Even the children of homo sapiens can’t resist making things. While walking through the local park, Menotomy Rocks, I came across this:
It’s been there for years. Every kid who walks by feels an urge to add a stick. In mountain passes people feel an urge to add stones to a cairn, but in the woods they add sticks. It took a couple of kids to move the bigger logs, or a bemused dad.
In a more isolated part of the park, remote enough that teenagers can have a campfire and some beers, I found this:
It’s kind of rocky for making out, but the pine needle bedding is soft, and some sleeping bags would help. In yet another back corner is yet another hut:
Do we have an instinct for making these from our remote ancestors? Roof them with palm leaves and they would keep off the sun and some rain. Weave in some horizontal flexible sticks and they would keep out smaller predators like hyenas. Hominids can make their own dens this way without having to dig them.
But maybe they just tickle our pattern-making sense. Lean three sticks together and they make an interesting shape. Pile a lot more around them and they make something that looks vaguely functional. We’ve been standing upright for millions of years, just so we can grab stuff. Even as kids, even in a suburban park, we bipeds want to do something with the hands evolution gave us.