No bones about it: Europe's first humans were musical
Music was flourishing in Europe many thousands of years before the birth of Mozart, Brahms and Beethoven, scientists have learned.
The great composers' earliest ancestors were playing instruments and showing artistic creativity more than 40,000 years ago, a study has shown.
Evidence of the musicians was unearthed in Germany in the form of primitive flutes made from bird bones and mammoth ivory.
The finds, described in the 'Journal of Human Evolution', are from Geissenkloesterle Cave in the Swabian Jura region of southern Germany.
They show that the Aurignacian culture, a way of living linked with early modern humans, existed at the site between 42,000 and 43,000 years ago.
Professor Nick Conard, from Tubingen University in Germany, who took part in the excavation, said: "The new dates prove the great antiquity of the Aurignacian in Swabia."