Saturday, July 08, 2006

Last of the species?

Isolated areas - islands, hills surrounded by glaciers, oases in deserts, often act as protected environments for species once widespread, but now otherwise extinct. Australia itself is one of these refugia - marsupials were once found on other continents, but were displaced by placental mammals everywhere except on the island continent, where they reigned supreme.

Central Queensland turns out to be the refuge of a rare species, once found in most western countries - the Mullet. For some reason, this haircut, with its short, aerodynamic sides and long back waving in the breeze, remains popular in Central Queensland towns. Its full geographic range is unknown.

It is possible that the Mullet confers some sort of evolutionary advantage on its wearers, protecting the back of the neck from sunburn, or allowing the wearer to accurately judge wind speed and direction - useful in an area prone to cyclones. It may also increase the attractiveness of the wearer to the Central Queensland female, itself a poorly understood subspecies.

Fine examples of the Mullet may be observed on AFL players, miners, and devotees of Dominos Pizza. In many cases Mullets occur in conjunction with Stubbies shorts, themselves long believed (hoped) extinct in civilised countries.


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