First Flute Found
Imagine yourself living 35,000 years ago. What would an ordinary evening in your family's cave be like? After eating the food your parents hunted and gathered, would you have a rock-throwing contest with your sister? Would you draw pictures in the dirt? A new discovery suggests you might pass the time making music on a flute.
Scientists have uncovered a 35,000-year-old flute in Germany. They believe the flute it is the oldest musical instrument ever discovered.
Professor Nicholas Conard led the team of scientists who found the flute. They unburied it from the floor of a cave in Germany. The flute was broken into 12 pieces when they dug it up.
The instrument is about eight-and-a-half inches long. It is made from the wing bone of a large bird. One end of the flute has two V-shaped cuts. Conard says that's where a person would blow to make sound. Five finger holes are carved into the instrument. The flute player would cover one or more of the holes while blowing on the flute to make different tones.
The ancient flute was too fragile to play. Conard and another researcher made a copy of it. They used the same type of bone as in the original. They were able to play a number of songs, including "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Early Humans Were Creative
The flute is the latest find that shows that early humans in Europe created music and art. Conard's team discovered more art objects in the same cave as the bone flute. They found a female statue made of ivory. Conard believes the small statue is 40,000 years old. That would make it the oldest known sculpture of a human.
Conard and many other experts believe that music and art strengthened early human communities. This creativity helped early humans develop better communication skills. Strong communities and good communication skills helped early humans survive difficult living conditions.
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