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Timeline

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The Artifact's map of the timeline and the Anomalies in it. (Episode 3.10)

The timeline in the Primeval universe has been affected by the Anomalies and has been altered several times, primarily by interference in the past or present via the Anomalies which has altered the past, present and/or the future.

Time periods

Nature and mechanics

In the Artifact's holographic Anomaly map, it was believed by Connor Temple and Sarah Page that the line in the hologram represented the time continuum, and the points where the line crossed itself represented the points where two time periods were linked by an Anomaly. (Episode 3.6, 3.10)

Altering the timeline

« "The creatures are the loose threads. You pull the wrong one, history unravels." »
Connor Temple on the fragile state of the timeline.[src]

It is known that interference in the past via time-travel through Anomalies can sometimes disrupt history and chains of events from the way things originally were, resulting in a new, alternate timeline. These timeline changes can vary from complex butterfly effects to a time-traveller directly outright disrupting events from what they were in a previous timeline's history. In the former case, Connor Temple compared the impact on the timeline of creatures disappearing from their respective times and places through the Anomalies to threads in a piece of clothing being pulled; pulling some would have virtually no effect, but pulling others would cause a portion of time to unravel. (The New World, The Sound of Thunder: Part 2) It appears that a person that the change erases may sometimes suffer some warnings shortly before the change occurs; for example, Claudia Brown, shortly before she was erased from time, at one point saw her reflection as an Anomaly. (Episode 1.6, 2.1)

It is known that when a new/alternate timeline is created, linear miscellanea such as inanimate objects and living things will not experience the spacetime continuum's shift from the previous reality over to the new version of events. Due to this, when anything from the initial timeline - inanimate objects, or living things, along with their memories, and any other forms of information - are in the past when the future changes (be it at the time and place where history is altered when it is altered, or in an earlier time period before the point in time where history changes course), these 'memories' and 'remants' originating from the previous timeline can anomalously continue to exist into the new timeline. Miscellanea from negated timelines which continued to exist this way included: the original timeline versions of Nick and Helen Cutter, (Episode 1.6) plus Nick's photo of himself and Claudia Brown; (Episode 2.2, 2.7, 3.5) Helen's Anomaly Opening Device; (Episode 4.1) Patrick Quinn's traumatic memories of his time in the Camouflage Beasts' future home; (Episode 4.7) Matt Anderson; (Episode 5.6) and the alternate Mac Rendell who'd travelled back to 2006. (Truth, Breakthrough)

Although a 'remnant' from a negated future will continue to exist into the new timeline created following their entrance into the past, if one were to afterwards travel from said new timeline back to the point in time when the 'remnant' arrived from their own timeline; one will arrive in another version of that time, where the 'remnant' did not arrive due to the negation of their original timeline. (The Sound of Thunder: Part 2)

Other mechanics

It is known that travel between time periods through Anomalies can allow predestination paradoxes to occur, in which an individual can "create their own past," as Nick Cutter described it; the time-traveller would perform an action or leave something in the past that would in some way affect the individual's past self, but doing so would create and maintain the time-traveller's present/future self's past instead of altering it.

One known instance in which a loop like this occurred was when Nick, Helen and a Special Forces squad, when on a mission into the Permian, left the remains of their camp and the dead soldiers' buried bodies behind there, to become the ruined camp and buried skeletons respectively that Nick and Tom Ryan had earlier discovered onn a mission into a slightly-later point in time. (Episode 1.1, 1.6) It is believed that another predestination paradox occurred when Helen Cutter went to Pliocene Site 333 to kill an Australopithecus family there in an attempt to derail humanity's evolution, only to be killed by a Raptor from the Cretaceous and left among the dead Australopithecus: the deaths of the hominid family were already part of the fossil record, and Helen had become the thirteenth dead hominid that would be discovered at Site 333. (Episode 3.10)

Changes in the timeline

  • After Nick and Helen Cutter unknowingly left two baby Future Predators in the Permian while on a mission there, a new timeline was created (most likely due to the Predators' presence in the past). It was virtually identical to the original timeline, except Claudia Brown was replaced with Jenny Lewis, Oliver Leek took Claudia's place in the Anomaly operation, and the Anomaly branch of the Home Office at some point before the second Permian mission moved to the Anomaly Research Centre. (Episode 1.6, Series 2)
  • The future beyond the present seems to have changed at least a few times.
    • Initially, at the time of the ARC's dealing with Johnson, Future Predators ruled the ruins of civilization in the near future after apparently being created by humanity and wiping them out, (Series 3) and many different creatures and species would evolve and live on in the future; (Series 2, 3) but by the time of Connor and Abby's return from the Cretaceous, the future changed to a sterile, dying world where New Dawn had not been stopped and had ravaged and destroyed the planet. (Series 4, 5)
    • The future has presumably changed again, after Matt Anderson's intervention in the present ultimately led to New Dawn being stopped before it could trigger the apocalyptic catastrophe that had doomed life on Earth in the sterile future. (Episode 5.6)
  • Originally, the Spring-Heeled Jack Raptor remained in the Victorian age and caused a total of at least twelve deaths, and Emily Merchant was successfully committed by Henry to Bedlam Asylum in 1868. (Episode 5.2, 5.3) When Matt Anderson travelled to 1868 London, he managed to save Emily from being incarcerated, and took her and the Raptor back to the present with him. (Episode 5.3)
  • Actions around the Cretaceous Spaghetti Junction appeared to make the timeline unstable around 2006:
    • In the initial timeline, Mac Rendell joined the British Army and became a soldier for the ARC. However, after this version of Mac went back in time to 2006 and died saving Evan Cross's life, Evan tracked down Mac's 2006 self and recruited him to Cross Photonics, changing Mac's history so that he never joined the ARC. (Truth)
    • Initially, the future version of Mac Rendell which travelled to 2006 and saved Evan Cross's life wore the uniform of the Anomaly Research Centre. But after the ARC Mac's timeline was negated by the actions that ensued following the ARC Mac's arrival in the past, the resulting new timeline's version of Mac, originating from 2012, went back to 2006 in place of the ARC Mac (with the new Mac wearing the Canadian Army's uniform instead of the ARC's). (The Sound of Thunder: Part 2)
    • After Evan Cross killed the Albertosaurus that had killed Mac and Brooke, just seconds after it returned through the Anomaly to the Spaghetti Junction from 2006, he and Dylan were led to believe that they'd caused the timeline to change when all the Anomalies in the Junction then began closing immediately after. (The Sound of Thunder: Part 2)

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