Are storks dinosaurs and why do they have such long legs?

The prevailing opinion among palaeontologists
is that birds are direct descendants of theropod dinosaurs from the Jurassic period. The counter-view is that birds are actually descended from other prehistoric reptiles. If the dinosaur lineage theory is correct, then storks – and indeed all birds – could be classified as a dinosaur subgroup. But this is a bit like saying whales are ungulates (hoofed land animals), as they are ungulate descendants. Storks likely evolved long legs as a means of walking through tall grass and shallow water, searching for fish, frogs and other prey. Palaeontologists believe a flying dinosaur ancestor – the giraffe-sized pterosaur – may have hunted the same way.