The collision and bridge of Panama - Day 528
A visit to the causeway and Biomueo where we learned about the collision and bridge of Panama. Fascinating.
We are so lucky with many of our Airbnb hosts. Eddie is one of life's diamonds. He is incredibly knowledgeable and up with the times. There is no “I'm too old to learn” where he is concerned — a real inspiration.
Eddie and his 'house boy' Anibel took us for a drive to the Amador Causeway, built from the rocks extracted during the excavations from the Panama Canal. This stretch of road links four islands to the mainland and also serves as a breakwater for the canal.
At the beginning of the causeway is the Biomuseo, where we already had tickets for, so on the way back, we asked Anibel to drop us off. Handy Harry!
Renowned architect Frank Gehry designed this colourful building, and the museum focuses on the natural history of Panama.
As we were walking towards the museum, we got chatting to Alison and Ray who live near Cardiff. They were travelling on the Princess Cruise we saw docked off the harbour at the end of the causeway. We ended up chatting for ages, sharing travel stories, hearing about their seven grandchildren (Tim is very jealous). Such a lovely couple, we do meet delightful people and could have chatted for ages; however we had a museum to see, and they had more of Panama city to view during their short stop off here.
The first part of the Museum was fascinating, taking us back 70 million years ago before Panama existed. A huge chunk of volcanic pillow basalt rock from this time was on display.
The museum described the collision of the tectonic plates that took place 45m years ago gradually forming an archipelago of volcanic islands. With these erupting, this resulted in the land to rise, making the bridge between North and South America.
This bridge gave a passageway to different animals from each continent and we were fascinated to read that Elephants and Sabre-toothed cats moved down from the north and Armadillos and giant Terror birds travelled up from the south. This movement of animals as well as plants is called the Great Biotic Interchange.
Moving forward in time, the next part of the museum focused on the humans. This included the collision of different tribes including the Europeans coming to this area, which brought death and destruction to many of the native tribes.
The effect of the bridge between the two continents has also had a marked effect with many different foods and plants introduced to both masses of land.
Going back to the Panama Canal that we saw yesterday, construction of this was one of the largest alterations of the natural world ever made by humans. And as I read in the museum "it's success came in large part not by conquering nature but by working in partnership with it. Tropical forests and the water they provide continue to be critical for the functioning of the canal”
Sadly, I must say that this part of the museum was a lot of standing around and reading, with no interaction. Guess what type of learner I am?