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Above: 43,ooo-82,ooo-year old Cave Bear femur bone segment with 4 holes.

(2 complete holes, and 2 confirmed partial holes, one at each broken end of bone.) .

NEANDERTHAL FLUTE
Oldest Musical Instrument's 4 Notes Matches 4 of Do, Re, Mi Scale
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EVIDENCE OF NATURAL FOUNDATION TO DIATONIC SCALE See also webpage on Scale's Basis . LIBRARY ORDERS OF ESSAY -- HARD-COPY
Accompanying music: Click title: The Joy of Counterpoint by Bob Fink [For more new midis in classical styles, click here]

Updated Mar 2003 -- Two New Books on Music Origins & Music Archaeology Updated Mar 2002-- Chinese playable flutes found --9,ooo yrs old!! Updated Jan 2003 -- Evidence that flute was made by Neanderthals Updated Jan 2004 -- Lacking clear taphonomic evidence, how else could we tell artifact from accident? Updated Oct 2003 -- Replies to Nowell & Chase, D'Errico et al

Musicological Analysis
by Bob Fink
Related information on this analysis: April 5 '97 Times of London; April 12 Globe & Mail; April 11 Science magazine, p.203; Discovery Channel 5/7/97; Western Report 5/5/'97 (Cover story); Scientific-American (Sept.,'97) .. . "The hallmark of great science is that it reduces complexity into simplicity " -- Bruce Stillman, director: Cold Spring Harbor (molecular biology) Laboratory, N. Y.

Top 5% in K-12 Education

Above left: Award won from Cool Site Central. Right: Study Web Award (who wrote ours was "One of the most educational sites on the Internet.") Below them: K12 Education site (with thanks from parents, educators, students & librarians.

The Awesome Library is one of three Best Bets in Education for USA TODAY for the week of July 11, 1999. and winner of numerous other awards and recognitions.) Note: Discussion, debate & letters about this essay begin at this link.

INTRODUCTION and SUMMARY of ESSAY


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An ancient bone flute segment, estimated at about 43,ooo up to 82,ooo years old, was

found recently at a Neanderthal campsite by Dr. Ivan Turk, a paleontologist at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences in Ljubljana. It's the first flute ever to be associated with Neanderthals and its confirmed age makes it the oldest known musical instrument. The find is also important for its implications regarding the evolution of musical scales. It's to this latter issue my analysis in this article is addressed. ( See full "ESSAY" below.) **** Holes 2, 3 & 4 on the bone (as shown, from left to right) stand in a significant relationship to each other: The distance between holes 2 and 3 is virtually twice that between holes 3 and 4. The line-up of the holes indicate that it is a flute. This means we are looking at a whole-tone and a half-tone somewhere within a scale. Such a combination of whole-tone and half-tone is the heart and soul of what makes up 7-note diatonic scales. Without making even one more measurement beyond this, we can already conclude: These three notes on the Neanderthal bone flute are inescapably diatonic and will sound like a near-perfect fit within ANY kind of standard diatonic scale, modern or antique. We simply cannot conceive of it being otherwise, unless we deny it is a flute at all. In essence, the whole story is simply that. Sometimes the simplicity of a situation, as outlined just above, is so simple that we are unnecessarily suspicious of the obvious -- that it's just "too easy" to accept it at first glance, and we tend to over-complicate things to avoid appearing hasty. Therefore, many experiments and other approaches were tried, but the simplicity of the issue remained intact. This is the most powerful practical evidence ever in support of there being a natural foundation to the diatonic scale. It is in line with University of California's (Berkeley) Prof. Anne D. Kilmer's deciphering of the clay tablets, 4,000 years old, from Ur, indicating, in this world's oldest known song, the use of harmony and of the diatonic scale. It is also confirming of recent psychological studies by Trehub (U. of Toronto), Schellenberg (U. of Windsor), and Kagan (Harvard) of infants. These studies (Vol. 7 #5 Sept '96 of Psychological Science) showed musically untutored infants preferred natural (acoustic) intervals over dissonant intervals. All of this recent evidence confirms the predictions and views in my 1970 book on the Origin of Music, which outlines the natural forces pushing the diatonic scale into existence. The remaining hole (left-most first hole in the picture) is the only clue we have to answer the remaining questions, which is really the bulk of the essay's subject. To those questions, as one can read, we have come up with a fit to the Mi, Fa, Sol, La part of a minor scale, which includes a flatted La and a "neutral" third for Mi, widely used in many cultures, sometimes

called a "blue" note (match no. 2 in the paper). Another match was also considered viable (no. 1)
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To summarize the remaining questions taken up in the essay: a) Is this remaining hole able to produce yet another diatonic note consistent with the other 3? Within variations of our permitted tolerances, and with clear parallels to human musical history, the answer is yes for any of the matches considered. (See the appendix, quotes & notes for what are acceptable dimensions needed to claim a fit.) b) Where in the scale will the bone's set of 4 notes fit? We have assumed that the flute plays a larger scale, as it is most unlikely you'd have a scale of only 4 notes without a keynote, or with the first note being the keynote. Since a flute's keynote and its octave-up can already be played without drilling any holes at all , it is safe to assume that the 4 holes made in the bone segment would likely be for additional notes (as in match no. 2). Only two notes would then remain missing to complete the full scale. One would only drill a separate keynote hole into the marrow if no other exit from the internal hollow of the bone existed (which is remotely possible in the case of match no. 1, if this hole is at the knobby-end of the femur). c) Which way do the 4 notes run relative to the blow-in end? Is it from the left to right (as is assumed in the paper's drawing), or right to left? (Note: If we had assumed it was the opposite direction from what's shown in the bone drawing, then we'd get the best of all matches so far (which would be a match that is the reverse of match no. 2), namely: Mi(major), Fa, Sol, and La (major) -- all holes measuring within about 1/16 of a tone tolerance. But this reverse match depends upon whether bone length in that direction would be sufficient to reach the necessary distance to the blow-in end. d) How long was the original flute? 37 centimeters (+1 / -5cm) -- is our present estimate based on empirical measurements of commercial flute-lengths and interpolating these to the bone segment, which may have been extended to reach the required length.. There is a difference between air-column length needed to produce musical notes and the actual (shorter) flute length needed to sustain this oscillating air-column. Our empirical results indicate the flute need be about 87% of the functionally operating air-column of the fundamental keynote. . OTHER FACTORS NEGLIGIBLE
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Other factors, such as flute wall thickness, material, hole diameter, interior diameter, interior obstacles and bumps -- all have been cited as able to affect pitch . But the extent of their effect on pitch in the case of this Neanderthal flute seems likely to be nil to very small , and would be only noticeable to a discerning ear. Also, since there are so many of these factors, then by the normal operation of chance, some would tend to cancel each other out, rather than all working in the same direction to alter a note's pitch all upward or all downward. Experiments with several commercial flutes, by enlarging holes, blocking them partially, etc., tended to indicate that these changes would [regarding the range of dimensions of the artifact] be virtually inconsequential to its pitch, and well within our tolerances. One effect of changing the flute's length (by increasing or decreasing it near the blow-in end) had only a small effect on pitch. E.g., after large length reductions -- up to two hole diameters or more -- the result was the entire scale was raised as a whole, by a tone or by a half-tone, but without throwing any of its notes appreciably out of tune with each other. It was still clearly recognizable as the scale -- it was just in a different key and a bit out of tune. On the other hand, changes of length at the open escape end made

big differences. So, if you got the escape-end right, all the other matters above allow very forgiving tolerances. Further, considering the extent of the capacity of Neanderthals to take factors other than length and distances between holes into account, and considering the range of workmanship error that we'd expect from their tools, I suspect these would have a greater effect on pitch than any of these other factors, thereby rendering these other factors negligible. On those grounds, we took length as the deciding measure for pitch, and I built a flute into which I incorporated the same proportional spacings as is found between the 4 Neanderthal flute holes. The resulting sound more than confirmed the analyses we've made. The findings were checked and supported by the C.U.N.Y. earth scientist who announced the find and worked on dating it . [SEE DEBATE & UPDATES BELOW] . .

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ESSAY
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1. UNEQUALLY-SPACED HOLES
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The flute's holes are clearly unequally spaced, and it's very unlikely, judging from the compared distances between them, that these would have been done from poor measurements or sloppy punching or drilling. A flute-maker could be off a bit due to that kind of error, but not a lot off. The holes are a lot off from being equidistantly spaced. So this is assumption #1 -- but a likely one: The unequalness is deliberate. The next assumption is also extremely likely to be true: As we humans seem to show, there is a history of a predisposition toward equality in measurements: The distances between telephone poles; between pickets; between windows on buildings in the architecture of all periods and cultures; between sidewalk slabs; between inches; feet, yards, centimeters -between ranks and files of all types, etc. We also use 5's and l0's and symmetry a lot (as we have 5+5 fingers and toes). One of the infrequent exceptions to this mental penchant is the historical 5 and 7-note musical scales. One look at a piano keyboard shows that our inclination for equal spacings for intervals between things (musical notes in this case) has been ignored or was overridden. Not only in Western music, but even throughout history and by widely differing musical cultures. Prof Anne D. Kilmer, head of Dept of Assyriology at U. of Cal., Berkeley, who corresponded with me about this and visited me here some years ago, had deciphered 4,000-year-old cuneiform tablets as being a song in the do, re, mi (diatonic) scale , and it was a song that had harmony (of thirds) to boot!1 This kind of growing evidence of the utter universality of the unequal-interval pentatonic and/or diatonic scales has upset many musicological apple-carts, but not mine. Since the distance between fingertips from one tip to another is more or less equal, then the holes in this Neanderthal flute (if Neanderthals have the same mental penchant for easy

arithmetic and equidistant repetitions as we do) should have been equidistant -- if for no other reason than to fit the convenience of the finger widths. INITIAL CONCLUSIONS To again see this predilection for equality get over-ridden in the making of these holes, therefore, is significant, and leads, even before we make further measurements, to the following (likely) conclusions: * Firstly, as to the obvious, the Neanderthal flute-maker didn't want a single tone or a sliding "siren-like" kind of sound; so he/she put in holes so that step-wise discreet or separate notes could be created. That's the dividing of the continuum of sound into scales, just like us. * But the holes were not acceptable to this Neanderthal if they produced just any old notes (as equidistant holes would produce). When we look at history, such a scale would be, and it seems, was felt, to be "out of tune" in most human musical cultures. [See note 5 below] The reasons for this are profusely examined in my book on music's origins ( The Origin of Music). Therefore, the holes (likely) were made with the goal in mind of producing some kind of non-equal scale or set of notes. * A large number of different scales made from such non-equally divided hole-spacings are possible -- but earlier research that I and others have published over the years indicates that there are reasons based in acoustics and ratios (of vibrations) to conclude that the likeliest scales to be "sought" with such unequal hole-spacings are pentatonic or diatonic scales. Suffice it to say these scales are overwhelmingly parallel to the acoustic "overtone series" and several other acoustic properties2 -- yet the scales were produced by ancient people with no knowledge of acoustic facts or properties -- other than the responses of their ears. So, therefore, if the Neanderthal is going to go for an unequal scale, it "probably" would be one of those two types (pentatonic and/or diatonic) .
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Using negative logic, the question arises: If the Neanderthals weren't seeking an unequal scale, why not make the holes equally-spaced? There are "probably's" and "likely's" in the above, but I think "very" and "extremely" will be supportable adjectives once we look at accepted conclusions in other disciplines (e.g., as above: psychology, history, artifacts, physiology, musicology and acoustics -- to name a few that we will bring to bear on this anthropological-archeological flute find.

WHAT NOTES WERE PLAYED ON THE FLUTE?


