40,000 year old Band Nerds

Recently, scientists discovered 40,000 year old flutes in Germany. The findings are published in Nature today, and begs an answer to a rather puzzling and looming question; when in the human geological record did we possess the ability to create, understand, and integrate music into our culture (for the anthropologist), in addition to whether or not this co-occurred with cortical neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity (for the neuroscientist)? The Cro-Magnons, an earlier modern human of the European Upper Paleolithic residing about 10-40,000 years ago, were the harbingers of human creativity, including art and crafts. It seems they may have possessed the gift of voice and sound too.

What is even more remarkable is that within 40,000 years, our species has gone from creating individual, mediocre, and cacophonous sounds with or without chords to harmonious, resounding, group performances like this; below is a video of my high school band performing Script Ohio. We were nationally renowned, and have marched in the Rose Bowl, Macy’s Thanksgiving, Walt Disney World, and Chicago Thanksgiving Parades on occasion. I played the flute, and yes, I went to band camp, but didn’t partake in any “extracurricular” band activities with my flute , I swear.


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