Anomalies are fourth-dimensional rifts in space and time, described as close-curve temporal-spatial intersections, which act as portals through time and space between time periods throughout all of history. Anomalies have opened numerous times in numerous locations, primarily in Great Britain and Canada. While almost everyone who knows of the Anomalies - including the Anomaly Research Centre, Helen Cutter, Cross Photonics' SPG and Project Magnet - referred to them as Anomalies, members of the nomadic Time Tribe simply called them Gateways. (Episode 4.3)
Though little is known for certain, several theories have been put forward concerning exactly what the Anomalies are and how and why they exist. Nick Cutter hypothesised that the Anomalies are like earthquakes in time, powerful enough to break the dimensional boundaries, and that this is the reason some Anomalies occur along temporal fault lines. (Episode 1.3) Helen Cutter later supported this theory. (Extinction Event)
One source claimed that the Anomalies are like tears in a cloth (with the cloth in the Anomalies' case being time), and these tears can be closed up but will eventually open up again, and occur more and become more frequent over time.
According to Lieutenant Ken Leeds, the existence of Anomaly Spaghetti Junctions would indicate that the Anomalies are the same as "Einstein-Rosen bridges," or wormholes. (The Sound of Thunder: Part 1)
Opening and closing cycle
Anomalies naturally seem to open and appear randomly, with no apparent pattern to when they open or where, and an Anomaly can open in any location. Anomalies 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) and several feet - metres above the ground. (Episode 1.5, Fear of Flying)
Whenever an Anomaly is open, it is naturally impermanent and will close after a length of time. The Anomaly slowly loses its magnetic power, starts to weaken, and eventually collapses on itself and vanishes. 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 when an Anomaly closed on it. (Episode 2.1) The average length of time an Anomaly stays active before it closes is a matter of hours, but it can be anything between a couple minutes (Episode 2.4, Episode 3.5) and several months or years. (Series 3) 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)
While Anomalies naturally only stay open temporarily and will eventually close, an Anomaly can reopen sometime after it initially closed. Nick Cutter theorised that Anomalies are intermittent; that when they're close, they do not truly cease to exist but rather just temporarily fade before becoming active again. (Episode 1.3) Helen Cutter once said that there are Anomalies everywhere, some one just can't see, although she may have been speaking metaphorically. (Episode 3.9) Although Anomalies sometimes reopen after closing, it appears that when they do, they can on some occasions slightly shift the point in time that they link to; for example, when the Forest of Dean - Permian hills Anomaly reopened approximately six months or less in the present after it had previously closed, it linked to a matter of years earlier in the Permian that it had the previous time it was open. (Episode 1.1, 1.6)
Each Anomaly resembles a frozen explosion of glowing shattered pieces of glass floating and rotating 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) Anomalies are usually approximately the size of a car, but they can vary in size from approximately half a metre in height and width (Episode 3.3) to as large as a warehouse. (Episode 5.6)
Each active Anomaly directly connects two different points in time and space and acts as a doorway between them, with matter being able to physically pass through the Anomaly directly from one side to the other. Not only inanimate solids and living things can pass through Anomalies, but also liquids (Episode 1.3, 2.4, 5.2) and gases. (Episode 1.2, 2.2, 5.4, 5.5) Sound can travel through some Anomalies, (Episode 1.1, 1.4, 2.5, 3.4) but not through others. (Fear of Flying) It is possible to travel partway through an Anomaly without being forced all the way through to the other side; for example, a person or creature can poke their face or part of their body through an Anomaly from on end to the other without travelling all the way through. (Episode 1.1, 2.1, 3.1, 3.4, 3.5)
Anomalies produce an extremely powerful magnetic field, (Episode 1.1 et al.) which can disrupt unprotected electronic devices that come within close range of the Anomaly, (The New World) 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 was shown with the football stadium - Spaghetti Junction Anomaly that the Anomalies' magnetic field is not strong enough to penetrate through the metal of a stainless steel fridge door. (Episode 1.4) The Anomalies also produce powerful radio interference on the frequency 87.6 FM, audialised as a high, hoarse warbling sound; as demonstrated with the Castle Cross Shopping Mall - Cretaceous desert Anomaly. (Episode 2.1 onwards)
When Anomalies open, they 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, Dodos were only found on tropical islands around Mauritius, Scutosaurus were located in Russia and parts of Europe (Episode 1.1, 1.4), and Spinosaurus lived in Africa (Episode 4.1). 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, The Sound of Thunder: Part 2)
Range in time and locations
When an Anomaly is open, it directly connects two points in space in different time periods like a doorway, with time passing at the same rate on both sides. (The Sound of Thunder: Part 2) Though an active Anomaly almost always cuts across time to link two different time periods, there was one instance of an Anomaly connecting two different locations in the exact same time. (Fire and Water)
Although many Anomalies apparently lead to locations outside of Great Britain in prehistoric times, in the present, Anomalies in countries other than Britain and Canada were rare; though some occur, as Anomalies have opened in Ancient Egypt, (Episode 3.1) 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)
The two furthest-back-going Anomalies known to have been encountered in the present were two Anomalies that led to the Precambrian. (Episode 2.2, 5.5) Possibly the latest known Anomaly was one which linked to the home of the Future Fungus (which was speculated to be 500 million years in the future). (Episode 3.5) The most recent past Anomaly was the one that linked to the Victorian era; 1868, aproximately 143 years into the past from the present. (Episode 5.3)
Anomalies to the future appear to be rare; Helen Cutter, despite her years of experience with and ability to predict the Anomalies, had apparently never known of any Anomaly to the future before encountering the Future Predator incursion in the Permian, (Episode 1.6) and the ARC encountered considerably less Anomalies linking the future to the present than the present to prehistoric eras. Furthermore, the Special Projects Group never encountered any Anomalies linking to the future.