Regarding the actual notes that might have come from the flute: Unless we can know the full original length of the flute, and the placement of holes on it, we cannot know for certain the notes that were played on it. But all is not lost. Readers may be aware of all, some or none of the following, so excuse me if I assume none. If you take a length of violin or piano string, and press down in the center (creating what is called a "node" in the string), then each half of the string when played will produce an octave up, of the note of the entire string. A division into thirds makes notes that are called 5ths, and so on. Similarly, a column of air (inside a wind instrument) can be divided, and each lesser length of aircolumn can produce other notes, as well. In order to take a long musical horn and get it to produce other notes, we have seen history roll up the horn, and add valves (trumpet) or a slide (trombone) to force into existence differing lengths of columns of vibrating air inside the instrument -- hence creating the different notes in the scale. The holes in a flute can likewise create these changing lengths of air-columns (and produce different notes). But clearly, if you don't know the full length of the flute, then the holes, representing different columns of air, can't be assigned as being, for example, at the "halfway" point of the full length of the

flute (producing an octave up); or at the / rd location, and so on. We might have the last 3 or 4 holes, or the middle 4, of the whole flute. The unequal spacings would be our best clue as to which holes they were (again "assuming" we are looking for a diatonic or pentatonic scale). If we assume the scale is there (reasonable to do, I think, just from the unequalness of the hole spacings), then the hole spacings might possibly lead to the reconstruction of the full-length flute. Again, we are left with the question above: If the Neanderthals weren't seeking an unequal scale, why didn't they make the holes equally-spaced? (On the other hand, if we don't assume a particular scale was sought after by the hole-maker, then we cannot reconstruct anything further than the fragment as found.)
1 3

2. RECONSTRUCTION OF THE WHOLE FLUTE


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First, disregarding for the moment the actual "key" or absolute pitch of notes, the general way in which a flute is made to produce a pentatonic or major diatonic scale is as follows: Whatever the length of the flute (bone, bamboo, metal, whatever), that length (called L) is divided as follows: From the blow-end, if no holes are punched, then the flute will produce its fundamental note (and its octave), namely, Do (from the Do, Re, Mi scale). If you make a hole / ths of the length of the effective air column, measuring from the blow end (where the slit, reed or mouthpiece is), then you will get the second note, Re, in a rising scale. If you make another hole / ths from the mouthpiece, the 3rd note, Mi (in the major scale) is formed. And so on, until you have produced notes up to Ti.3 More holes after that would begin repeating the scale an octave higher. . Illus: MODEL FLUTE
8 9 4 5

We can label the distances between the holes (which will be necessarily unequally-spaced) as z, y, x, w, v, u, as many as are needed to suit the number of holes. For our purposes, only six holes (plus the two Do's able to be made with all holes closed) will give us the full scale. There is the possibility of an end hole made on the face of the flute rather than made by the exiting of the hollow bore, and the possibility of a flute with 8 holes playing both Do notes. The distances between holes are listed as percentages of the previous hole distance. (Of course, the Neanderthal bone flute would have been made "by ear," and could not have been made using this kind of mathematical approach. We are here simply creating a comparative "model.")

Each set of any consecutive set of holes (say 4 holes in this example) will exhibit a pattern of relative spacings between them that is unique to those 4. If, after trying to account for errors in construction techniques -- a difficult matter to define, we can match the set of holes in the Neanderthal flute to one or another set of consecutive holes in our theoretical or mathematically perfect model of a flute, then we can say the bone flute fragment is part of a flute that plays, for ex., the mi, fa, sol, la part of the do, re, mi scale, or the like. (If the Mi part of the scale was missing, or the Fa note is missing, then we would have the pentatonic scale.) After reaching this point, the actual measurements will come into play: Picking a distance between holes in actual centimeters, we can use that to find a multiplying factor that will give us the full length of the original flute. Using other distances between holes and re-doing that calculation, and averaging the results, may compensate somewhat for any errors. The result will be approximate, but still very close to what the length would have to have been. So the above, then, is the methodology we have put in place. (A friend, Mike Finley, very knowledgeable in science and math, is now working with me on this). We don't want to go into such great refinements of this method as to be exceeding the accuracy possible for the Neanderthal flute-makers of that time. However, the flute, because it was found connected to being used in the cave camp-site, was probably not a throw-away (one they made but didn't like) but was one which played acceptable sounds in a scale for them. On this basis, I would expect the holes, if they are meant to reproduce a scale they desired, would have measurements close to what was wanted.
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3. RESULTS and CONCLUSIONS


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The measurements we made produced two matches, one fair (with problems); one excellent (within about .5cm and usually much less than that), to a 4-hole pattern found (above) in the model's set of holes. The odds are great against getting any match to one of the 4-hole patterns on the model due to chance alone. As to those odds, I believe most statisticians could check them out. (See appendix .) The relationship between the holes in the model flute is expressed as a percentage of the previous hole. This creates a pattern, e.g: From the notes re, mi, fa, sol (shown above), the pattern is as follows: Dimension e is measured from the escape end of the flute. Dim.z equals .79 of dim.e; followed by y (equal to .57 of z); then x (equal to 1.67y) and so on. If the model scale is a minor scale, then the Mi note is flatted and dimensions z (equal to .49e) and y (=1.51z ) are used, along with w and v , to account for a minor 6th. When we measured the bone flute, we compared its distances between holes the same way: each as a percentage of the dimension of the previous hole. In this way, we could easily see which hole patterns, if any, were alike or similar.
2 2 2 2 2

The holes on the ends were not as well defined as the 2 holes in the middle. So we used the distance between the middle holes as a given or standard. The end hole on the left above is so broken as to suggest two possible locations (or even no hole at all?). It could be an end hole. Hole "a" seems better defined, but hole "b" has its claim because it lines up better with the other 3 holes.
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MATCH-UP
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Without regard to the overall length of the original Neanderthal bone flute, here are the possible matches: First: Do, Re, Mi, Fa: This match assigns distance "Q" on the bone flute as corresponding to distance "z" on the model flute.

MATCH # 1
On Model (Major): % of previous hole: Expected dimension: Actual dimension:

Note & Dim. from left end: (Do) + "c" = n/a for P For P: 4.39cm P = 2.6--3.0cm?

Note & Dim. .

Note & Dim. .

Note & Dim. .

Re + "z" =
Q = .79 of dim P Given: Q=3.45cm Q = 3.45cm

Mi + "y" =
R =.57 of dim. Q For R: 1.96cm R = 1.75cm

Fa + "x"
broken off n/a broken off

The second match is for the minor scale segment Mi, Fa, Sol, La., as follows ("Q" corresponds to "x" dim. on the model):

MATCH # 2
On Model (Minor): % of previous hole: Expected dimension: Actual dimension:

Note & Dim.

Note & Dim.

Note & Dim.

Note & Dim.

Mi + "y2" =
n/a For P: 3.45cm P = 2.6--3.0cm?

Fa + "x" =
Q=P Given: Q=3.45cm Q = 3.45cm
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Sol + "w2" =
R =.5 of dim. Q For R: 1.72cm R = 1.75cm

La + "v2"
broken off n/a broken off

This second match is to a four-note pattern; the first match is to a 3-note pattern plus a possible (and problematical) "end hole." Match #2, in the minor key, is a closer match to the expected or predicted dimensions.

The minor key has been just slightly less popular or prevalent in human musical history, but very popular nonetheless. (Being second, you could say it tries harder) Most instruments are made to play the major scale, But the "relative" minor can be obtained from the major scale by starting on note La (2 steps below Do) rather than starting on Do, provided the instrument has enough of a note-span to embrace the lower La. The Neanderthal flute could be flipped over, thereby running the distances between holes the opposite way, and the patterns would run the opposite way and differently. But this would require that the location on the entire femur of this bone segment would need enough room on the opposite side to continue on to account for an air column up to 16 inches (41 / cm). The orientation we chose is the one where the remainder of the flute is clearly suggestive of continuing on. Even if the paleontologists say there is length enough in the opposite direction, that would give us a "Match #3" and it would be the best match (of Mi, Fa, Sol, La in the major scale). The calculation of this reconstructed length is based on the locations of the holes from the blow-in end. If the Fa note is / ths of the whole effective air column length (measured from the blow-end), and the Sol note is / rds, then the distance between those holes (in the model) flute represents .083 of the whole length. The reciprocal of .083 is 12.05. Taking the distance on the bone flute (in match #two) between those holes, (3.45cm), times 12.05, equals 41.6cm (plus some kind of mouthpiece or reed at the blowend) as the hypothetical overall length of the flute's operating air-column. As most flutes need 10-15% less actual length to account for the operating air-column (which extends out past the escape end of the flute), then the range for length would be 36-39cm of bone based on dimension "Q" being correct. NOTE: We have no idea, however, how long a mouthpiece would have been. It could have been any significant length --especially if the femur was too short to support lower, richer tones. Experiments we made with a bamboo flute (with equally spaced holes) and with three tin whistles (similar to simple flutes), indicated that changing the size of the hole made little difference to the pitch; nor did lumps and obstructions within the hollow bore; and pitch changes were not significantly noticeable when location errors (of hole distances to each other) were less than half the diameter of a hole (about .3 or .4 cm). Errors greater than this could no longer be classified as simply "out of tune," but would actually begin to represent, as a whole, a totally different scale, alien in virtually all respects from a major or minor series of note-steps. In match#2, the area where we have the greatest error, it is important to note that this concerns the Mi (minor 3rd) and it parallels the recorded tendency to, and the expectation of finding, wider variations of tunings of thirds all through music history.4 The third is the keystone note determining whether a scale is minor or major; it is one of the areas in which "blue notes" are tuned; and when removed altogether from the scale (along with the 7th, Ti), it leaves us with the pentatonic scale. The Blue Note is closer to a "neutral third" (one of these was introduced -- or reintroduced -- to the scale 1100 years ago by the Arabian musician Zalzal). The reason for historic uncertainty concerning tuning of thirds is because the influence of acoustic pressures is weak concerning this note and two other notes. We see this is possibly reflected here in the bone flute tuning as well. Our conclusion then is this: The notes on the Neanderthal flute, if possible for it to reach the
1 2 3 4 2 3

total air-column length of about 42cm (in match #two), are consistent with 4 notes of the minor diatonic scale (flatted 3rd and flatted 6th included). All the notes, even in the lesser match #1, are still within the general pitch range able to be considered as notes within the diatonic scale. ( See also * in "Notes")
-- Bob Fink Feb/97

APPENDIX
REPORT on the PROBABILITY

of the PATTERN OF HOLES in the NEANDERTHAL FLUTE MATCHING PART of the DIATONIC SCALE
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The correlation between the model and the actual pattern of holes in the Neanderthal flute is close (in Match #2). For the following material and work I thank my friend Mike Finley. We will take the first hole on the flute as an arbitrarily fixed base point, and assume** that shifting the position of a hole by +/- .225cm will produce a noticeable difference in tone. The remainder of the flute's available length can be divided into .45 cm sections, each corresponding to a just-noticeable different and distinct tone. To calculate a conservative estimate of the order of magnitude regarding the number of distinctive scales possible, the full remaining 7.7 cm span of the flute is available for the placement of holes in these .45cm sections. This allows for approximately 17 tones. Using a standard permutation formula, the three holes allowed to vary in position could be distributed between the available span in 17!/(14! 3!) ways, e.g., 680 ways. Therefore, the order of magnitude against getting a close match is in the hundreds.
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Thus, it appears unlikely that a close match with the minor diatonic scale could occur as a matter of chance. (See also odds for flute itself to arise by chance) Click for more details of calculation and another way to calculate this. ._________________________________ ** In arriving at this assumption, it is first reasonable to ask what displacement of a hole is necessary to make the sound produced by the flute be objectionably out of tune. A physical criterion may be relevant in assessing whether the flute can be regarded as an example of an instrument playing a minor scale "acceptably" in tune. Some deviations from the mathematically correct placement of holes will not produce a flute that is objectionably out of tune. For example, a full Pythagorean comma is the deviation from perfect pitch which will occur when an instrument perfectly tuned in one key is used to play in another key. To avoid this, a compromise is required to allow playing in different keys. To construct modern instruments that can transpose and play in other keys, tones are adjusted so that no note differs from perfect pitch by more than comma in any key, and this produces a tempered scale (such as found on keyboard instruments). However, what is "objectionable" is, at the margin of acceptability, subjective: To some trained vocalists, even a properly-tuned tempered scale always sounds out of tune. But to most people, it is acceptable.5 Thus, the deviation that can be deemed acceptable for present purposes must include an element of subjective judgment. Experiment with a simple bamboo flute suggests that an error of less than approximately .21 cm is acceptable. (This is similar to a half-comma.) At least, such a deviation did not sound objectionable to one of us (Bob Fink), a trained musician, but who does not have perfect pitch. Shifting the tone of the first note above the fundamental by a Pythagorean comma would shift the position of the hole: by .45 cm, and a half-comma change in tone would shift the hole by .225 cm. Two of the three intervals between the holes in the Neanderthal flute deviate from assumed perfect pitch by . 03 cm or less, well within the criteria discussed above. The third interval deviates by an average of . 64cm, a bit more than a whole comma. This interval is, however, the most difficult to measure due to deterioration of the bone about the terminal hole. If this hole lies 3.0cm from the 2nd hole, as suggested by a dotted line circle (for hole "b" on the flute), then the deviation is only .45, approximately one comma. If it lies 2.6cm from the 2nd hole, (hole "a" on the flute) then the deviation from the model flute of expected locations is .84cm. There is, of course, no attempt to imply that any of the criteria discussed here would have been applied by a musician in the Neanderthal group that used the flute. Nevertheless, the criteria provide rough limits for calculation.

