Since Darwin we tend to look at the biological world exclusively in economical terms. The idea that monkey’s, frogs, or even ants do more than simply propagate, doesn’t find much acceptance among scientists. And yet, even crayfishes at times seem to displace objects just for fun.
By DAVID GRAEBER
My friend June Thunderstorm and I once spent a half an hour sitting in a meadow by a mountain lake, watching an inchworm dangle from the top of a stalk of grass, twist about in every possible direction, and then leap to the next stalk and do the same thing. And so it proceeded, in a vast circle, with what must have been a vast expenditure of energy, for what seemed like absolutely no reason at all.
“All animals play,” June had once said to me. “Even ants.” She’d spent many years working as a professional gardener and had plenty of incidents like this to observe and ponder. “Look,” she said, with an air of modest triumph. “See what I mean?”