Anomalies, while seemingly highly active and common in the present, are not a phenomenon confined to there, and can link any two periods in Earth's history besides just the present and another era. Anomalies have linked the Permian and the future, (Episode 1.6) the future and the Pliocene, (Shadow of the Jaguar) the Eocene and Ancient Egypt, (Episode 3.1) the Cretaceous and the Medieval ages, (Episode 3.7) the future and the Cretaceous, the Cretaceous and the Pliocene, (Episode 3.10) the Cretaceous and the Victorian age, (Episode 5.3) and the Cretaceous and Silurian. (The Sound of Thunder: Part 1, The Sound of Thunder: Part 2)
- See main article: Timeline
Though it has rarely been known to happen, it has been demonstrated that entering an earlier time period via the Anomalies and interfering in that time can run the risk of directly or indirectly disrupting history and creating an alternate timeline from that earlier point onwards. When this happens, sometimes it will cause Anomalies that are active at the time and location of the change to history to close, (The Sound of Thunder: Part 2) while other times, any active Anomalies will remain open and will now lead to the same time period but in the new reality. (Episode 1.6) It has been demonstrated that when an alternate timeline is created, anyone or anything that is in the past, when or before history changes course, will be unaffected; effectively entering the new timeline's reality. (Episode 1.6, 4.1, 4.7, 5.6, Truth, The Sound of Thunder: Part 2)
Temporal fault lines
An Anomaly usually has a fixed location on both sides. But in rare cases, one side may be unstable and thus shift location while the Anomaly is closed, resulting in that side of the Anomaly reopening in a different location to before; while the other side of the Anomaly maintains a fixed location. These mobile Anomalies can be predicted, in that while the fluid side of the Anomaly can shift location while temporarily closed, it will always follow a temporal fault line, and thus each time the Anomaly moves and reopens it will always be in a straight line between its previous locations. (Episode 1.3)
There have been several examples of mobile Anomalies following temporal fault lines. The first known and most notable example was an underwater Anomaly; the present day side shifted location from the Crystal Palace Diving Institute, to a reservoir, then to an urban neighbourhood, while the Cretaceous side of the Anomaly maintained its location at a Cretaceous bay. (Episode 1.3) Another Anomaly in Peru was first found in a jungle, then later moved into an Incan temple chamber. (Shadow of the Jaguar) Also, a recurring Anomaly located in Stanley Park was noted by Evan Cross to be shifting its exact location in the park each time it reopened. (The New World)
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 two Anomalies towards each other with equal force, making them stand in the same place and appear to be one Anomaly until one force wins. This statistically-nigh-improbable phenomenon seems to 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 cause numerous satellite Anomalies to manifest 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 could not pick it up. Satellite Anomalies also appear to only last for a few minutes each at the most before fading away. Entering 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 can have some effects and influence on the weather. A massive storm occurred on Guns Island at the time when a myriad of Anomalies to the Mesozoic opened there, and it is believed that the storm may have been tied to the Anomalies opening or vice versa. (The Lost Island) The massive Tunguska Anomaly caused by the K-T comet impact was likewise able to disrupt weather patterns around it due to its magnetics, triggering an unnatural snowstorm. (Extinction Event)
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 natural transition process. Convergence could be unnaturally interrupted by creating a powerful enough man-made Anomaly during the process; this will stop Convergence, and cause all of the Anomalies that have opened for the process to close. (Episode 5.5)
Eccentricity, as it was called by Connor Temple, is a phenomenon in which an abnormally powerful and volatile Anomaly - one so much so that it can usually only be caused by time itself sustaining fourth-dimensional shockwaves from an apocalyptically-devastating electromagnetic event, such as the K-T impact - spreads symptoms across the temporal nexus to other, ordinary Anomalies. The symptoms of eccentricity are that when the super-Anomaly causing the phenomenon is experiencing an active cycle, all and any other Anomalies that open up anywhere worldwide around that point in time will exhibit increased electromagnetic variance and decreased stability. (Extinction Event)
