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Musical instruments pushed back by about 7,000 years


From “Earliest music instruments found” (BBC News, May 25, 2012), we learn

Researchers have identified what they say are the oldest-known musical instruments in the world.

The flutes, made from bird bone and mammoth ivory, come from a cave in southern Germany which contains early evidence for the occupation of Europe by modern humans – Homo sapiens.

Scientists used carbon dating to show that the flutes were between 42,000 and 43,000 years old.

Speculation watch:

And some researchers have argued that music may have been one of a suite of behaviours displayed by our species which helped give them an edge over the Neanderthals – who went extinct in most parts of Europe 30,000 years ago.

Music could have played a role in the maintenance of larger social networks, which may have helped our species expand their territory at the expense of the more conservative Neanderthals.

This thesis will run until they find Neanderthal flutes.

The previous oldest instrument was dated to 35,000 years ago.

See also:

Cave art actually went downhill during the fabled ascent of man

Artists’ workshop from 100,000 years ago

Amazing religion site at Gobekli Tepe from 12,000 years ago

Oh and Michael Cremo is still wrong, right?


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