It begins a bit like a Scooby Doo episode: archaeologists digging at a place called “Witch Hill” discover a mysterious human skeleton in an ancient trash heap. Who was this person? How’d they get there? Astonishingly, it would take 40 years to find out, and the story is way more surprising—and groundbreaking—than anyone could’ve ever imagined. So, grab your Scooby Snacks and join Sidedoor as we journey to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama to see these unusual bones firsthand and meet the “meddling kids” trying to solve a mystery 700 years in the making.
All kinds of amazing work happens at STRI! You can learn more about Smithsonian archeologists and their work in Central America as well as STRI’s many fantastic education centers, such as the nature center Punta Culebra. If you get a chance to visit, you’ll have a blast looking for sloths and exploring the Panamanian frog exhibit—just like the Sidedoor team did!