I was going to ask if seeking shelter in a constructure dwelling or natural formation was instinctive to modern humans or if it is a learned sociatal behaviour. By shelter I mean seek routine issolation from elements by being "inside" some structure or formation that encloses the individual or group on multiple sides and above. A small shelter would be expected to trigger Claustrophobia and being outside of a shelter would be expected to trigger Agoraphobia in people that experiance such conditions.

It was highlighted that "nest building" is considered a part of a shelter instinct. I am looking for when this behaviour develops not just during child rearing (as many birds do) but routinely (as great apes do with bedding). Unlike forming a bed in an open space it seems common place for modern humans to form their beds inside a shelter and to choose to perform many other actions in this shelter such as eating.

Perhapse the first part of that should be to ask if there are any current or recent groups of poeple that do-not routinely occupy a shelter? Many nomadic peoples seem to go to the trouble of transporting shelter with them but perhapse some do not if there is not an environmental driver to do so.

Not knowing where to look I did some searching and found a couple of websites that dicuss human instincts but not all of them list sheltering as instinctive so perhapse that is still debatable?

Herding but not sheltering is mentioned on Wikipedia. Shelter is mention in this Harvard Business Review article about How Hardwired Is Human Behavior? but it seems that we could learn to shelter driven by other instincts. This website was one of the more prominant ones to list seeking shelter as instinctive but I would not call it a reliable source.

Following on from that would be the harder question of when did the instict to shelter first evolve in humans or an ancestory of humans if it is instinctive? I am not looking for a calendar date but whether there is some point in the ancestry where it is possible to say these early humans did prefer indoors and these ones did not. We often hear about finds being located in caves which suggests those humans were sheltering in the cave. I would accept those as signs of habbitation inside a shelter.

It seems obvious that other mamals like Rabbits and Foxes instinctivey live in burrows or dens either perminantly or following a "Nesting Instinct" but it is not so clear for humans it seems. I could find more references to humans having a "Nesting Instinct" so perhapse that is where the instinct began or maybe it is the limit of it in humans. There are examples of nesting or sheltering in fish speacies to so it is clearly something that develops multiple times in evoluionary processes, unless the Nesting Instinct is common all the way back to some aquatic species long ago for our line.

Sorry this is a bit rambling and not well resurched. I have no background in biology, sociology or the study of human evolution so I am a bit stumped as to where I would begin to look for an answer.

I did look into the H2DB from a suggested similar question but noting in there seemed obviously linked to shelter to me besides "conditioned place preference (CPP)" & "housekeeping ability". Housekeeping being a predominantly female trait could suggest a genetic factor in shelter, possibly from earlier "nesting" instincts? Although I would have thought both male and female might have some protection of mate & young instincts beyond those for our habbit of forming herds or family groups.

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    $\begingroup$ Why must seeking shelter have evolved in humans? As you note, mammals (and other vertebrates) routinely seek shelter. So humans likely do this because they inherited it from their ancestors. $\endgroup$
    – kmm
    Jun 10, 2020 at 14:41
  • $\begingroup$ @kmm I am unsure how how to correctly ask about humans or their earliest known ancestors. AFAIK there are no modern day relatives that do more than make a bed so it seems to be something specific to our line. Could you suggest how I best rephrase the question in a way that would widely be understood to include everything running up to a "modern day human" in our genetic lineage? $\endgroup$
    – TafT
    Jun 10, 2020 at 14:45
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    $\begingroup$ Nest-building, which you are arguing is no more than making a bed, is considered part of shelter behavior (and therefore all great apes shelter). Either you're going to need to be much more specific on what "shelter" means, or, more likely, you'll have to recognize that pretty much every evolved trait, including behaviors and even those that are encoded culturally rather than genetically, occurs gradually, so there is no way to put a date on such a thing. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Jun 10, 2020 at 15:47
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause I have tried to improve my question to make clear that by "shelter" I mean some kind of "indoors" instead of "outside". We find remains of ancestors in caves which suggests to me sheltering indoors of a kind. If there are certain ancestors that are only found outside of caves that would be an indicator of when to me. Not concrete as we only get small numbers of finds but it would be a start. $\endgroup$
    – TafT
    Jun 11, 2020 at 11:09


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