NOTES
1. Anne Draffkorn Kilmer, Richard L. Crocker and Robert R. Brown, Sounds from Silence (Berkeley, California: Bit Enki Publications, 1976) and Bob Fink, "The Oldest Song in the World," in Archaeologia Musicalis (Study Group on Music Archaeology, Feb., 1988), pp. 98-100. These describe the nature of the song as diatonic and using harmony. 2. J. T. Howard & J. Lyons, Modern Music (New American Library, 1958). On page 36 and 38, Howard & Lyons write: "The art of music and the practice of harmony have been developed according to what has pleased human ears; they have been evolved by musicians, not by scientists. Nevertheless, as one compares the growth of the art of music and the extension of its basic principles with the laws of acoustics, he finds an interesting parallel between the two. In other words, men have found most pleasing to their ears the combination of those tones that bear certain mathematical relationships to one another, even though they may not have been aware that those relationships existed.... It is impossible...to ignore the parallel between two, one a science and the other an art, and fail to observe that the tones which have been accepted...as producing agreeable...sounds in combination with other given tones have corresponded roughly with the natural overtones of those given tones. Moreover, the historic order in which these tones have come into the musical vocabulary forms an almost identical pattern with the harmonic series (of overtones)." See: Natural Forces Bringing Do Re Mi Scale into Existence on line. 3. Hermann C. F. Helmholtz, On the Sensations of Tone (2nd English Ed.; New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1954), p. 17, passim. In this work, Helmholtz also cites other ratios for the tunings of the third, sixth, seventh and the second. These tunings are close to each other, but have had wide historical usage. Some of these older standard tunings, if we used them, would actually make our findings even closer. It was long experience and scientific intervention (mathematics and acoustics) that led to the most prevalent standard ratios for notes of the scale, which we used in our "model" scale. Needless to say, Neanderthals had no benefit of this kind of reckoning. 4. Alan P. Merriam, "African Music," in Continuity and Change In African Cultures, ed. By Wm. R. Bascomb & Melville J. Herskovits (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1959). On page 72., A. M. Jones is quoted by Merriam: "I have lived in Central Africa for over twenty years, but to my knowledge I have never heard an African sing the 3rd and 7th degrees of a major scale in tune." Merriam notes pp. 71-72): "There has been some discussion of an African scale in which the third and seventh degrees are flatted or, more specifically, neutral between a major and minor interval. This concept has been advanced especially by those concerned with analysis of jazz music, since in jazz usage, these two degrees of the scale -- called 'blue' notes -- are commonly flatted and since the third degree, especially, is frequently given a variety of pitches in any single jazz performance." Helmholtz (op.cit., p.255) notes that the "history of musical systems shows that there was much and long hesitation as to the tuning of the Thirds...." 5. Curt Sachs, The Rise of Music in the Ancient World, East & West (N.Y.: W. W. Norton & Co., 1943) and Bruno Nettl, Music in Primitive Culture (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1956) and Marius Schneider, "Primitive Music," in Ancient & Oriental Music, ed. By Egon Wellesz, Vol. I of The New Oxford History of Music (London: Oxford University Press, 1957) each writing about a different culture: On p. 133, Sachs describes a phenomenon in which conflicting tendencies (toward and away from equal divisions of the scale) may be combined. "Singers do not pay much heed to this temperament." He adds one aria "in almost Western intervals alternates with orchestral ritornelli in Siamese tuning." That is, singers sang the unequal steps, but the instruments were tuned to the tempered or equal steps.

Nettl confirms this idea. He writes: "...the instrumental scales rarely correspond exactly with the vocal scales occurring in the same tribe." (p. 60.) Schneider writes (p.14-15): "When the same song is performed simultaneously...by voices and instruments, the melody proceeds in two different tunings. The instruments...on their own scale, the voices in theirs..." He says we must suppose "that the vocal tone-system has been evolved in a natural and specifically musical fashion, whereas in the tuning of instruments...quite different principles were applied --such as, for example, the breadth of the thumb as the standard for the space between flute holes," or such as when a need on the same instrument arises to transpose melodies into higher or lower keys, the notes are adjusted toward greater equality (tempered) so that each key will remain tolerable, if not perfect. Thus we have developed from this kind of typical behavior an expectation not to find perfect pitch tunings on an instrument. The operative word here, relative to criteria for what is "acceptable" is that these instruments are tolerated, but when perfect pitch is available (voice, strings) then musicians choose the perfect intervals. In practical terms of instrument-making, the tolerable amounts have been in the neighborhood of up to a Pythagorean comma, and that is approximately the greatest amount of error (occurring only once) in our measurements of the Neanderthal flute. This is especially significant in light of the fact that this deviation from predicted occurs on the Mi, the third note of the scale, already with a reputation for wider tunings, as much as a quarter-tone (2 commas). *Finally, this should be noted: On the bone flute, if we suppose that the key is C-minor (just for example), then the flute's notes would be Eb, F, G, Ab. These 4 notes only sound minor if you start playing the C-minor scale to which they belong from C. However, they will sound major if you start on Eb (Mi). This is because Eb is the relative major of the key of C-minor. Just playing those 4 notes alone will sound like you are playing the major notes of do, re, mi, fa (in the key of Eb major) if you don't hear anything prior to them. In order for us to reduce getting spam from junk-mailer programs, click on FEEDBACK, and then before e-mailing us, remove the '+' symbol from our address to make sure you reach us. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Bel Canto magazine (UK) Hannah Lambert, editor; Prof Bonnie Blackwell, Geology Dept. Queens College CUNY, Flushing, NY, USA; Birmingham Zoo (Alabama); Mike Finley, Saskatoon; Numerous flute-makers (on the net); Treasures of the Earth Co.; Prof Ernie Walker, archaeologist, U. of Sask, Saskatoon.
Note: The concepts of evolution in this essay have nothing in common with so-called "Creationism" .

UPDATE NOTES
UPDATE, MARCH, 1998.... Some information in the Ivan Turk monograph helps considerably to narrow down the speculation regarding the notes producible by the Neanderthal flute bone. First of all, the flute is made from a much younger bear cub (yearling) than I hoped. We had originally thought the femur was possibly from a juvenile cub old enough so that the full femur would be long enough on its own to account for the required air column length. But because we were not originally informed of the actual cub's age -- we earlier also allowed that a mouthpiece could have extended the length of the Neanderthal flute. But this was an assumption that I didn't want to be forced to make. The new information means the flute, as a whole femur bone, would have been shorter and forces us now to rely on that assumption of an extension: If there is a match at all to diatonic scale tones -- then the bone had to be somehow extended in length by another bone or mouthpiece. If this extension was provided at that ancient time, then the notes that could be played would be very close to do, re, mi and fa in the diatonic scale. The original match of hole spacings (match #2), which we originally chose to be the likeliest simply because of the arithmetic closeness of the match, is now a less likely match, but still viable. On the other hand, Match #1 becomes more likely (if it was a closed-end flute). And a third match, also mentioned in my original essay, which is obtained if the flute is flipped and the hole-notes are ascending in the opposite direction, is now also more likely than first thought. This is because the bone, now needing to be extended anyway if a match is to be closely in tune, could have been extended from either end of the bone artifact. Again, this 3rd match*** would provide an excellent match to the do, re, mi, fa sounds. There is no direct ancient evidence available for or against the bone having had such an extension, regarding the oldest flutes. However, later homo sapiens history does provide examples of flutes that commonly had inserts of various lengths for mouthpieces or changes of pitch. Of course, any hypothesis is weakened when additional assumptions must be made. As we never offered our conclusion as being proof, the weakening is one only of degree rather than of fundamental significance. The alternative conclusions that would still be necessary if there was no assumed extension to the bone would remain difficult to justify or explain: These conclusions would be: * That we would have a scale virtually unique to that flute (possibly matching some other obscure scale in some parts of the world, but not matching any known historically widespread scale in use). The problem with this non-conclusion is that since the hole-spacings discussed in this essay have only a one-in-hundreds chance to match a pattern of 4 notes in the diatonic major/minor scales, then this conclusion would require accepting a remarkable against-the-odds coincidence of spacings. * That the unequal spacing (rather than equal spacings of the holes to gratify an easy fit to the fingers) would remain inexplicable. * That we have a flute whose mouth-end would be large and uncomfortable in the mouth unless it's assumed it had to be cross-blown as in a modern flute (or -- assumed to have had an extension). * Finally, the independent corroborative evidence that indicates, from acoustics and the ear, that there likely is a natural foundation (or impetus) toward evolution of the diatonic scale, would no longer be relevant to this bone. The "ring of likelihood" that acoustic influences offer (and that is offered by evidence from other disciplines) because this evidence integrates nicely (and as expected) toward explaining this find, would have to be abandoned in relation to the artifact. See again: http://www.greenwych.ca/natbasis.htm and http://www.greenwych.ca/evidence.htm. Of course, just because these alternative points, given the hole spacings, may be hard to accept, they may nevertheless be true. But instead, for me, these alternatives and the current information reported in the Turk monograph which helps narrow certain ambiguities, points me to sustain the original conclusion in the essay that the four notes are -- and remain as we concluded -- "consistent with 4 notes of the diatonic scale."

Indeed, other illustrations that super-impose the bone artifact's holes over diatonic hole patterns (similar to the illustration for match #2, which is to a minor diatonic flute) could be made for match #1, and illustrated for a third match (in reverse, to a major scale flute). All these matches would be clearly -- even you have eye problems -- very good visual matches; they're unlikely by chance, and the matches really do not require much of an acoustical "analysis." Unfortunately, we cannot get further than our current conclusion at the present time.

CORRESPONDENCE III: NEANDERTHAL FLUTE


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From: "Kent Nickerson" knickerson@kw.igs.net To: bonn@qcvaxa.acc.qc.edu 14 Apr 1997, Forwarded to Bob Fink for reply . From the Globe and Mail, early April:
"A Neanderthal flute made from a bear's thigh bone (Science, Nov. 2) was used to play sweet music [your words, Bonnie, or some hack journalist's?], reports the Times of London. Canadian musicologist Bob Fink has studied the four inch artifact and concluded that it is based on the same seven-note scale used in modern western music. The flute, as it survives, could play four notes (Mi, Fa, Sol and Lah) in a minor key. In its original form, it would have been 15 inches long and capable of producing the entire scale."

