The first ‘Neanderthal cave bear bone flute’ from the Middle Palaeolithic was... 2.2 The long discussed Slovenian punctured cave bear cub bone find. Jewelry, musical instruments and exotic objects from the Hungarian Palaeolithic. Taphonomy of a suggested Middle Paleolithic bone flute from Slovenia. [6]). In stage 3, subadult cave bear femora already started to crush, which is demonstrated from at least one example from Hermann's Cave (figure 5(6)). Also the figure of bone crushing by Turk et al. [73]), because all ‘fragmented’ bones were simply declared as due to ‘sediment pressure’. Pleistocene Panthera leo spelaea (Goldfuss, 1810) remains from the Balve Cave (NW Germany)—a cave bear, hyena den and Middle Palaeolithic human cave, and review of the Sauerland Karst lion sites. punctured cave bear cub femora), and overlap of Late Palaeolithic Aurignacian camp sites at the cave entrances, or cave bear hunt signs deep in caves. The Aurignacian lithic material appears also together with cave bear remains [25]. (1) Femur from Mokriška Jama Cave, Slovenia (photos adapted from [24]; NMLS collection). ‘Neanderthal bone flutes’: simply products of Ice Age spotted hyena scavenging activities on cave bear cubs in European cave bear dens. and U. ingressus) cub femora (less than 1 year individual age) from various European large cave bear den sites. Studied and from literature compiled cave bear, hyena, wolf den sites with pseudo-bone flutes (i.e. A critical re-evaluation on bone surface modification models for inferring fossil hominin and carnivore interactions through a multivariate approach: application to the FLK Zinj archaeofaunal assemblage (Olduvai George, Tanzania). [28]). Figure 1. [1,7,9], or deeper in caves due to cave bear hunt [23]. Hyenas left bones in repeating similar tooth mark and crush damage stages, demonstrating a butchering/bone cracking strategy. Finally, the position of the bite mark holes and their orientation in oval pits are calculated at similar more or less cylindrical in the middle of the shaft formed longbones: radius, femur and tibia. This report of a ‘cave bear femur bone flute’ was not the ‘oldest’, neither historically, nor by stratigraphy. The flutes, made of … (1) Cub skull (small cave bear form U. spelaeus eremus) from the Weiße Kuhle Cave, Germany, which was scavenged strongly on the left side. First ‘bone flute descriptions’ The first ‘Neanderthal cave bear bone flute’ from the Middle Palaeolithic was believed to have been discovered in the 1920s from Potočka Zijalka Jama Cave (i.e. (1) This femur of an adult cave bear (U. s. eremus) from the Große Teufels Cave, Germany (PO collection), is the best proof for the hyena tooth mark and damage origin, where two diagonal tooth marks (i.e. The bone crusher of longbones was only the Ice Age spotted hyena, which produced round/oval puncture marks on cave bear cub bones by the bone crushing premolar teeth, i.e. This was already contradictory to the results of the archaeological inventory that is well acceptably declared to be solely of, again, Cro-Magnon human Late Palaeolithic origin, and not of Mousterian (cf. (2) Single probably canine impact of a large carnivore (lion, hyena) on a cub skull (large cave bear form U. ingressus) from the Große Teufels Cave, Germany. Did Neanderthals play music? Such mandibles were crushed always similar with damaging the ramus, or flakes of the lower distal mandible. Neanderthals that lived in warmer climates had longer arms and legs. A taphonomic study of wild wolf (Canis lupus) modification on horse bones in Northwestern Spain. diagonal cut) can be reconstructed, and where lower and upper jaw premolar teeth and their antagonistic tooth mark impact holes fit exactly to the hyena skull dentition. Puncture marks of premolar teeth are only present in cub femur bones, owing to slight phosphatic calcification of the shaft. Ice Age spotted hyenas as Neanderthal exhumers and scavengers in Europe. Such bone fragments, here compiled for the Perick Caves (figure 4), do not expose any puncture marks of the premolars, generally, because the bone breaks are within the crushing triangle, and not by a puncture hole. The Oase Cave material was studied in the Speleological Institute Emil Racovita. Puncture holes are produced by canines (in cranium), whereas the breakage of the left mandible is the result of hyena premolar cracking teeth. The bone crusher of longbones was only the Ice Age spotted hyena, which produced round/oval puncture marks on cave bear cub bones by the bone crushing premolar teeth, i.e. (7) Many selected femur fragments of subadult to adult cave bears (U. s. eremus and U. s. The five-holed flute has a V-shaped mouthpiece and is made from a vulture wing bone. [43]), who misidentified: (a) the site occupation by Neanderthals, as those of Aurignacians [28], (b) the bone, by rotating it upside down (see [44]), the 180° rotation of which is corrected herein (figure 5a), (c) the general bone taphonomy of cave bear bones, and (d) carnivore jaw functions, especially hyenas, correctly presented herein (figure 2). Adult femora have no puncture marks, because those directly flaked into pieces.Download