Hear the sound of an 18,000 year old musical instrument

OK, it might not sound all that eargasmic, but here is the sound of an 18,000 year old conch shell that researchers have now determined was intentionally carved to be a wind instrument.

A team of researchers at the Natural History Museum of Toulouse in France, home to the Pyrenees Mountain foothills where the cave was discovered, decided to reexamine the conch fossil — originally believed to be a ritual or loving cup — and found it to be an 18,000-year-old wind instrument. The unique musical artifact is intentionally carved to facilitate specific notes.

"Anthropologists and ethnomusicologists assert that there is no society without song, and more specifically, there is no ritual or celebration without accompanying sound," wrote the researchers in a collectively authored paper on the finding, released in the February 2021 issue of Science Advances. "The production of sounds in social contexts is very ancient."

Read more at Hyperallergic.

Image: cheesy42CC BY 2.0