Now I find this interesting, as it is considered in musicology that a pentatonic scale preceded the diatonic, yet the article above implies the latter! The Neanderthals were beyond rudimentary melodies, it seems! -- Kent . To Kent Nickerson from Bob Fink April 14, 1997 . Dear Kent Nickerson: I think the pentatonic would tend to precede the diatonic anywhere, anytime. The 3rd and seventh notes introduce half-tones into the pentatonic scale, and unless you have tonality or a strong sense of key driving your melodies, you'd not take kindly to these additional notes. For a melody-lover, they serve as "leading tones" to the 4th note and the octave. These would only interest a melodically oriented musician. If you weren't so melodical, and still wanted to fill the two big tone-anda-half gaps in the pentatonic, but also wanted to preserve an avoidance of the additions forming halftones, then you would make the additions neither minor nor major but between them -- "neutral" tones, and the worst you have to put up with then is a 3/4-tone. The bone had a neutral third -- which could reflect this choice. That is to say -- they already could have had a pentatonic that they were beginning to turn into a diatonic -- just as the Chinese independently did the same with their "pien" tones, and just as the ancient Scots

and Irish did as well, occassionally adding the seventh and 3rd to their melodies, but not permanently into their scale. There are several citations about this in the "Origin of Music" book I wrote in 1970. I didn't mean to imply the Neanderthals had no pentatonic "first." I have no idea -- but IF they had the diatonic, then I suspect it was preceded by a pentatonic (for which, of course, we have no evidence). UPDATE: Now we do: Click here. --Bob Fink . May 5, 1997, Sent by: Michael McBroom, bodhi@earthlink.net to Bonnie Blackwell, forewarded to Bob Fink .. Bonnie Blackwell wrote: "the notes are four notes in a harmonic minor scale, neutral mi, fa, so, minor la." As a trained musician, I find the above statement confusing, and either incomplete or incorrect. It was not indicated which "sol-fa" system was being used. Is it the "movable-do system," in which the label for the tonic remains the same, regardless of pitch, or is it the absolute system, as used by the French and Italians, where each label corresponds to a specific note, the way C,D,E,F,G,A,B (or octaves thereof) do here? Further, I'm not sure how to interpret a "neutral mi" or a "minor la." Perhaps "natural" was meant, instead of "neutral?" If so, this would suggest that the absolute system is being used, which would mean the notes would be E, F, G, and ??? Perhaps A-flat? If it is correct that the four notes in question are E, F, G, and A-flat, then stating that they represents a harmonic minor scale is not entirely accurate. This scale fragment can be interpreted as being in the key of F minor, with a raised-7th, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd tones present. One of the distinguishing characteristics of a harmonic minor scale is the raised 7th tone, which this one has (the "mi" or E). But the most crucial distinction -- the one that gives the harmonic minor scale its exotic eastern quality -- is the 1.5-step interval between the 6th and 7th tones (minor 6th to major 7th intervals). This scale fragment lacks the 6th tone, so we cannot say with certainty that the 1.5-step interval was present. We can't even say with certainty that it is a minor scale. It could just as easily be an A-flat augmented 5th, or a B-flat diminished 5th scale fragment as well. Best, Michael McBroom, California State University, Fullerton Graduate Student, Linguistics Research Interest: Biological Origins of Language . Bob Fink to Michael McBroom: May 6, 1997 . Dear M. McBroom: The 4 notes on the bone flute correspond to the Flat Mi, Fa, Sol, and flat-La of a minor scale in the movable-Doh sytem. Without knowing the length of the original bone and playing it, no absolute pitch can be assumed. The flat Mi is sharper than a perfect match. It is justified as a "match to notes in a diatonic minor scale" (ANY minor scale -- harmonic or melodic) on two grounds: a) because of a similar known history of wide and varied tunings of the third scale note throughout much of the world, especially the western world, but also Africa, and b) awareness of the accuracy of workmanship likely to expect from Neanderthals. This makes the match fit into a minor scale in a way that would still sound "ok" to an average ear -- plus or minus a quartertone for the 3rd -- especially when it is known that a "Blue" or "Neutral" third is often preferred in many cultures in their otherwise diatonic scales. There's nothing about the harmonic minor in the essay. The only reason that arose and was re-mentioned by Bonnie was when I made a flute to match the bone's hole-spacings. I could have fit it into ANY minor scale, but since the other holes were already drilled when I bought the commercial flute, I only covered

over and redrilled the 4 that were relevant to the bone. That made the altered flute into a flute with a harmonic minor scale -- only in this instance. As neither the Re nor the Ti exist on this bone (if the 4 are identified correctly), then we don't know whether they would've been there at all (or b flat, or b natural). There was a second match named in the essay, in which the 4 holes are identified as Do, Re, Mi and Fa, on a closed-end flute. This would have made a match in which we might assume a slightly flat Re (as in a descending scale using the Re as a descending "leading-tone"). The chances of a fair to good match such as these two were worked out in the appendix of the essay as being one in hundreds to have occured by chance. So we allowed ourselves the assumptions they WERE aiming at a scale, and the notes were close enough to assume a match in both instances (based on a possible preference on the part of the Neanderthals for a blue note or downward leading-tone, and/or based on the average untrained ear). We don't claim to have proved anything: Just to have come up with a decent likliehood. -- Bob Fink. . Michael McBroom to Bob Fink: May 7, 1997 Thanks very much for the clarification. This makes much more sense. . . Subject: Re: Origins (of Music) Conference (Florence, Italy): Date: Tue, 17 Jun 1997 From: trehub@erin.utoronto.ca (Sandra Trehub) [Sandra Trehub is one of the authors of a noted study on musically untutored babies, showing that they prefer harmony to dissonance.] To: Bob Fink . I just returned from Italy, having taken the opportunity to visit friends once I was overseas. The Florence meetings were very interesting but barely scratched the surface of music (unless bird "song" and whale "song" are accorded musical status, as many conference attendees were ready to do). The meetings focused largely on the evolution of communication in general, with relatively little attention accorded to human language and music. Apparently, music will be at centre stage in subsequent meetings that are planned. I downloaded your fascinating article on the bone flute some time ago (from the Internet) and mentioned it in my presentation (even had transparencies of your illustrations). I also mentioned (and played a sample of) the Kilmer, Crocker, & Brown song. Later, Bruno Nettl told me that ethnomusicologists reject the Kilmer et al. interpretation but I never learned why. Unfortunately, the meeting was dense with presentations and very light on discussion time, impeding the exchange of information across disciplines. -- Sandra________________________ University of Toronto, Erindale Campus Mississauga, Ontario, CANADA L5L 1C6 TEL:(905) 828-5415 FAX:(905) 569-4326 . To: Sandra Trehub <trehub@erin.utoronto.ca> From Bob Fink June 17 1997 . Dear Sandra: Thank you for your e-mail. The reasons why ethnomusicologists are dismissive of Kilmer's results (tho' not all are, I'm sure) is because they are motivated by a laudable, but over-zealous, desire to avoid ethnocentrism. That is, they are always suspicious of any conclusions that tout the diatonic scale (or even the pentatonic) as having any "natural" foundation because: a) They believe it may be a subjective attempt to justify "western" musical superiority by saying western music's scale foundations are the best, most "advanced" musical system (which is anathema to them as

they hold each musical system must be judged exclusively from the internal standards of any culture, tribe, group, people or locale, and because they hate the term "primitive" and downplay almost any evolutionary stages to music), and b) they are not very inter-disiplinary: They (generally) know very little about the physics of sound (Helmholtz and acoustics), physiology, biology, anthropology, and evolution. They tend to support cultural and psychological relativism and conditioning as fundamental processes of human behavior (and most human behavior is conditioned, but not all.) In my opinion, both Kilmer's findings and the evidence that the Neanderthal flute may be diatonic is ALSO evidence that so-called "western" musical foundations are decidedly NOT western after all! So much for ethnocentricism. And secondly, I cannot accept that the scale's historic development with its immense number of parallels to acoustics and mounting evidence in other disciplines (such as yours) is all coincidence. In Kilmer's case, (as I understand it) the match-up of the number of syllables with the number of notes carved into the clay tablets (a match-up which resulted once they assumed a harmonic structure existed in the song) was too hard to accept as coincidence -- especially when it also led to finding the harmonies were mostly thirds [like ancient English gymel and various African music samples found in Nettl's own work "Music in Primitive Cultures"] -- and led ALSO to the diatonic scale. How much "coincidence" are we supposed to ignore?? The only other explanation is that Kilmer consciously engineered her data with Crockett in order to produce pre-biased conclusions -- which, knowing Kilmer, is totally impossible to believe. To me, ethnomusicologist's rejections are a die-hard phenomena. You can also check out the net again: http://www.greenwych.ca/natbasis.htm under the part called "An Evolutionary Process in Progress." Like you, I think I find question and discussion often more interesting and enlightening than an overload of presentations. Thanks very much for writing. --Bob Fink . 25 Jun 1997 From: Dr. T. Temple Tuttle t.tuttle@bones.asic.csuohio.edu To: greenwich . I have recently been forwarded your article on a Neanderthal flute, and wondered if you are for real, or a delayed April Fool's Day joke. There are so many ethnocentric and acoustical errors, I thought it must be the latter. Why do you presuppose a seven-note system? Why do you construct your scales ascending? Why do you consider hole size but not their lateral placement? Other than the Hebrew gymel (vocal), what evidence do you have for instrumental harmony in early cultures? Why do you indicate that the major scale is generally the preferred mode, when even today it is not, internationally? Why do you consider the comma a measure of error, when it is part of some extant tuning systems (see India's 22-srutis)? When figuring pitches by ratios, how can you deal with the missing portions of your specimen? If a joke, then "HA-HA!". If serious, let's tawk! [My current research deals with misinformation regarding the pitches and functions of 16th century lithophones in south India.] Best wishes, and no offense intended, --Tom Tuttle Music Department College of Arts and Sciences Cleveland State University . Jun 25 1997 From Bob Fink To: "Dr. T. Temple Tuttle" t.tuttle@mail.asic.csuohio.edu . Dear Tom Tuttle: You wrote: "Why do you presuppose a seven-note system." The issue of the essay was whether the notes playable by the bone artifact would match any of the notes in the (widespread) scales we know of:

a) the whole-tone pentatonic, b) the diatonic or c) the equal-spaced scales that would be arrived at by spacing holes equally to suit finger widths. Since the holes were unequally spaced, c) was ruled out. The Pentatonic was ruled out because of the half-tone spacing. The holes were spaced so that given the full length of the bone (attested by paleontologists), the notes would play 4 notes matching a portion of the scale we know as diatonic. This DOESN'T PROVE they had the whole scale nor that they intended to produce any part of such a scale. But the odds (worked out in the essay's appendix) are FAR LIKELIER THAN NOT, that it wasn't a chance arrangement nor intended to match some hitherto unknown or unusual scale. You wrote: "Why do you construct your scales ascending?" I construct only one scale (not scales), the standard modern diatonic, in order to have a mathematical model of the scale to which I compare the bone. There is nothing assumed about acending. I could have as easily written out the scale and the charts from right to left (mirror image) and the conclusions would remain unaltered. However, in the match #1, the somwhat off-tuned "do" (I have to call it something) indicates the next note (re) could have been a flattened 2nd (as is found commonly in various cultures) due to a descending or downward "leading note." Therefore, I have not assumed anything about ascending nor descending, nor is it relevant to my asking if the notes could match our modern acoustic (non-tempered) diatonic. You wrote "Why do you consider hole size but not their lateral placement?" The holes are in line -- there is little lateral displacement. Nor are hole sizes given much consideration either. I have no idea what your point is nor why you ask this question. You wrote: "Other than the Hebrew gymel (vocal), what evidence do you have for instrumental harmony in early cultures?" There is nothing in the essay that I recall that refers to the existence of harmony in Neanderthal cultures nor in connection to this bone flute. However, aside from the bone itself, there is evidence of early harmony other than gymel. See: http://www.greenwych.ca/evidence.htm. You wrote: "Why do you indicate that the major scale is generally the preferred mode, when even today it is not, internationally?" Statistically, by quantitatively considering ALL the music in the world played today (including popular music, rock & roll, etc. INCLUDING when it is played widely in counties other than its origin (e.g., sales of cassettes and records and 45 rpms in China, Africa, the Near East and etc.), I think it's pretty obvious that the major scale predominates over the minor far more today than it probably did in history, when perhaps (I haven't tried to study this quantitatively) the minor scale predominated. However, if you say that the minor scale is "preferred" more than major, than that, if true, actually SUPPORTS my argument regarding match #2 being 4 notes that could fit into a minor scale (IF the Neanderthals had the whole scale, which cannot be known, except that there IS a good probability for it). You wrote: "Why do you consider the comma a measure of error...?" In the essay's appendix, a margin of error had to be given in order to work out the odds for the hole spacings on the bone to have occured by chance. If we assumed that a hole couldn't be off by any amount of error at all, that would impute to Neanderthals a state of workmanship equal to or greater than the 1/10,000 of an inch found in modern computerized machine shops. That would be absurd. If we assumed a too large amount of error, than one could legitimately ask whether the hole would have been a non-match (out of tune) well within or long before this large of a distance error was reached. Therefore, consulting with ear-testers, acoustic psychologists and other texts, we decided that the present-day common biological "average" for what an untrained (common) ear would notice was "out of tune" (from whatever note was intended) would be a pythagorean comma -- and even in this regard, "out of tune" historically (for the diatonic scale) has had different tolerances, depending upon what area of the scale was involved: Namely, the third and seventh notes can be further out of tune than other notes in the scale before objections to the tuning occurred. This would make an excellent subject for further direct physiological testing among people who are accustomed to the diatonic scale.