A Spaghetti Junction is a nickname given by Connor Temple to an area in which dozens of Anomalies are simultaneously open; there have been three - four known Spaghetti Junctions. (Episode 1.4,The Lost Island, Extinction Event, The Sound of Thunder: Part 1, The Sound of Thunder: Part 2) Evan Cross and Ken Leeds theorised that Spaghetti Junctions are the same thing as the wormhole junctions that string theory had predicted the existence of. (The Sound of Thunder: Part 1)
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," although she was likely speaking metaphorically when she said this. (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, Helen 'used' the team to find the Permian - Future Anomaly, suggesting that she couldn't control them or locate them after all. (Episode 1.6)
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) Helen was also in possession of an Anomaly Opening Device which she'd apparently obtained from the future. (Episode 3.9)
Anomaly detectionAnomalies can be detected and tracked by radio, due to the interference they produce on 87.6 FM. (Episode 2.1) The Anomaly Detection Device was designed based upon this to detect new Anomalies and pinpoint their location within moments of said Anomalies opening, (Episode 2.3) and handheld detectors were also designed by Connor Temple to personally track and locate Anomalies in the field. Both these devices showed great accuracy and allowed the ARC to track Anomalies much more efficiently.
Another and more simple method of detecting and tracking Anomalies was by use of a wind-up radios to track the radio interference Anomalies caused. The Time Tribe used wind-up radios to find Anomalies this way, (Episode 4.6) and Helen Cutter presumably used a similar device. (Episode 2.2)
Alternatively, Anomalies could be detected and traced by their localised magnetic field, which was the theory that the Special Projects Group used to track and detect Anomalies. Based on this, the SPG invented their own Anomaly detection devices similar to the ARC's, for scanning for, detecting and locating new Anomalies. (Primeval: New World)
Due to Anomalies' magnetic properties, it is possible to contain and even move Anomalies using powerful magnetic fields (e.g. by surrounding an Anomaly with a "cage" constructed of a powerfully magnetic metal such as magnetite). Use of a magnetite cage to contain and move an Anomaly is very effective, to the point that the Anomaly will move with its magnetic cage wherever the latter goes, even when the Anomaly is closed. The earliest recorded example of a magnetite cage being used to contain an Anomaly was when the Ancient Egyptians discovered an Anomaly and put it in a magnetite cage called the Sun Cage to contain it. (Episode 3.1) The ARC were later in possession of a magnetic case with similar properties to the Sun Cage, which could be used to move Anomalies small enough for the case to fit around and contain. (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) Anomalies are referred to as "locked" when in this state that stops anything from passing through them. Connor Temple used this discovery to create a device which could lock Anomalies by reversing their polarity. Repeating the process returns the locked Anomaly to its natural unlocked state. A locked Anomaly appears as a glowing sphere composed of the glass-like shards, in contrast to the 'frozen explosion' of glass that 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 is 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)
Many attempts were made since the discovery of Anomalies to find methods of predicting certain Anomaly attributes. 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 possessed 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 once 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) 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 predict down to the second how much longer an Anomaly would stay open before closing. (Breakthrough, The Sound of Thunder: Part 1)
Closing and opening Anomalies
Though Anomalies usually only open or close on their own naturally, several manmade methods of controlling an Anomaly and forcing it to open and/or close have been found or invented in the present and the future.
