Neanderthal artifact may be the world's oldest known musical instrument

In 1995, a strange carved bone was found in a cave in Slovenia among other Neanderthal bones and stone tools. This object, taken from the femur bone of a cave bear cub, had 4 holes drilled in a line and a sharpened V-shape on one end.

The belief among the researchers who discovered it is that it is a 60,000 year old instrument, dubbed the Divje Babe flute. Of course, no one can be certain exactly what it was used for: a signaling device, a hunting tool, a ritual sound-maker, or a true musical instrument — or all of these.

As you can hear in the video, the sounds a replica of the object can produce are quite beautiful and haunting.

Thumbnail image: dalbera, CC BY 2.0