Giant hanging coccolithophore runs amok in museum!

Written by Peggy Fisherkeller, curator of geology at the Indiana State Museum

Coccolithophores are marine planktonic organisms that secrete calcareous plates, called coccoliths, around a single cell. They are so tiny they are best viewed with a scanning electron microscope (an SEM). That’s one of the reasons that a large red version hanging from the ceiling in the Great Hall of the Indiana State Museum was so amusing to me. Another reason for my amusement? I had a fair amount of certainty the artist didn’t know he was creating a pretty good replica of an obscure micro-organism. But that’s the great thing about art – we interpret different meanings based on our personal experiences.

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