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 downloaded into the device, making it possible for it to know where Anomalies were. (Episode 3.10)
Anomalies such as the Tunguskan Anomaly can be closed by firing an EMP from an object such as a HERF weapon into the Anomaly. (Extinction Event) When diesel fuel is brought near an Anomaly, it can cause it to fluctuate 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 by draining their energy. (Episode 5.5)
Based on Philip Burton's ideas and designs about New Dawn, Connor Temple designed a machine able to create artificial Anomalies. Unlike natural Anomalies, man-made Anomalies are stable, so they cannot close on their own like natural Anomalies and are designed to stay open forever; though they do at first need power to stay active until they become strong enough to stay open on their own. Also, the technology used to create a manmade Anomaly can also be used to lock, reopen and manipulate it. (Episode 5.4, Episode 5.6)
Though Philip believed that an infinite constant supply of green energy could be harnessed from manmade Anomalies, (Episode 5.1) a powerful enough manmade Anomaly can actually be incredibly dangerous not only to human life but to the entire Earth. While the First Man-made Anomaly (which was a small prototype Anomaly) was no more dangerous than a natural Anomaly, (Episode 5.4, 5.6) the New Dawn Anomaly (which was created by a much more powerful machine from the energy of all the Convergence Anomalies) proved to be beyond human control and a threat to all life on Earth; it expanded and strengthened out of control, and wreaked havoc on the Earth's atmospheric conditions in a manner which would have reduced the planet to a sterile, dying wasteland incapable of sustaining life again had the Anomaly not been sealed. (Episode 5.6)
It would appear that if a machine that creates and sustains a manmade Anomaly is deactivated before the Anomaly can grow powerful enough to stay open without the machine, then the manmade Anomaly will close. (Episode 5.4, 5.6) When a manmade Anomaly's polarity is sent into reverse at an immensely higher level than is standardly used when locking an Anomaly, if it is done at a high enough level of intensity, then it will make the pressure in the Anomaly so intense that the Anomaly will release a massive burst of gamma radiation. The process also causes the Anomaly to close upon releasing the gamma ray. (Episode 5.4) It is also possible to destabilize and close two attuned manmade Anomalies by merging them with each-other (through shifting one Anomaly into the other). (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
- The Anomalies are similar to the time portal in Prehistoric Park, which was also produced by Impossible Pictures; the time portal possessed a similar colour to the Anomalies in Series 1 of Primeval, and the same sound effects were used.
- All the Anomalies made whirr-ing noises while they were open.
- 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 1 the Anomalies were a pale white-gold in colour, slightly translucent, not very wide, and the shards moved slowly. They made flashing sounds and slightly flashed light when something passed through.
- In Series 2, the Anomalies were wider and opaque, and had larger shards, and the shards moved slightly faster. They also had a gold core and silver shards, and the shards now moved slightly faster. They still made flashing sounds and flashed light, when something passed through.
- In Series 3, the Anomalies remained much like they were in Series 2, but they had a paler, somewhat more bleached colour (with the silver standing out more than the gold) and a larger number of shards. They lacked the flashing sound effect they had in the previous series when something passed through them (although the flashing light effect remained but was very slight), and it would not return in the following two series.
- In Series 4, the Anomalies were orange/gold in colour, and the shards moved significantly faster. They also contained lots of small shards, instead of a smaller amount of large shards, and the shards appeared to be more transparent. When something passed through, the Anomaly's shards would momentarily pull away from the point on the Anomaly where the miscellany entered or emerged, then almost immediately draw back over it.
- In Series 5, the Anomalies were virtually identical to how they were in Series 4, although they seemed to have a slightly paler and brighter colour.
- In Primeval: New World, the Anomalies got larger and wider again, and some were the original white/bright-silver colour, while others were gold/orange/yellow. The shards making up the Anomalies were also again smaller and more numerous than before, and again moved faster than before. The Anomaly's core was also now much larger, more closely resembling a ball of condensed glowing white mist, and the surrounding layer of shards was thinner. The Anomalies made a low whirring sound when something passed through.
- The effect for an Anomaly closing appears to have undergone some changes.
- In Episode 1.1, the Anomaly's core shimmers and flickers when it's fading, and when the Anomaly finally closes, it blinks out of existence in a sudden, brief flash.
- In Episode 1.3, the Anomaly begins to grow brighter, and the shards around it move faster and faster while its core pulsates outward, 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 very sharply and suddenly blinks out of existence.
- In Series 1 and Series 2 , the Anomalies made a screehing noise as they were closing.
- In Series 2 and 3, the shards that make up the Anomalies begin to pulsate slowly, inward and outward, for about 30 seconds, until the Anomaly stops and suddenly snaps shut on itself.
- In Episode 4.1, the artificially-opened Arena Anomaly snaps in on itself into the form of a locked Anomaly, which then collapses into a flash and vanishes.
- In Episode 4.7, the Prison - Victorian Anomaly suddenly pulsates and ripples all over slightly, then sharply shrinks away on itself (though unlike before, leaving a split-second-long flutter of tiny Anomaly shards as it does so).
- In Episode 5.5, the Anomaly Research Centre Anomaly simply pulsates wider a little for a split second, then snaps shut on itself and vanishes.
- In The New World, the core of the Anomaly started to blink and flicker until the Anomaly abruptly collapsed on itself.
- In the rest of Primeval: New World, when an Anomaly closes, it abruptly collapses on itself and vanishes within an instant, without warning.
- ↑ Interview with Adrian Hodges