More than 20 million years ago, through volcanism and tectonic action, the rise of the Isthmus of Panama began to divide one great ocean into two. The Caribbean warmed. Isolated marine animals adapted to new conditions and some became new species.
When this bridge between continents was complete, members of the cat, dog, bear, pig, horse and elephant families migrated into South America, while armadillos, sloths, anteaters and porcupines traveled north with less success. Panama became a place to learn how living organisms move across the landscape and adapt to changing contexts.
Today, as a geological wonder, a biological treasure trove and a vital commercial hub, Panama is a natural setting for the world’s premier research platform for the study of tropical biology.