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Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

FEMA calls Trump's bluff, a study shows gay dads are excellent parents, and giant creatures are alive and well.
A giant Galapagos tortoise.

A Fernandina giant tortoise, a species not seen in more than 110 years, was spotted this week in the Galápagos.

This week at Pacific Standard, we brought you stories on the state bills that could prevent teachers from addressing climate change, the push to rescind the medals of honor issued to the United States soldiers who perpetrated the Wounded Knee massacre, and the rhetorical tricks President Donald Trump uses to hold onto his base of supporters.

But as usual, it's been a busy news week, and our small staff can only cover so much. Here are a few more stories we've been watching.

FEMA Says Trump Never Ordered an End to California Wildfire Aid

Last month, Trump tweeted that he had ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to "send no more money" to California for fires that, he claimed, "with proper Forest Management, would never happen" (capitalization Trump's). As Pacific Standard has noted, research shows that climate change, not forest management, is largely to blame for California's wildfires.

The tweet was Trump's third time threatening to cut funding, so reporter Emily Moon pointed out that it might have been an empty threat. And it appears she was onto something: BuzzFeed News reported this week that, according to federal officials, FEMA never received such an order. "That's evidenced by the fact that work is still being done and we continue to support wildfire survivors across the state," A FEMA spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.

Gay Dads Make Great Parents, a Study Shows

According to a new study from the Université du Québec à Montréal, gay fathers are very engaged in their children's lives and take on child care roles that deviate from traditional ideas about masculinity. In the study, the first of its kind, researcher Éric Feugé observed 46 gay couples and their children over the course of seven years, studying the parents' involvement in their kids' lives and their distribution of parenting tasks. "We learned that gay fathers' sharing of tasks is very equitable," Feugé told the Montreal Gazette. "There was a high degree of engagement in all types of parental roles."

The study also found that children raised by gay fathers had normal levels of emotional attachment, suggesting that "the degree of sensitivity of the parents is high, and no different from that of adoptive mothers," Feugé said.

Goodbye to a Small Rodent, Hello to Giant Bees and Tortoises

It was a big week for extinction news. Let's start with the bad: the Bramble Cay melomys, a small brown rodent, has been recognized as the first mammal to go extinct as a result of human-caused climate change, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Onto the good: Both a giant bee and a giant tortoise have been rediscovered. Wallace's giant bee—the largest bee species in the world at four centimeters long—hadn't been seen in 38 years. A single female was found on the North Moluccas in Indonesia, the Guardian reports. And the Associated Press reports that a Fernandina giant tortoise, a species not seen in more than 110 years, was spotted this week in the Galápagos. Conservationists are calling this a triumph: "It created hope for people to know conservation is possible and that changing human activities is necessary for it to continue," Washington Tapia, director of the non-profit Galápagos Conservancy's Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative and the leader of the expedition to find the tortoise, told National Geographic.