The Oldest Musical Instruments Ever Found Are 43,000-Year-Old Mammoth Tusks

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Scientists have found the oldest musical instruments ever recorded, which are carbon dated from 42,000 to 43,000 years old, and have turned up just in time to ask your dad if they're what he listened to on the radio as a kid.

A team from Oxford University found the flutes in a cave in southern Germany that shows evidence of homo sapiens inhabiting it. One was made from bird bone, and the other from mammoth ivory. The region has been a hotbed of prehistoric activity, with several other findings from the same era of human development being made there.


Researchers suggest that musical instruments could have been used for recreation or religious ritual, which makes sense, since those are basically the only damn things you would ever use musical instruments for. But still, it's pretty cool to think about your great great great great great (ad infinitum) grandfather knocking over a wooly mammoth and using the tusk for a flute. [BBC]