Famous TV celebrity: radiolarian, Podocyrtis sinuosa

During the introduction song of the TV series ‘The Big Bang Theory’, while the Barenaked Ladies sing "History Of Everything", you are flashed with an amid series of fast-paced images that appear to tell the story of the universe. The 3rd image from this montage of 109 images shown in that seemingly short span of time is in fact of an Eocene radiolarian assemblage. Here you see the image used in the TV series, which was originally obtained from stock photography (Jupiter and Getty Images being their primary source). 

At the bottom in the middle you see the biostratigraphically diagnostic radiolarian species Podocyrtis sinuosa, along with other radiolarians including Thyrosocyrtis ? rhizodon and Theoperid gen. et. sp. indet. Podocyrtis sinuosa is a low latitude species that has been estimated to have evolved 49.74 million years ago and existed until it went extinct 42.90 million years ago. These other species mentioned are known to have concurrent occurrences with Podocyrtis sinuosa. Interestingly, the juxtaposition of this image of an Eocene radiolarian assemblage and a timescale is depicted at 40, 000 BC. This is a pretty good estimate considering it only took the guy 2 hours to put this series of images together.

On-board IODP Expedition 362 (August-October, 2016), Tebi Researcher, Sarah Kachovich had the privilege to meet this celebrity at one of their sites. Podocyrtis sinuosa provided an important age control to a critical interval of some interesting stratigraphy as they approached basement. It seems very fitting that radiolarians, a critical tool for geological dating, were chosen, together with the other 108 images to provide a “history of the universe” in the introduction to 'The Big Bang Theory'. 

 

Working in the microscope lab on-board Expedition 362 (Credit: Tim Fulton, IODP JRSO). Sarah Kachovich and Paola Vannucchi (Structural Geologist, Royal Holloway University of London, UK).

 

 

This fun investigation into the radiolarians used in the introduction song of the TV series ‘The Big Bang Theory’ led to the inspiration of modellinga Podocyrtis sinuosa as a Christmas decoration. Here is a teaser for an upcoming post.