Oxford and Tübingen scientists have identified what they believe are the world’s oldest known musical instruments.
Mammoth-, left, and bird-bone flutes from the site of Geißenklösterle in Germany (Tom Higham et al / Oxford University / Tübingen University)
In their paper in the Journal of Human Evolution, the scientists report new results of radiocarbon dating for animal bones, excavated in the same archaeological layers as the musical instruments and early art, at Geißenklösterle Cave in the Swabian Jura of southern Germany.
The musical instruments take the form of flutes made from the bird bones and mammoth ivory. The animal bones bear cuts and marks from human hunting and eating. They were excavated at a key site, which is widely believed to have been occupied by some of first modern humans to arrive in Europe.
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