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Flying elephant

The hypothesis that a large species can become substantially reduced in size after being isolated on islands is dramatically illustrated by the extinct Sicilian elephant, which grew to only three feet high. Even more striking confirmation came from the discovery on the tiny Greek island of Antikythira, only a mile or so long, of the fossil remains of an elephant much smaller still. The Antikythira Elephant was only a few inches high, with a long slender trunk and very large ears. Recent aerodynamic calculations leave no doubt that the combination of large ears and low body size allowed this elephant to fly, and the long trunk suggests that it lived much as moths or humming-birds do, hovering in front of flowers to drink the nectar.

Like other elephant species of the Mediterranean area, it was believed to have become extinct some time during the last few thousand years and thus be of no interest to cryptozoology.

Recently however a small number of tourists have begun coming to Antikythira , and there have been reports of creatures ‘like grey humming birds with four feet’ feeding amongst the flowers: one woman even found a ‘tiny elephant’ perched on the edge of her glass drinking her gin and tonic through its trunk.

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