Giant hanging coccolithophore runs amok in museum!

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

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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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