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Did early humans, or even animals, invent music? #musicmonday

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The BBC has a story on the origins of music and whether or not its a human invention.

This appears to be borne out by the archaeological evidence. While the first hand axes and spears date back about 1.7 million years and 500,000 years respectively, the earliest known musical instruments are just 40,000 years old.
But dig a little deeper and the story becomes more interesting. While musical instruments appear to be a relatively recent innovation, music itself is almost certainly significantly older. Research suggests it may have allowed our distant ancestors to communicate before the invention of language, been linked to the establishment of monogamy and helped provide the social glue needed for the emergence of the first large early and pre-human societies. There is also emerging evidence that music might have even deeper origins: some monkeys can distinguish between sound patterns in ways similar to how humans can recognise slight differences between melodies.

A literal reading of the prehistory of music begins about 40,000 years ago, with Europe on the brink of a momentous change. The region was then home to the Neanderthals, who had inherited it from earlier human species stretching back a million years. But now a new species of human – our own – was racing across Europe. Homo sapiens were clever in a way that Neanderthals were not. Perhaps most importantly, they were armed with much more effective weapons. Within about 5,000 years our species had spread and multiplied so effectively that it may have outnumbered the Neanderthals 10 to one. Not long afterwards the Neanderthals vanished entirely.

Read more.


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