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A Forest Without A Tree

Fires caused by people are thankfully still relatively infrequent in the vast Yellowstone National Park, with just six to 10 per year. Most wildfires, such as the 1988 blazes that destroyed almost 40% of the park, are instead caused by lightning.

In 1994, driving through a recently burned patch, we could only imagine what that must have been like.

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Society

Can Men Help Breastfeed Their Children?

In a tribe in central Africa, male and female roles are practically interchangeable in caregiving to children. Even though their lifestyle might sound strange to the West, it offers important life lessons about who raises children — and how.

Photo of a marble statue of a man, focused on the torso

No milk — but comfort and warmth for the baby

Ignacio Pereyra

The southwestern regions of the Central African Republic and the northern Republic of Congo are home to the Aka, a nomadic tribe of hunter-gatherers who, from a Western point-of-view, are surprising because male and female roles are practically interchangeable.

Though women remain the primary caregivers, what is interesting is that their society has a level of flexibility virtually unknown to ours.

While the women hunt, the men care for the children; while the men cook, the women decide where to settle, and vice versa. This was observed by anthropologist Barry Hewlett, a professor at Washington State University, who lived for long periods alongside the tribe. “It is the most egalitarian human society possible,” Hewlett said in an interview.

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