However -- all that aside -- we felt safe with an error in the neighborhood of a comma. You wrote: "When figuring pitches by ratios, how can you deal with the missing portions of your specimen?" I have no idea what this question means. What do you specifically mean by "missing portions?" Notes? Bone length? Or? ---Bob Fink See also: http://www.greenwych.ca/natbasis.htm. . From: "Dr. T. Temple Tuttle" To: greenwich Wed, 25 Jun 1997 . Dear Bob: I questioned a seven-note system, since much of early chant (and some present chant) involves only three or four notes...even when a full seven- or eight-note repertoire of notes is available. [Somehow, I would expect Neanderthal music to be nearer to chant than Schubert.] From other examples, I tend to associate equally-spaced holes to suit finger widths with rhythmicallyoriented flute playing. The Pentatonic is not a single scale, but may be anhemitonic (but based on diatonic), or equitonic (where the scale is divided into five approximately equal portions). A hemitonic-pentatonic scale cannot be ruled out without additional holes being present. So I not only agree with the majority of your scalar conclusions, I certainly embrace your statement that it wasn't a chance arrangement. Is a four-tone scale, not including an octave of the fundamental (tonic) note, a "hitherto unknown or unusual scale"? Perhaps not then, as now with Vedic chant in India. Your term "match" is appropriate, I believe, for one would expect a musical practice to become normative vocally first, then matched on an instrument. I wrote: "Why do you construct your scales ascending?" to remind you that the Greek modes, for example, were conceived descending. One can construct a model based upon the highest note. (In the Greek example, the added "low" note [proslambanomenos] was held highest on the kithara. Several Eastern instruments, particularly pitched ideophones, are held with the highest pitch physically the lowest.) I guess I have gotten over-sensitive about musicologists who do not know or present the debt of Western Art Music, to African and Mideastern precedents. In the match #1, IF we presume "the somewhat off-tuned "do"" is indeed "in tune", the next note (re) is a flattened 2nd which is found commonly in various cultures, AS AN AESTHETIC CHOICE, NOT due to a descending or downward "leading note." [The raga determined to be the best to teach children and older beginners is Mayamalavagoula, consisting of T, 1/2,1-1/2, 1/2, 1, 1/2, 1-1/2, 1/2. This is the same is ascent and descent.] Hole size is important, but lateral displacement is required to prevent nodes from occuring in the area removed for a hole. The holes being in line -- with little lateral displacement is to be expected. I do say that the minor scale is "preferred" more than major, particularly in historical perspective. Yes, I actually SUPPORT your argument regarding match #2 being 4 notes that could fit into a minor scale. [Or could constitute a 4-tone scale for chant!.] The comma as a measure of error is rather common. But it has also been used in a positive way for constructing scale systems in the East. I prefer to use a nonaesthetic term, such as Hz., for scientific speculation about sound, since it avoids ethnocentrism and the "basic truths" of Western Arts Music. In more realistic terms for the caveman: What sounds OK by accepted norms? The present-day common biological "average" for what an untrained (common) ear would notice was "out of tune" (from whatever note was intended) may be more or less acute than that of the caveman. (I wonder how much damage these young people do to their hearing in Rock Wheels? Once I wandered too close to a speaker tower, sitting in on a Chicago performance at Atlantic City, and I lost hearing in my right ear for over two days!)

I would accept the Pythagorean comma as a measure of being "out of tune". However, I have found that one may train their ear to an acuity which surpasses that standard. The 22-sruti system of South India requires accuracy to < +/- 1/2 comma.(Furthermore, I have been working with a recording engineer on my lithophone project, aiming at 1/3 Hz as a tolerance.) You were safe with an error in the neighborhood of a comma. I specifically meant bone length (=flute length). But not to flog a tired dog, so thanks for the chat. I would love to see the artifact in person. And any time you run across anything about lithophones (or phonoliths), do not hesitate to run to your keyboard! Best personal regards -- Tom Tuttle . Jun 25 1997 From: Bob Fink To: t.tuttle@mail.asic.csuohio.edu . Dear Tom: You'll have to go to Slovenia, I'm afraid, to see the original bone. I do agree the youth are destroying their hearing. A copy of my book on the origin of music might be in the Cleveland public library (as "The Universality of Music" or "The Origin of Music"). In that book I have large tracts devoted to Greek music, modes, descending scales, et al. There may be copies as well (if not in Cleveland) at Columbus Publ Lib., Ohio State Univ. Lib., and U. of Cinncinati -- in case you really want to look it up. Rest assured I am among those who believe that cultural conditioning represents the fundamental means of human learning. We are virtually clean slate-boards when we are born and society writes us as it will. But, that said, there still is a small base of natural influences upon our senses, including hearing, which I believe affect the development of the arts to greater or lesser degrees. We are looking at Neanderthal ears -- which likely were like ours -- but we may never know. And we are looking at 43,ooo years ago -- that may as well be another planet!! So the conclusions I've drawn are really based more on other issues than just on this bone, regarding any natural basis to the diatonic scale. Unless this bone flute is meant to reflect some unknown prehistoric pentatonic with semitones in it, then I tend to believe it may be evidence of natural acoustic influences pushing for the diatonic. But this bone is not proof -- just a probability of a reasonable magnitude. We could only know for sure if they ever find the rest of that flute -- or an intact one somewhere else. ---Bob . Jul 08 1997 From: langley <langley@fenetre.co.uk> To: greenwich Dear Bob Fink, I have just read through your entries re: origins of music and ancient flutes, etc. There is so much I want to ask you and, I hope, contribute to your symposium. But first may I ask: are you aware of the 'feline carved from reindeer horn' on page 7 of the 1962 edition of the Larousse Encyclopaedia of Prehistoric and Ancient Art? It is supposed to be from the FrancoCantabrian Palaeolithic age, and the 5 visible holes in it are claimed to be symbolic spear and arrow holes. As a wind-instrument maker, it is obvious to me that this is a wind instrument, probably a vesselflute. I am in fact a maker of pottery ocarinas. An academic friend of mine researched ancient ocarinas in South America and found many unattributed vessel-flutes in museums. Ignorance of the musical nature of some ancient objects is widespread. Now one reason I am contacting you is to ask if you have considered whether your flute fragment might have been end-stopped - i.e. a vessel-flute. If it was, then the pitch-changes produced by the holes will be completely different from those of a straight open-ended flute or whistle. If you have considered the possibility and rejected it, fine.

But if I can help at all concerning the extraordinarily complex science of hole-size, hole-position and interior form of vessel as these variables relate to pitch, then please let me know. I have conducted many experiments over the past 20 years, and know how little I know. But what little I know is at your service. May I say how thrilling it is to find someone looking seriously at the origins of music? It's almost as if there has been some sort of taboo on the subject. Yours melodically, -- John Langley. . Jul 08 1997 From: Bob Fink To: langley@fenetre.co.uk . Dear John: I haven't heard of nor seen the horn you write about. I would love to see a picture of it, even measurements as well, if they are available. My fax # is 306-244 0795. I doubt if the Larousse book you mention is in our library. But I'll check. (I own only the Larousse Int'l Illus. Dictionary.) What is "obvious" to us (I am frequently reminded) must be carefully examined for bias. Even whether this ancient bone is a flute has been denied. To me, it's obviously a flute. But I've been forced to defend the obvious as if it wasn't obvious. Perhaps the horn could be denied as a flute as well, unless we can defend the obvious there as well. As far as the open-closed ends issue goes, Match #2 in the essay assumes an open-ended flute. Match # 1 in the essay considers that it could have been a closed flute. The normal length of a femur is quite long. So we felt it was reasonable to assume that it was not part of a short ocarina type instrument. However, it COULD have been. We'll never know unless they find the rest of the object. Where I deal with issues of "could have been" is where I tried my best to obtain reasonably accurate probabilities for certain statements in this essay. What I have held as conclusive in the essay is that the holes are consistent with those of a diatonic scale scale (IF the flute is long enough). What I held as probable is that the hole spacing reflects not so much an ocarina or 4 or 5 note scale with a half-tone (or other pitch if it was a short flute), but a larger scale, likely parallel to the diatonic scale. I can't conclude this, but hold it probable for reasons examined in some of the correspondence (note: there are 3 web pages of it) and especially in http://www.greenwych.ca/natbasis.htm. There I pointed to the widespread cross-cultural fact of pentatonic and 7-note diatonic scales in our own history (and the acoustic basis for these scales) as justification for the probabilities being higher regarding the Neanderthal bone matching a diatonic rather than matching a more obscure or hitherto unknown scale. I held match #2 as probable (open-end minor scale) over match #1 (major, closed end), because removing marrow is easier when the ends are broken off (rather than drilling holes when marrow is still in the bone, and sucking it out). And also because the dimensions of the fit are closer to an acoustic scale than the dimensions of match #1. In the intro/summary of the essay, I had to make decisions about all the other pitch-related factors you mentioned ["the extraordinarily complex science of hole-size, hole-position and interior form of vessel"] and as you read, I felt they were real factors, but possibly cancelling each other out and likely not significant enough to cancel our conclusion of a pitch-match to the diatonic (again PROVIDED the bone was from 32-38cm long). Besides, how on earth could one measure these effects without the entire bone? Having said that, I and my partner, Mike Finley, nevertheless would be interested in receiving copies of the work and experiments you've done (or a summary of it) on these matters as we certainly have developed a need to understand this ever since we embarked on this essay. Someday, I expect a replica will be made of the old bone (43,400 yrs old, current estimate). At various lengths, it will be blown, and we'll see what the pitches really are. The best I could do was to simply work with the hole spacings translated onto a straight irish flute (tin whistle) barrel.

