World: Nature Note

U.S. soldiers found that their high-school books were right: Australia's fauna was indeed teeming with strange cases of arrested evolution. There, sure enough, were the duck-billed platypus, the kangaroo, the dingo dog. There was another one that the zoology writers had left out. He was the "wowser," strangest beastie of them all.

The wowser is human. The Australian slang dictionary defines him (or her) as "a puritanical enthusiast, a bluestocking, a drab-souled Philistine haunted by the mockery of others." What the U.S. soldiers and their Empire mates have to say about him would burn holes in a postman's sack.

The worst feature of...

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