Make jokes about flute players all you want, but it's looking more likely that our earliest musical impulses may have been fed by a variation on just such an instrument based on recent discoveries in caves in southern Germany.
Exploring a human cave settlement along the Danube with the tongue-twisting name Geißenklösterle, researchers have discovered flutes dating back to as much as as much as 45,000 years ago using radiocarbon-dated bones found in the same layer of the archaeological dig.
The discovery marks the earliest example of such instruments found to date, which points to early humans showing artistic impulses far earlier than initially belived.
Hewn from mammoth ivory and what appears to be the bones of a bird, the instruments are the second such find in the settlement from what's called the Aurignacian culture. In 2008, the oldest known example of figurative art was also found in the same cave system, the Venus of Hohle Fels.