figureOpen in new tabDownload powerPoint. According to musicologist Bob Fink, the flute’s four finger holes match four notes of a diatonic (Do, Re, Mi…) scale. The ‘bear’ essentials: actualistic reserach on Ursus arctos arctos in the Spanish Pyrenees and its implications for palaeontology and archaeology, The sound paradox. Bone work was allowed in the Große Teufels Cave by S. Frühbeißer and was supported by T. Büttner. New research shows that the ‘flute’ is actually just a bone that’s been gnawed on by a hyena (it’s unlikely that the hyena used it as a flute). Continuous documentation of destruction stages of cave bear (U.s. subsp. These predators specialized in consuming mainly (and especially in winter times during cave bear hibernation) cave bears in boreal forest mountain regions, but in different ways and with different impact on the carcasses and bone destruction (cf. In this contribution, not only sole carnivore damage can be demonstrated on all previously published ‘pseudo-bone flutes’, which were already revised in some cases [4,16] (figure 2). [24]; see figures 1, 5–7 and table 1). Rather than being a flute with finger holes made by a Neanderthal (Turk, 1997), this is a natural object modified by a large carnivore (Albrecht et al., 1998; d'Errico et al., 1998). Actually, some remains had been found earlier, but not recognised as a separate species from us. You, our viewers, are passionate about these stories we tell. Musica instrumentalis. First, from the literature available, ‘bone flutes’ were compiled and reinterpreted herein with new drawings (figure 5 and table 1). Other bone surface damages in the form of bites were observed on two cave bear cub humeri (U. s. eremus) from Sophie's Cave, but those were well identified to have resulted from porcupine (rodent) incisive teeth (cf. The first ‘Neanderthal cave bear bone flute’ from the Middle Palaeolithic was believed to have been discovered in the 1920s from Potočka Zijalka Jama Cave (i.e. At least, very correctly, the ‘holes’ were mostly discussed to be of ‘carnivore chewing damage’ origin (cf. Mokriška jama, nova visokoalpska aurignaška postaja v Jugoslaviji. (3) Mandible (U. s. eremus) from the Weiße Kuhle Cave of a cub with hyena premolar impact holes (cracking purpose). figure 2). Once thought to be the earliest musical instruments, bone artifacts called “Neanderthal flutes” were actually the work of scavenging hyenas, a new study says. (4) Shaft from the Oase Cave, Romania, cranial (IR collection). At cave bear dens hyenas left, by periodic scavenging, up to 20% of damaged bones, whereas also lions (cave bear killers), leopards and wolves played a larger role in the cave bear hunting/scavenging, even deep in caves. “Most paleoanthropologists accept that the Divje Babe ‘flute’ is a carnivore-chewed bone, but you do see it referred to as a flute from time to time,” says April Nowell, an archaeologist at the University of Victoria in Canada. tooth with intact crown tip); (b) round surface breakages of compacta, i.e. Rose Kelleher lives in Maryland. The Neanderthal Flute, found in the cave of Divje Babe in Slovenia, is thought to date back at least 50,000 years, making it the oldest known musical instrument in the world. [13,20,21]), and ‘cave bear bone flutes’ would have been, if such, from modern human layers, in all cases. Brodar [8] reported cave bear cub femora and other cave bear bones ‘with holes’ as further proof of the ‘oldest instruments in the world’ from the Mokriška Jama Cave (or Medvedja Jama Cave=Bear Cave), Slovenia. Cave bear bones and archaeological layers are therefore not exactly isochronous in several cases (even mixed due to possibly bioturbation by cave bears building their nests, or burrowing porcupines or digging Ice Age spotted hyenas; cf. (13–14) Cub and adult calcanei from the Weiße Kuhle Cave, Germany (all PAL collection). Figure 1. General cave bear bone damage by large carnivores (lion, hyena, wolf) is present in all of those large cave bear dens. Take your passion further by supporting and driving more of the nature news you know and love. tooth with rubbed or damaged tip or slight impact (PAL collection). Examples of the destruction stages of femora of cave bear cubs, subadult to adult cave bears (U. s. subsp. In some cases, these shafts expose, on both sides, puncture holes of each of the upper jaw P3 and antagonistic lower jaw P3–4, sometimes parts of M1, which attributes it only to the crushing teeth triangle of hyenas (cf. diagonal cut) with increasing femur sizes (figures 5–7). Niko Borish is a Teen Volunteer in the Education Department. The cave bear bones with round–oval, larger puncture marks can be well attributed solely to the main cave bear scavenger of Europe—the Ice Age spotted hyena Crocuta crocuta spelaea. details in [23]). The bone's holes on the dorsal side appear not to line up, whereas on the ventral side another hole was declared as the ‘thumb hole’. Time travelers have gone back in time and watched Neanderthals play the bone flute on a full diatonic scale. (a) Dorsal, (b) lateral, (c) detail of tooth mark hole (GTCP collection). 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