Apropos of sort of nothing, remember when LEGOs were sold either as (1) an assortment of colored bricks or (2) an assortment of colored bricks? There were no LEGO kits back in the day. If you wanted to build a spaceship, you simply built one using basic bricks and your imagination. And the spaceship you built was, basically, a rectangle, with rectangular wings. Because you only had right angles to work with, at least at first. At some point, LEGO introduced things with angles, and conical trees, and bricks that looked like windows, and tiny doors, and body parts. Minifigures came after, and compared to today's minifigs the originals were scary and clonelike. But before there were minifigures, there were the body parts. Body parts that you were supposed to combine with regular bricks to make people. Spindly arms, clawlike hands, and big round yellow heads with LEGO buttons where the ears should have been and also on top of the heads (so you could attach scary wigs to them, or a variety of hats). There were no torsos - you stacked a bunch of four-button LEGO squares to make a body and put a longer, six-button LEGO rectangle at the bottom to serve as feet (okay, technically, as a uni-foot), and you had - sort of - a person. But the scale of the people was totally off - unless you had a bazillion LEGO pieces at your disposal, and lots of time, there was no way that you could build a house that would be to scale with the people. So I guess you could call them megafigures. Megafigures begat minifigures.
I'm thinking about this as I sort through ten tons of LEGO debris as we clear out toy totes at our house . . . .
Why, exactly, were there connector buttons on the tops of the heads? So that you could stack several scary bulbous heads, one on top of the other, and thereby create a totem pole to grace the front of the (unfortunately rectangular) teepee wigwam boxy sweat lodge that you just built as the centerpiece of your LEGO Indian settlement? Which, by the way, you would have referred to as "Indian," not "Native American," because this was WAAAAAAY back in the day, when Native Americans were still referred to as Indians and did a whole lot of crying about the environment in TV commercials.