And you're right: It IS "as if there has been some sort of taboo on the subject." I think there actually has been -- especially by those ethnomusicologists who are most prone to downplaying that music has undergone "evolution." They dislike that idea as it leads to what they fear most: That non-literate societies' music will be also be branded "primitive" or judged "inferior" against some evolutionary timeline of progressive change toward "final perfection." They prefer -- sometimes fanatically -- to "judge" a people's music only (or mostly) on its own culturally-internal terms, and avoid comparisons to any other cultures' music, especially to "western" musical scales. I try to point out that this Neanderthal find makes the diatonic (if that's what the Neanderthals had) NON-WESTERN!! But to little avail. Anyway, the word "origin" implies an evolution and comparisons that they'd rather resist; And they also add: "why bother with origins? It's all speculative and we weren't there, and can never really know anyway." Of course, I've never agreed with all of that. --Bob Fink . LETTER TO A MUSICOLOGY DISCUSSION LIST JUNE 19, 1998

It isn't true that I'm "out to prove" a particular case. The real characterization is this: I have discovered
very satisfactory answers to questions that first plagued me as a youngster first studying music. Namely: * Why wasn't the 7-note scale I had to practice (in all keys) simply divided equally (in terms of frequencies) like ALMOST everything else designed by humanity (equal spacings of streets, blocks, sidewalk tiles, telephone poles; windows in buildings, inches, feet, yards, hours, minutes, meters, meters, millimeters, scales of temperature and weight -- ad infinitum? Why was the musical scale so different? * Answers I received raised other issues: I was told the octave did get divided by equidistant halftones. But why 12, instead of the usual 5 or l0 as in our thousands-year-old number system? And why 7 notes in the diatonic instead of five or ten? And why wasn't the pentatonic 5-note scale also equally divided, instead of having the two large tone-and-half gaps where the 3rd and 7ths could fit? * Being told as a kid the piano simply was made out of the "older" pentatonic (black notes) mixed with the 7-note white diatonic scale seemed at first to have some sense, but I learned that scheme was an Aesop-like fable, it wasn't really the motivation for that arrangement anyway, and later made no sense, when temperament was considered. Looking into the world of music and musicology failed to provide any answers that didn't raise more questions. I finally sought answers outside music, namely in physics, acoustics, history, cultural conditioning (psychology), physiology & biology (of the ear); esthetics, and anthropology. It was then that I began to discover (NOT set out fixedly to "prove") that the world of musicology seemed largely divorced from other disciplines, and in fact, the answers I gleaned from the outside disciplines reinforced each other regarding acoustics and evolutionary cultural processes -- while at the same time these disciplines made musicology and ethnomusicology look like some kind of archaic alchemist's anachronism rather than a science or "ology" or a real search for truth. Indeed, the resistance I found among musicologists revealed it was not facts, but biased politics, designed to defend the world of 20th century "serious" music composing at all costs, that motivated musicology to a degree that was alarming to me. Let's look at the answers I found specifically, and the issues posed to me: To wit: . KILMER'S OLDEST SONG ANALYSIS Why is Kilmer's analysis of the oldest song as diatonic and harmonic (thirds) not "convincing"? In my reading of Kilmer's analysis of the Hurrian song, her diatonic assumptions made consistent sense with all the rest of the data. Sometimes I think that many musicologists fail to appreciate what the scientific method is all about. My view of this is best explained by analogy to astronomy: Please read this -- it is not going to be obscure or difficult. When planet Uranus's orbit was noticed to be wobbly and doing "bumps and grinds" -- these were inexplicable until an assumption was made that another planet must exist nearby that gravitationally caused Uranus to be pulled slightly out of orbit. Based on the changes exhibited by Uranus's orbit, the

wobble, etc., this imaginary undiscovered planet's mass, nearness, speed in orbit, approximate location and perhaps other characteristics, was able to be calculated. In other words, the planet Neptune was "theoretically discovered" by deduction, although not by actual sighting of it. No one could think of any other reason for Uranus' strange orbital behavior, but despite that, of course, the assumption could still have been wrong. That's why I say it was "theoretically" discovered. All they had was a mental "model" (not a real planet yet) but it explained all the known facts and orbital deviations. If the planet Neptune had never been sighted, it would still be reasonable to now posit that it existed. Without the above calculations that helped indicate where to look for it in the sky, discovering it in the night sky by chance observations would have been like finding a lost penny in the ocean. The assumptions led the way to finally finding it in reality. This is part of the scientific method -namely, if an assumption leads to an explanation or model of all the facts, including facts hitherto inexplicable, then "circularly" speaking, the assumption has legitimately gained evidence for its now being considered true or at least "convincing" (to all but those with some other reason for resisting that conviction) and the assumption would ordinarily be accepted as likely. What Kilmer appeared to me to do was virtually the same. She make some assumptions or deductions that notes were paired in harmonies. When she did this, she ended up discovering that the result produced thirds (mostly) and that the number of syllables of the words to the song ended up nicely matching the number of notes (or thirds) used. [Hopefully I haven't misinterpreted or over-simplified her work.] In any event, the chances of finding such a match of notes with syllables (without it reflecting the reality of ancient musical intentions) are staggeringly small.

Now here's a choice: If we have an assumption that, when pursued, gives us a song where note numbers
match syllables and the harmonies are thirds (like English "gymel") and to top it all off -- all in the diatonic mode -- do we say it's all an immense coincidence? Or do we say that the assumption explains virtually all the facts, and therefore, is likely true? In my book, that's "convincing." Unless one has some other facts or reasons to cite, to deny that the diatonic mode existed that long ago.

Unfortunately, unlike the astronomy business, in the Neanderthal flute business, the rest of the flute
hasn't been found. But we have a piece of it, and it explains many other facts and it matches work in other disciplines (Trehub, Kilmer, acoustics, history, etc.) Unlike a "theoretical" conclusion about diatonic evolution, this bone fragment now offers, if not proof, then a physical non-theoretical evidence of great significance to the case already made elsewhere. . ACOUSTICS OBEYED BY MUSICIANS KNOWING NOTHING OF ACOUSTICS Couple the above with the world of acoustics, in which the historic progress of the diatonic scale mirrors numerous laws of acoustics -- so numerous as to be a staggering miracle of coincidence if one insists that the effect of acoustics on the human ear had little or nothing to do with it. Below are the parallels between the scale and acoustics -- accomplished by musicians who knew nothing about the match to acoustic laws they made through history. Just look at these! * If you write out the overtones of these three notes (Tonic, 4th & 5th) and string out the most audible ones, you will get the major scale (with a few weak overtones left over). Example in C (listing the different overtones in the series in order of loudness as overtones): ..........Tonic C --- Overtones are: C, G, E, Bb ..........Fifth G ---- Overtones are: G, D, B, F ..........Fourth F -- Overtones are: F, C, A, Eb * If you substitute the three weakest ones (the 3rd, 6th and 7th notes of the scale) with another three notes (which includes these even weaker next overtones), and which are flatter, you get the minor scale. (The 6th note is strongest of the three because it forms no semitones with adjacent notes in the scale.). * If you leave these two -- the 3rd and 7th notes -- out altogether, you get what's commonly called the "Chinese" scale -- or the piano's 'black notes' pentatonic 5-note scale -- found also in Africa, old Scottish and Irish folk music, and elsewhere (and here we often find 3rds and sevenths as "pien" or

"passing over" tones [Orient] or other fill-in, "becoming" or "leading" tones [Scottish] in their pentatonic scales). * Because these overtones are very weak, they were the last to come into the scale historically, and how to tune them was a matter of historic uncertainty -- and many people often tuned them somewhere between minor and major (in the 'cracks' on the piano), producing what are known as "blue" or neutral notes. * The most audible overtones of a note all have simple ratios, like 2:1 (octave), or 2:3 (fifth note of scale), or 3:4 (4th note of the scale). In fact these three notes are present in virtually every musical scale known on earth. We must conclude a relationship exists between low ratios and what has been considered as worthy of being included in scales. * The overtones of any one note all add up to its major chord, when played out loud rather than as overtones. * Finally, in harmony, chords historically came to accompany notes in the melody (witness most folk songs from all lands) based on the tonic fourth or fifth, depending which of these originally gave rise (by its overtones) to that note in the scale: Thus, you harmonize tonic (say C), with c major, D with G major, E with C major, F with F major, G with G major, A with F major, B with G major and C again with C major. (Try it on the piano with any known folk melody.) This is the fundamental schemata for the harmonization of almost all popular and folk music. Chords were evolved in early medieval periods following the advent of drone counterpoint, which created a host of accidental harmonies (and dissonances-in-passing) of all sorts, a very serendipity-like process. Eventually, with time, the most desired chords chosen or which emerged most-used from this process (without musicians having awareness of the parallels they were making to acoustics -- an unknown science at that time) ended up being the chords of the tonic, dominant (5th) and subdominant (4th) (with variations for the minor key). Dissonant chords were deliberately added as a contrast to help the consonances more powerfully stand out, mirroring a process found all through nature and other arts and disciplines: An esthetic based on the interplay of polar opposites (very Hegelian/Marxist by the way) namely: consonance/dissonance; male/female; up/down; left/right; loud/soft; bright/dim; sweet/sour; high/low; major/minor; plus/minus; sharp/dull; old/young; beginning/end; negative/positive; fast/slow; -- the list is virtually endless. Basically, however, we are more discussing scale-evolution, rather than music made with the use of scales. (The distinction is clearer when one sees that the "scale of primary colours" on the spectrum or colour-wheel or palette is not the same as a painting made using the palette.) Clearly, a "natural" scale is not used without contrasts to it, or wirthout effects of culture, conditioning, and esthetic habits -- all of which will modify its use in music-making. It's naturalness is only what explains its historic evolution and ability to spread across cultures through time. . DISSONANCE IN THE THEATRE Regarding the common use of dissonance in theatre and movies to express a variety of emotions (terror, suspense, sinister tension, etc., -- by the way, usually all emotions of discontent or emotional "discord") -- this is not nearly as acceptable when removed from the meaning of the drama. Indeed, a lot of it could be considered as being more "sound effects" than music -- like crash, explosion or breaking glass sounds -- which, acceptable to the public in context, are almost universally dismissed as being "music" for listening (by the same public) when the sounds are asked to be enjoyed outside of the literary context. . CONCLUSION If none of this argumentation is "convincing," then how does one explain : * So much coincidence (acoustics, et al); and /or * Corroborating findings from so many different disciplines; or * That something which explains virtually all known facts is still subject to being dismissed -- when in any other scientific pursuit (for example, physics or biology), any theoretical model which can explain all or most of the facts is routinely accepted as state-of-the-art knowledge? What historic or present facts can be cited that my model fails to explain? --Bob Fink

Aug 22-23, 1999


To greenwich I just finished your article on the applicability of the found bone to the musical scale. As a non-musician layman, I found it all a little too complex for easy understanding. However, your overlay of the bone to an actual flute was pretty convincing. My question: are you suggesting that Neanderthals had full flutes, or just a 4-[note] musical scale? It looks to me as if the bone is flared at both ends -- wouldn't this make it difficult to add more notes to the scale? What do you think such a flute would sound like? I'm very curious as to how such an instrument would actually sound... any guidance? -- John Harlow Byrne JHByrne@aol.com To JHByrne@aol.com Dear John: The paleontologists at various museums have indicated that a juvenile femur could have been long enough to accommodate a full scale. Was this particular bone long enough? I have seen an unbroken bone which similarly appears to flare, but then the flare straightens out a few inches later (or visually disappears when the bone is rotated a bit), and goes on to be longer than one would have thought if our only visual information was if it had been broken at the flare. I'm not at all suggesting this is the case, only that it is possible according to some experts. However, the Neanderthal bone also could likely have been a 4 or 5-note flute, and shorter, as the flare indicates to many people. This is the position regarding length taken by Turk, the finder of the bone. In either case, the pattern of holes is "diatonic" or matches a do, re, mi set of pitch distances between holes -- which is the basic limit of conclusive viewpoint in my essay. To make these holes play in tune would require the additional assumption of a mouthpiece extension making the entire bone flute long enough. As the bone is broken, there is no proof of an extension other than the statistical improbability that, by chance, the holes were distanced like that -- yet NOT meant to produce the diatonic pitches. These spacings are like a tell-tale "fingerprint" as they are not equally spaced note-holes. So I make the assumption of a mouthpiece extension on grounds of a greater likelihood of that being the case, i.e., to avoid accepting the spacings as pure chance. We likely will never know for sure. I don't recall ever consciously hearing a bone flute, but I'm told the sound would be similar to a wood, metal, or bamboo flute, or other bone-type flutes. Of course, some discerning ears may be able to tell blindfolded the difference. My main concern has been the issue of relative note-pitches. Bob Fink To greenwich (in part): Well, I'm a fan of the 'try it out' school of archaeology, followed by White and O'Neil. That is, if you think a cave bear bone would work, why not get hold of a Kodiak bear femur of around the same size, and make one? Then, you could find out by trial and error whether there was such a mouth extension, whether the holes were put there for hand comfort or musical tone, and so forth. It would also lend a LOT of weight to your arguments, as people (such as myself) tend to put a lot of unconscious weight of belief in what they can see and touch, as opposed to what they merely read about. Prove to the world that the cave bear flute works. John Harlow Byrne JHByrne@aol.com To JHByrne@aol.com Dear John: That proof has been provided by Ivan Turk. My work is on the Internet, but unfortunately, Ivan Turk has not put his work fully on the net. But his now-published monograph on the bone includes the making of a similar bone flute (without an extension) and a simple slit for a mouthpiece. They were able to prove that it could produce musical tones with simply blowing through it. You wrote: "Aren't we making an assumption that the holes should be in tune? After all, presumably this flute was made a long time ago, perhaps by a different species... why should they have the same ideas of what sounds are in good tune?"

