Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Bone Flute that May Be 42,000 Years Old

This bone flute was found in the Geißenklösterle cave in southwestern Germany. Because this is an Aurignacian Site, that is, it produced artifacts associated with fully modern humans, it was thought to date to after 35,000 years ago. But new radiocarbon dates suggest that it is really 42,000 years old, making it the oldest known musical instrument. I caution my readers that radiocarbon dating for this period is in turmoil these days, and all radiocarbon dates more than 30,000 years old are disputed.

I feel quite certain that music is at least as old as Homo sapiens -- love of music seems born into most of us, and that means it evolved with our species.

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