'Bone flutes' found accross Europe in caves are more likely to be the scavenged remains of cave bears finds this study. Credit: Cajus G. Diedrich
The paper suggests that the 'flutes', which are often attributed as being the oldest musical instruments in the world, were misidentified when they were first discovered in the 1920s. The author of the paper, Cajus G. Diedrich, says the bones are the damaged remains of bear cubs left by the teeth of Ice Age spotted hyenas.
The cave bear bones, discovered in cave systems in Eastern Europe, appear to have aligned holes drilled into their lengths which makes them resemble broken flutes. In past work researchers have identified the holes as matching with a musical diatonic scale sequence, among the most widespread of musical scales known, and cited this as evidence that the bones are early musical instruments. Some musicians have even been able to create music from replicas of the bones.
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