I do make that assumption. Here's why: Turk's people added no extension to the flute. As a result, it didn't play do, re mi, etc., but a more chromatic series of notes, matching no widely found scale known. Therefore, if we assume NO extension, then the spacings of the holes being a match to the distinctive spacings of a do, re, mi series of tones has to be considered a coincidence of vast proportions (about 1 in 600 according to the Appendix in my essay). It's important to note that the unequal spacings of any four consecutive holes on a diatonic flute are like a tell-tale fingerprint, and would not be produced that particular way for any other reason known. Coincidence is something I would rather not assume nor accept. It appears far likelier to me to reject "chance" as an explanation, and yes, to assume instead, as you say I do, that they were meant to be "in tune," which then requires the assumption of an extension -- but no longer requires believing in coincidence regarding the spacings. You wrote: "Here's another question... I know that the flute has been dated at 40-63 kya... why the huge span of years? Those are a pretty important span of years, after all... and 5,000 years in one direction or another might be the crucial difference in determining whether this flute was a Neandertal creation, or a trade item from Homo Sapiens populations." Turk's monograph and the work of Prof. Bonnie Blackwell went into this as well. As I are not an archaeologist, but merely are a musicologist, I suggest you refer that question to Blackwell, as well as the matter of whether a form of glue would have been likely: You wrote: "Perhaps this bone flute had no such extension... then wouldn't it sound like an ocarina (more like a whistle than a flute)? Looking at it in a practical standpoint, you're suggesting a 10" flute... but here's the rub: Neandertal typically moved around a LOT, requiring that all his implements be rugged, and able to withstand the rigors of travel (notable exceptions being the Shanidar inhabitants?). A 10" flute, particularly one built in two pieces, would be fragile. Further, unless our maker had figured out how to boil down hooves for glue, how is he going to attach the pieces together?" I think Blackwell told me that forms of effective "glue" were simple enough to have been discovered by the most rudimentary peoples. But on these matters, I am no expert. I do know that I have been able to jam two cylindrical items into each other (like drinking tumblers) and even despite no glue being used, I was never, ever able to get them apart again!! In the case of 2 bones, even clay could be sufficient to fill any air gaps to make the thing playable. [It also makes the bone flute more transportable (in two pieces) like an Al Capone machine gun], requiring only more clay at the next "jam" session. It also means that the mouthpiece is a smaller more convenient diameter for fitting the mouth than the cumbersome bone without an extension mouthpiece. You can reach Prof. Bonnie Blackwell now at: Bonnie.A.B.Blackwell@williams.edu Best wishes, Bob Fink In order for us to reduce getting spam from junk-mailer programs, click on the e-mail button, and then before e-mailing us, remove the '+' symbol from our address to make sure you reach us. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

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. Click here for continuation of general correspondence. The Correspondence below only relates to: * Whether the bone is a flute or made by chance effects * The recent find of 9,ooo year old flutes including a fully-playable one. . . THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE WAS IN SCIENCE NEWS, APRIL 4, '98.

(My reply follows the article) . DOUBTS AIRED OVER NEANDERTHAL BONE 'FLUTE' (Science News, Vol. 153, April 4, 98, p.215) By B. Bower Amid much media fanfare, a research team in 1996 trumpeted an ancient, hollowed out bear bone pierced on one side with four complete or partial holes as the earliest known musical instrument. The perforated bone, found in an Eastern European cave, represents a flute made and played by Neandertals at least 43,000 years ago, the scientists contended. Now it's time to stop the music, say two archaeologists who examined the purported flute last spring. On closer inspection, the bone appears to have been punctured and gnawed by the teeth of an animal -perhaps a wolf -- as it stripped the limb of meat and marrow, report April Nowell and Philip G. Chase, both of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. "The bone was heavily chewed by one or more carnivores, creating holes that became more rounded due to natural processes after burial," Nowell says. "It provides very weak evidence for the origins of [Stone Age] music." Nowell presented the new analysis at the annual meeting of the Paleoanthropology Society in Seattle last week. Nowell and Chase examined the bone with the permission of its discoverer, Ivan Turk of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences in Ljubljana (S.N.: 11/23/96, p. 328). Turk knows of their conclusion but still views the specimen as a flute. Both open ends of the thighbone contain clear signs of gnawing by carnivores, Nowell asserts. Wolves and other animals typically bite off nutrient-rich tissue at the ends of limb bones and extract available marrow. If Neandertals had hollowed out the bone and fashioned holes in it, animals would not have bothered to gnaw it, she says. Complete and partial holes on the bone's shaft were also made by carnivores, says Nowell. Carnivores typically break open bones with their scissor like cheek teeth. Uneven bone thickness and signs of wear along the borders of the holes, products of extended burial in the soil, indicate that openings made by cheek teeth were at first less rounded and slightly smaller, the researchers hold. Moreover, the simultaneous pressure of an upper and lower tooth produced a set of opposing holes, one partial and one complete, they maintain. Prehistoric, carnivore-chewed bear bones in two Spanish caves display circular punctures aligned in much the same way as those on the Slovenian find. In the March Antiquity, Francesco d'Errico of the Institute of Quaternary Prehistory and Geology in Talence, France, and his colleagues describe the Spanish bones. In a different twist, Bob Fink, an independent musicologist in Canada, has reported on the Internet (http://www.greenwych.ca/fl-compl.htm) that the spacing of the two complete and two partial holes on the back of the Slovenian bone conforms to musical notes on the diatonic (do, re, mi. . .) scale. The bone is too short to incorporate the diatonic scale's seven notes, counter Nowell and Chase. Working with Pennsylvania musicologist Robert Judd, they estimate that the find's 5.7-inch length is less than half that needed to cover the diatonic spectrum. The recent meeting presentation is "a most convincing analysis," comments J. Desmond Clark of the University of California, Berkeley, although it's possible that Neandertals blew single notes through carnivore-chewed holes in the bone. "We can't exclude that possibility," Nowell responds. "But it's a big leap of faith to conclude that this was an intentionally constructed flute." . TO THE EDITOR, SCIENCE NEWS The doubts raised by Nowell and Chase (April 4th, DOUBTS AIRED OVER NEANDERTHAL BONE 'FLUTE') saying the Neanderthal Bone is not a flute have these weaknesses: The alignment of the holes -- all in a row, and all of equivalent diameter, appear to be contrary to most teeth marks, unless some holes were made independently by several animals. The latter case boggles the odds for the holes ending up being in line. It also would be strange that animals homed in on this one bone in a cave full of bones, where no reports of similarly chewed bones have been made.

This claim is harder to believe when it is calculated that chances for holes to be arranged, by chance, in a pattern that matches the spacings of 4 notes of a diatonic flute, are only one in hundreds to occur . The analysis I made on the Internet (http://www.greenwych.ca/fl-compl.htm) regarding the bone being capable of matching 4 notes of the do, re, mi (diatonic) scale included the possibility that the bone was extended with another bone "mouthpiece" sufficiently long to make the notes sound fairly in tune. While Nowell says "it's a big leap of faith to conclude that this was an intentionally constructed flute," it's a bigger leap of faith to accept the immense coincidence that animals blindly created a hole-spacing pattern with holes all in line (in what clearly looks like so many other known bone flutes which are made to play notes in a step-wise scale) and blindly create a pattern that also could play a known acoustic scale if the bone was extended. That's too much coincidence for me to accept. It is more likely that it is an intentionally made flute, although admittedly with only the barest of clues regarding its original condition. The 5.7 inch figure your article quoted appears erroneous, as the centimeter scale provided by its discoverer, Ivan Turk, indicates the artifact is about 4.3 inches long. However, the unbroken femur would originally have been about 8.5 inches, and the possibility of an additional hole or two exists, to complete a full scale, perhaps aided by the possible thumbhole. However, the full diatonic spectrum is not required as indicated by Nowell and Chase: It could also have been a simpler (but still diatonic) 4 or 5 note scale. Such short-scale flutes are plentiful in homo sapiens history. Finally, a worn-out or broken flute bone can serve as a scoop for manipulation of food, explaining why animals might chew on its ends later. It is also well-known that dogs chase and maul even sticks, despite their non-nutritional nature. What appears "weak" is not the case for a flute, but the case against it by Nowell and Chase. Bob Fink Update: Jan 2004 -- Lacking clear taphonomic evidence, how could we tell artifact from accident? . Also see a recent article by Marcel Otte: CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 41, Number 2, April 2000: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/CA/journal/issues/v41n2/002701/002701.html Note: Begining September 5, 2000, access to the full text of that journal will be available only to institutional and individual subscribers. However, the salient portions of the article are quoted below. [Otte is director of the museum of Prhistoire, Universit de Lige, 7, place du XX Aot, Bt.A1, 4000 Lige, Belgium. 27 IV 99, and he now discounts the view that the bone is a natural product.] Otte writes in part: "Chase and Nowell's...rejection of the interpretation of a Mousterian flute discovered in Slovenia raises serious questions about which CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY readers should be informed. "The opportunity for close examination of the original instrument, knowledge of the sedimentary context of the discovery, and the results of numerous comparative experiments and studies were recently made available to a group of scientists by the discoverers in Slovenia. At this meeting I became convinced of the opposite of the opinion expressed by Chase (who was also present).... "Finally, the instrument consists of not two perforations (as Chase and Nowell indicate) but five ("like five fingers of a hand"): four on one side, one on the opposite side. ...If there was gnawing by carrion eaters (which seems to be the case for this bone as for most of the others of this level), it was concentrated at the ends of the bone and, in any case, superimposed on traces of human activity. The fifth hole appears at the base of the opposite side, at the natural location of the thumb. "....The capacity for symbolization is everywhere present in the Middle Paleolithic and sufficient to make the presence and use of musical instruments in this period at least a logical possibility (Otte 1996). The problem, then, lies in the usual double problematic of archeological nearsightedness and of the more current taphonomy..... "We must beware of received ideas: they inflict lasting damage on both scientific thought and scientific literature, especially in the human sciences. The idea of Mousterian ineptitude is one of the deepest and one of the most perverse because it reassures us about ourselves. The destiny of the Mousterian flute discovered at Divje Babe was preordained: it could be only disputable and doubtful, a priori. We have

