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Hundreds of storks, two wolves and their pack, a band of penguins, a pigeon, a few other birds, and a million babies were created for the journey from Stork Mountain through mountains, caves, harbors, and neighborhoods across the world, while sticking to Junior's motto: "Always Deliver!

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For STORKS, Imageworks created a world with a tangible stylization that had the audience feeling like they could reach out and touch it. Referencing the suggestive style of hand-drawn animation and the feel of Viewmaster depictions of Looney Tunes characters, Imageworks merged these characteristics with cinematic photography and cartoon-y performances. Junior and Tulip were an extremely unlikely pair.

Having a long beak for a mouth and wings in place of arms, Junior presented a worthy challenge to our animation team as they developed his character from smug and brash to empathetic and caring. Tulip, on the other hand, was as appealing for her flaws as she was for her singular cuteness. The team at Imageworks animated quirks into her personality and performance adding to her charm.

Tulip's hair and clothes were unique and almost impossible to imagine. Junior and Tulip emerged as some of Imageworks' most endearing characters.

It was sobering to think of the symbol of new life carving a home in human waste. But then the mythological stork was always a euphemism, a fairy tale told to shield us from a messy, complex, biological reality. Continue or Give a Gift. Privacy Policy , Terms of Use Sign up.

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Travel Taiwan. American South. Travel With Us. At the Smithsonian Visit. New Research. Curators' Corner. As is often the case with media-mangled science stories, the degree to which a story is hyped is inversely proportional to the weight of the conclusions drawn from the research in question. In this case, Meijer and Due did not mention the hobbits as prey for the stork at all.

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There is not a single shred of hard evidence that the bird killed or consumed hobbits, and, to the credit of Meijer, she repeatedly told reporters this. Yet, lest I dispatch the idea of human-eating storks as a case of media fluff, the Flores stork certainly would have been a formidable predator of small mammals and it is not inconceivable that L. There is no positive evidence for predation, but we should not be so hasty as to rule out the possibility altogether, especially since small humans in other places and at other times were killed and consumed by birds of less imposing stature.

While teaching anatomy at the University of the Witwatersand in Johannesburg in , the Australian scientist Raymond Dart was informed that fossil primate remains — particularly skulls — were being found at a local limestone quarry. Dart was extremely excited to hear this.

Storks are back in Britain – and they’re a beacon of hope for all of us

Fossil primates are exceptionally rare, and he arranged for a few crates of fossil-bearing rock to be delivered to his home. When they arrived, Dart found the skull of a juvenile hominin — a prehistoric human he named Australopithecus africanus the following year in Nature. The juvenile status of the Taung child, as it was popularly known, was recognized from the time of its description. In fact, it was this understanding that allowed many paleoanthropologists to cast aspersions about its pedigree. The skulls of juvenile apes shared similarities with our own which disappeared as they grew, so Australopithecus africanus was marginalized as a human-like ape until the anthropologist W.

The Taung child was not a hapless kid buried in a flood or mudslide. The unfortunate A. In a issue of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology the anthropologist Lee Berger took a cue from a study of bones accumulated by crowned hawk eagles — particularly primate skulls — to reexamine damage he and R. Clarke had detected on the Taung skull a decade earlier.

The hypothesis was originally based upon damage done to the outside of the skull, but, after seeing the patterns of damage done by raptors to modern monkey skulls, Berger was able to find similar punctures and scratches inside the eye sockets of the australopithecine child. The fact that the Taung child was killed and eaten by a bird of prey is obviously not proof that the Flores stork captured and consumed hobbits.

I mention it here because it is representative of a more general point — not only were humans prey during prehistory, but were small enough that they could have been relatively easy pickings for a variety of carnivorous animals, including birds.

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As has been the case with many other insular island faunas cobbled together from species able to cross channels and stretches of sea, carnivores were absent. This is what allowed the unique character of the Flores fauna to evolve, including a large, carnivorous, ground-dwelling bird. There is no positive evidence that the Flores stork ate humans, but neither is it outside the realm of possibility, and we must await further evidence.

Regardless of whether or not the Flores stork hunted hobbits, its discovery adds another aspect to an already unusual assemblage of animals. In the absence of other dominant predators, a bird with an undiscriminating palate became specialized, and, perhaps, was ultimately trapped on the island where it evolved. Perhaps, to the hobbits, it was truly a monstrous bird, but we should be careful about allowing it to roost in such a shadowy part of our imagination.

The prospect of an upside down world — in which tiny humans fled giant, bloodthirsty storks — is so compelling that the spate of hyped news reports is not at all surprising. The Flores stork was just the latest creature to be added to the menagerie of monstrous prehistoric creatures that enthrall us. They thrill us horribly….

They allow us to recollect our limitations. They keep us company…. If we exterminate the last magnificently scary beats on planet Earth, as we seem bent upon doing, then no matter where we go for the rest of our history as a species — for the rest of time — we may never encounter any others. We live in a world depauperate of monsters.

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Especially from a Western, 21st-century perspective, there are no wild monsters left. We have killed ours, and exotic beasts that still frighten people in poorer, less-developed parts of the world — such as those described by Quammen — have been ensconced in zoos; not tame, but no longer threatening. From Tyrannosaurus rex to Leptoptilus robustus , these long-lost predators seem monstrous. The thought of bringing them back to life — through science or science fiction — creates imaginary perils that we find delightfully frightening no matter how realistic the restoration, we are safe, separated by thousands or millions of years from those teeth and claws.

But such hyperbole may blind us to the intricacy and wonder of how such a bizarre creature came to exist in the first place.

White stork pair could become first to breed in wild in UK for centuries

Perhaps the prodigious birds were more relevant to human evolution than might be initially supposed…. Berger, L. Meijer, H.

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