Was "Earliest Musical Instrument" Just a Chewed-Up Bone? "“Neanderthal bone flutes” were the work of scavenging hyenas, a new study says."
about 2 years ago
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Discovered in caves in southeast Europe, the “flutes” are thigh bones from juvenile cave bears with regular circular punctures that look like finger holes. The most famous of these, the 43,000-year-old Divje Babe flute, was found in a Slovenian cave in 1995. Scientists have debated whether these “flutes” were made by Neanderthals or by scavengers gnawing on bones. To answer this, paleobiologist Cajus Diedrich examined bone breakage patterns and prehistoric animal remains in 15 cave locations, looking for evidence that the punctures were made by animals. The study, published Tuesday in Royal Society Open Science, found that “Neanderthal bone flutes” did not bear the marks of stone drills, but of Ice Age hyenas’ teeth, which were able to puncture the soft bones of young bears.
No plectrums! ;-)
IIRC, there were quite a few studies on the subject, contradicting each other.
It was both.
But how scientists can really sure about the usage of this bone? It may be also a tool for a given purpose, other than a music instrument.
What if they found a gnawed thigh bones and someone idly blew in one one and it made sound! Hey, let's see if we can make one of our own! So they all look alike, but some are gnawed and some are knowledge.
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