World's oldest musical instruments found in German cave

  • 25 May 2012
Bird bone flute from the Geißenklösterle Cave in Germany Image copyright University of Tübingen

Researchers have identified what they say are the oldest musical instruments in the world.

Image copyright University of Tübingen
Image caption These flutes were made of mammoth tusks

The flutes made from bird bone and mammoth ivory were found in a cave in southern Germany.

Scientists used a technique called carbon dating to show that the flutes were between 42,000 and 43,000 years old!

They think the musical instruments may have been used for religious rituals or just for fun!

The discovery supports the thinking that humans followed the River Danube bringing technological innovations into central Europe.

The cave in Geißenklösterle is one of several caves in the area where personal ornaments, mythical imagery and musical instruments have been found.