in contrast to the "frozen explosion" an unlocked Anomaly appears as. (Episode 3.1 onwards)
However, attempting to close a locked Anomaly with the Anomaly Opening Device will only unlock it (though the only Anomaly Device used for this was damaged, so it's uncertain if the same thing would have happened had an undamaged Opening Device been used), (Episode 4.1) and a fused Anomaly cannot be locked because of the extra magnetic energies shared by the two Anomalies. (Episode 4.7)
Near the end of his life, Nick Cutter constructed a physical 3D model which allowed him to predict the location (though not the time) at which some Anomalies could open. This "Matrix" appeared to work, since it accurately predicted the Abandoned House Anomaly. (Episode 3.2) However, Cutter was the only person who understood it. With Cutter's death and the destruction of the Matrix model in Helen's attack on the ARC, the Matrix was effectively rendered useless. (Episode 3.3)
In the Future, the ARC created an artifact that could project a hologram of every Anomaly and what points in time they connect to. The entire map could be shown on a Future Computer if the Artifact was plugged into it. The Artifact was of great interest both to Christine Johnson and Helen Cutter. Helen stole and later smashed the Artifact, which presumably left the team unable to use it. (Episode 3.10)
Evan Cross theorised that whenever an Anomaly closes, it can be told from the Anomaly's radiation peak whether it will reopen or has closed permanently. (Babes in the Woods (New World Episode 1.7)) He and Howard Kanan later came up with another theory that Anomalies were similar to spikes in harmonics, and managed to invent a device based on this theory that could perfectly predict how much longer an Anomaly would stay open before closing. (Breakthrough (New World Episode 1.9), The Sound of Thunder: Part 1 (New World Episode 1.12))
Anomaly opening and closing
In the Future in which the ARC created Future Predators which hunted Humanity to extinction, a device able to manipulate Anomalies was created, apparently as a result of the ARC's Anomaly research. It could lock, close and open Anomalies, but the device remote had to be plugged into a giant touch-enabled computer along with the Artifact. This way, the Matrix would be download into the device, making it possible for it to know where Anomalies were.
When diesel fuel is brought near an Anomaly, it can cause it to flunctuate and frequently become too weak to allow anything through. (Episode 4.5) It is also known that the New Dawn Machine could close all natural Anomalies open at the time of the machine's activation. (Episode 5.5)
It appears that if a machine that creates and sustains a man-made Anomaly is deactivated before the Anomaly can grow powerful enough to stay open without the machine, then the Anomaly will close. (Episode 5.4, 5.6) Recalibrating a man-made Anomaly will also cause it to turn white and eventually start to collapse, and to ultimately close and release a gamma ray; (Episode 5.4) and merging two attuned man-made Anomalies will cause them to become unstable and close. (Episode 5.6)
When the North and South Poles switch places once every few million years, the process causes dozens - hundreds of Anomalies to open up all over the planet as part of the transition process. It is known that creating a powerful enough man-made Anomaly during Convergence will stop Convergence and cause all of the Anomalies that have opened for the process to close. (Episode 5.6)
In the Future, Anomalies became a permanent fact of life and over thousands of years, the magnetic energy contained within them manifested a new species, known as Chaos, the Anomaly creature.
Behind the scenes
- In Series 3, when Anomalies are bigger or smaller than standard-sized ones, the shards are bigger or smaller as well. But in Series 5 and Fear of Flying, the shards of bigger Anomalies are the same size as with standard Anomalies.
- It was shown in Primeval: New World that Anomalies cause interference in mobile phones due to their magnetic fields. However, in numerous episodes of both New World and the original Primeval show, phones were used within feet of Anomalies and appeared to be unaffected.
- In Fear of Flying, sound apparently could not travel through Anomalies. However, it was shown otherwise in Episode 1.1, 1.4, 2.5 and 3.4.
- The effect for the Anomalies have changed throughout the franchise. In Series 2, the Anomalies were wider and less thin than in Series 1. In Series 3, the Anomalies also lacked the flashing effect they had in the other series when something went through them. The colour of the Anomalies changed from a white sort of colour to gold between Series 1 and 2, and the shards seemed a bit bigger. In Series 3, the colour of the shards was changed to a silver colour from the same gold as the light at the core of the Anomalies in Series 2. In Series 4 the shards shrink again, even smaller. The core of the Anomalies also appears more orange in colour in Series 4, rather than white or gold. The Anomalies also contain lots of small shards, instead of a smaller amount of large shards. In Primeval: New World, some of the Anomalies get larger and wider again, and some are the original white/bright grey colour, while others are gold/yellow. The shards making up the Anomalies are also still approximately the same small size as in Series 4 and 5, if not smaller.
- The effect for an Anomaly closing appears to have undergone some changes. In Episode 1.1, the Anomaly shimmers and then blinks out of existence; in Episode 1.3, the Anomaly begins to grow brighter and the shards around it move faster and faster, until the Anomaly collapses in on itself; in Episode 1.5 the Anomaly just flashes and collapses in on itself; in Episode 1.6 and 2.1, the Anomaly briefly expands, then blinks out of existence; in Series 2 and 3, the shards that make up the Anomalies begin to pulsate slowly, until the Anomaly abruptly collapses in on itself; in Episode 5.6, the shards making up the New Dawn Anomaly start spinning around the core of the Anomaly extremely fast, until the Anomaly eventually implodes in a burst of wind and light; and in The New World, the core of the Anomaly started to blink and flicker until the Anomaly abruptly collapsed on itself.