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Music Had Charms to Soothe Prehistoric Man
Date:6/24/2009

ive to flight, but also to flute production," he said. "In addition, the marrow in bird bones is rather thin and therefore easy to remove without damaging the bone. Once removed, one has a bone tube ideal for transformation into a flute."

But one shouldn't assume that making a flute was an easy task just because ancient man managed to accomplish it, Adler said. "These are technologically savvy, socially and cognitively complex people. I'd like to see you or me try to make one of these things. We'd never make it into the orchestra!"

Adler predicted that scientists will find even earlier flutes. "These flutes are too well-made and designed to represent the first flutes," he said. "The makers and players of these flutes had considerable knowledge and experience that likely reflects information transfer across many generations."

In the big picture, the flute find gives greater insights in the ancestors of humans, Laitman said.

"You're looking at a fully modern cousin of ours who's appreciating things at a very fine level," he said. "It's quite an extraordinary thing."

More information

Learn more about the evolution of man from Stanford University.



SOURCES: Jeffrey Laitman, Ph.D., director, anatomy and functional morphology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City; Daniel Adler, Ph.D., professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut, Storrs; June 25, 2009, Nature.


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