People in fact began enjoying music some 35,000 years ago, according to the prehistoric bird-bone flutes unearthed in southwest Germany.
Researchers said on Wednesday they had found a five-hole flute made from the radius bone of a griffon vulture and two fragments of ivory flutes in a cave in the Swabian Jura mountains.
The flute has a 22-centimeter instrument with five holes and a notched end. Archaeologist Nicholas Conard, from Tuebingen University, said the flute was 35,000 years old. Other archaeologists agreed with Conard's assessment.
The flute is the oldest handcrafted musical instrument yet discovered, offering the latest evidence that early modern humans in Europe had established a complex and creative culture.
"These finds demonstrate the presence of a well-established musical tradition at the time when modern humans colonized Europe, more than 35,000 calendar years ago," Conard and colleagues reported in the journal Nature.
Another flute excavated in Austria is believed to be 19,000 years old, and a group of 22 flutes found in the French Pyrenees mountains has been dated at up to 30,000 years ago.