These colossal storks flew over Indonesia’s island of 'hobbit’-size humans
More than 60,000 years ago, the island of Flores was home to a bird that stood nearly twice as tall as the diminutive hominins.
In ancient Flores, an island in eastern Indonesia, “hobbit”-size humans shared the landscape with an immense bird. At more than five feet tall, the Ice Age stork Leptoptilos robustus would have towered over the three-foot-tall Homo floresiensis, who lived more than 60,000 years ago.
Paleontologists previously thought the big bird was a flightless species that had adapted to live in an isolated island ecosystem. But newly analyzed fossils including wing bones, presented today in the journal Royal Society Open Science, have changed the story. Despite the stork’s size, its 12-foot wingspan likely would have allowed it to soar overhead.
This new realization prompted paleontologists to revise what they previously thought about the anatomy and behavior of L. robustus. Rather than a hunter