The giant stork that lived beside the little hobbit

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Science media have been picking up this story the last couple of days of the description of a giant stork fossil that was found on Flores, the home of our favourite hobbit Homo floresiensis. The fossils are described in a paper in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society; the giant stork is estimated to be 1.8 metres in height and are contemporaneous to H. floresiensis which gives us pause for thought – if storks could grow so drastically big in an island setting, why couldn’t have humans grown so drastically small?

Artist's impression from BBC

A new species of giant marabou stork (Aves: Ciconiiformes) from the Pleistocene of Liang Bua, Flores (Indonesia)
MEIJER, H. J. and DUE, R. A. (2010). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 160: 707–724. doi: 10.1111/j.1096-3642.2010.00616.x

Giant fossil bird found on ‘hobbit’ island of Flores
BBC, 07 December 2010
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