seen how disastrous the application of "apriorisms" in the human sciences has been for recent European history." . From a letter I wrote to a correspondent April 26, 1998: As to the Science News write-up, Nowell and Chase suggest a wolf as a possible carniviore making the holes. If you have a copy of Turk's monograph, it shows, as you say, the presence on site of boring tools, and the experiments made by Turk's colleage Guiliano Bastiani who successfully produced similar holes in fresh bone using tools of the type found at the site (pp. 176-78 Turk). They also wrote (pp. 171-75) that: * The center-to-center distances of the holes in the artifact are smaller than that of the tooth span of most carnivores. The smallest tooth spans they found were 45mm, and the holes on the bone are 35mm; * Holes bitten are usually at the ends of bones rather than in the center of them; * There is an absence of dents, scratches and other signs of gnawing and counter-bites on the artifact; * The center-to-center distances do not correspond to the spans of carnivores which could pierce the bone; * The diameters of the holes are greater than that produceable by a wolf exerting the greatest jaw pressure it had available -- in any event, they say it's doubtful that a wolf's jaws would be strong enough (like a hyena's) to have made the holes, especially in the thickest part of the wall of ther artifact. To account for the possible difficulty about the tooth spans not matching a wolf or other carnivores, Nowell and Chase appear to mention "one or more" carnivores. But neither they, nor Turk, make mention of the line-up of the holes, which would be remarkable if they were made by more than one carnivore, which apparently they'd have to accept MUST have been so, based on the center-spans. If you accept one or more carnivores, then why did they target one bone, when there were so many other bones in the cave site? Only about 4.5% of the juvenile bones were chewed or had holes, according to Turk (p. 117). My arguments over the year have pointed out the mathematical odds of this occuring by chance are too difficult to believe. When Current Archeology wrote to me April 7 (a year ago, 1997), indicating that the magazine "consulted the experts, and they say that the holes do not show the micro-wear that is normal in flutes. Instead it is suggested that they may be tooth marks of a wild animal and the positioning of the holes may therefore be purely random," I replied to "Current Archeolgy" on April 7, '97: "The Appendix in [my] essay proves that the number of ways a set of 4 random holes could be differently spaced (to produce an audibly different set of tones) are 680 ways. The chances a random set would match the existing fragment's spacing [which also could produce a match to four] diatonic notes of the scale are therefore only one in hundreds. If you also allowed the holes to be out of line, or to be less than 4 holes as well, then the number available randomly is augmented into only one in many thousands. And yet randomness and animal bites would still be acceptable [to your experts] account for holes being in line that [could also] play notes of the scale...?" . . ---------------------- UPDATE, MARCH, 2000 ------------------------------

ARE THE MATHEMATICAL ODDS THIS BONE COULD BE A PRODUCT OF CHANCE?


.

.WHAT

In order to appreciate the notion of accident or chance to create a set of 4 holes that are in line, here is a rough calculation of how many different ways the 4 holes on the Neanderthal bone could be out-of-line, which I think can be easily followed without any math ability other than grade-school multiplication skills: First, what do we mean by "out of line"? Using the expected accuracy of ancient crafts-persons to create a hole in a chosen position, I think few would argue with a tolerance of +/-1/4 (or 1/2) of a hole diameter. Also, I think this amount out of line, or more, would be visibly noticeable to any observer as out of line.

Procedure
(for a rough, user-friendly calculation): If you move only one hole up or down a bit -- say, by about +/-1/4 of a hole diameter (about 1/4 inch) -without moving the hole left or right-- then you can repeat at least 10 such moves for that one hole (until you move up over the bone, down the back and come back to the original position). Each move would be a case of throwing the holes (taken as a whole set ) visibly out of line even though the remaining 3 holes are still in line with each other. So by moving only one hole we can, so far, get 10 ways to misalign the set of 4 holes as a set. Now, if you moved this first hole at the same time that you also moved a second hole up or down (now throwing two holes out of line from the remaining two) then there would now be 100 different positions available that would be visibly out of line with the remaining two holes -- or 10 positions for the first hole times 10 for the second hole. You can see the formula emerging from this for all 4 holes being out of line with each other: There would be 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 -- namely, 10,ooo different ways to provide that bone with 4 holes, each out-of-line with the others except in one case, all without producing any two bones alike. This means the odds (so far in this calculation) against that set of 4 holes being in line by accident are 10,ooo to 1. [Sort of like watching a Las Vegas gambling machine's 4 symbol wheels (with plums, cherries, et al on them), rolling up or down, hoping (usually in vain) to get a lined-up match of 4 alike. Very similar slim odds.] .

. However, we can also move the holes left and right too -- which is the way Mike Finley & I produced the 680 other "scale spacings" that would not match do-re-mi-fa, and which represents our earlier calculation of horizontal odds in my essay's Appendix: [http://www.greenwych.ca/fl-compl.htm#(See]. That means, not only can we get the diatonic set of hole-spacings out of line in 10,ooo vertical ways, but if the holes were horizontally spaced any other way -- say, equally spaced -- then that would be another 10,ooo ways to misalign that equally-spaced scale (or horizontal spacing of holes) -- again, all without producing any two bones alike.

Again, the arithmetic emerging is clear: There are 680 ways to differently space the holes left and right; and about 10,ooo ways to misalign the holes up or down (for each spacing or scale). Or, 10,ooo x 680, which equals 6,8oo,ooo ways (or about 7 million ways) that a set of 4 holes could appear anywhere on that size bone without ANY of the ways being a repeat of any other way, within a tolerance of +/-1/4th of a hole diameter. Here is an example of a bone that would represent just one of those many ways for four holes to be placed:

Check this arithmetic with anyone. The figure would change depending on the tolerance we chose, above, about what constitutes a minimum amount to move a hole to consider it in a new position. For the +/-1/4 of a hole diameter tolerance, the figure is about 7 million. The result is this conclusion: For randomness to produce such an object as was actually found, to match a possible do-re-mi-fa flute, the probability would be only about 1 chance in 7 million. This is a conservative figure, because this also happened on a bone whose hole diameters are very similar; a bone that was hollow, not solid; on a bone that was very cylindrical, not like a skull or jaw bone, and so on. What further odds do we add for all that and for each of the other conditions all being present for this bone, like proximity to a fireplace; absence of marrow, absence of other gnawing marks, no match to any known predator's tooth-span able to pierce the bone, and so on?? Again, while each item alone could be shown to also have a possible carnivore or chance origin, all of them taken together, as a whole set of circumstances, cannot be likely at all, as chance. If we can apply taphonomy to this bone, and when taphonomic experts disagree, why exclude applying a math or probablility study like this one? Bob Fink 3/19/2000 See also the compelling taphonomic evidence here. * More details on this calculation * See general note below. Update: Jan 2004 -- * Lacking clear taphonomic evidence, how could we tell artifact from accident? .

c
Bob:

AUTION REGARDING THE ABOVE CALCULATIONS Letter from Mike Finely, March 23, 2000.
[Abridged -- And with which I substantially agree -- B. F.]

1. It should be made absolutely clear that you are calculating the odds of getting a straight line by randomly punching holes in a bone. And also that this is not actually a calculation of the odds of natural processes producing the straight line, because natural processes are not strictly random. 2. Discuss natural processes to attempt some justification of the simple random model as a useful exercise. We cannot know all the mechanisms at work in nature..... Perhaps introduce the Great Square Jawed Diatonic Sloth as an [extreme] example. [Ed.: An invention of Mike's: A Sloth whose tooth-span pattern is in a straight line and matches the spacings of a diatonic sequence of musical notes -- and who goes around biting diatonic flutes into existence for lunch]. Indicate on the other hand that the most

obvious [and less imaginative] mechanisms known to palaeontologists and archaeologists don't [usually] produce straight lines. Allude to the multiple bite hypothesis, stating that [almost] everyone thinks it unlikely. 3. Conclude that while your random model [above] is just that--- a drastically simplified model-- it nonetheless provides a rough "order of magnitude" of the kind of odds likely involved in producing a straight line of holes [spaced diatonically] without a guiding hominid hand. 4. Coincidences do happen.... Note that since you can't quantify all the real world factors, you can't in good conscience assert that the odds you calculate would allow one to set up a proper statistical "confidence level" in regard to the conclusion that the bone is an artefact.... Call for more research. I think all these qualifications would actually strengthen your case. I still don't really like attaching seemingly exact numbers to things when there are unknown factors at work that might mean that the real numbers are very different.... So, make clear the limitations of the calculation and don't claim it proves your case. -- Mike ..

Letter from member of Swedish Institute of Biomusicology:


Bob ...I have not seen your argument against d'Errico - I guess that's the publication in Antiquity arguing against the "flute" on the basis of thousands of bones, some with holes in them, yes? I read it and was appalled at the bias that pervaded their write-up (and wrote Turk about it). Their bone collection convinced me in favor of Turk, because the one thing they maintain studious silence about is the linear arrangement of the holes - they do not have a single bone among those thousands which comes even close to the striking linear alignment of Turk's holes (I gather from what you say that this is part of your argument against them), and not to discuss this central and crucial issue is just bad scholarship and bad science. But {there are} academic theories about the status of Neanderthals...at stake, and so they fight with the fury of theologians... The strange thing about science is that it progresses despite the biasses of its practitioners, but that can be a long process in which lives are ruined along the way.... B.M. 1/9/2000 Sweden .

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ANTIQUITY JOURNAL


"A Bone to Pick" By Bob Fink (Sent May 5, 1998) I have a bone to pick with Francesco d'Errico's viewpoint in the March issue of Antiquity (article too long to reproduce here) regarding the Neanderthal flute found in Slovenia by Ivan Turk. D'Errico argues the bone artifact is not a flute. D'Errico omits dealing with the best evidence that this bone find is a flute. Regarding the most important evidence, that of the holes being lined up, neither d'Errico nor Turk make mention of this. This line-up is remarkable especially if they were made by more than one carnivore, which apparently they'd have to be, based on Turk's analysis of the center-spans of the holes precluding their being made by a single carnivore or bite (Turk,* pp.171-175). To account for this possible difficulty, some doubters do mention "one or more" carnivores (Chase & Nowell, Science News 4/4/98). My arguments over the past year pointed out the mathematical odds of the lining up of the holes occurring by chance-chewing are too difficult to believe. The Appendix in my essay ("Neanderthal Flute --A Musicological Analysis" -http://www.greenwych.ca/fl-compl.htm) proves that the number of ways a set of 4 random holes could be differently spaced (to produce an audibly different set of tones) are 680 ways. The chances a random set would match the existing fragment's spacing [which also could produce a match to four diatonic notes of the scale] are therefore only one in hundreds. If, in calculating the odds, you also allowed the holes to be out of line, or to be less than 4 holes as well, then the chance of a line-up match is only one from many tens of thousands.

And yet randomness and animal bites still are acceptable to account for holes being in line that could also play some notes of the scale? This is too much coincidence for me to believe occurred by chance. D'Errico mentions my essay in his article and what he thought it was about, but he overstates my case into being a less believable one. My case simply was that if the bone was long enough (or a shorter bone extended by a mouthpiece insert) then the 4 holes would be consistent and in tune with the sounds of Do, Re, Mi, Fa (or flat Mi, Fa, Sol, and flat La in a minor scale). In the 5 points I list below, extracted from Turk's monograph in support of this being a flute, d'Errico omits dealing with much of the first, and all of the second, fourth and sixth points. Turk & Co's monograph shows the presence on site of boring tools, and includes experiments made by Turk's colleague Guiliano Bastiani who successfully produced similar holes in fresh bone using tools of the type found at the site (pp. 176-78 Turk). They also wrote (pp. 171-75) that: 1. The center-to-center distances of the holes in the artifact are smaller than that of the tooth spans of most carnivores. The smallest tooth spans they found were 45mm, and the holes on the bone are 35mm (or less) apart; 2. Holes bitten are usually at the ends of bones rather than in the center of them; 3. There is an absence of dents, scratches and other signs of gnawing and counter-bites on the artifact; 4. The center-to-center distances do not correspond to the spans of carnivores which could pierce the bone; 5. The diameters of the holes are greater than that producible by a wolf exerting the greatest jaw pressure it had available -- it's doubtful that a wolf's jaws would be strong enough (like a hyena's) to have made the holes, especially in the thickest part of the wall of the artifact. 6. If you accept one or more carnivores, then why did they over-target one bone, when there were so many other bones in the cave site? Only about 4.5% of the juvenile bones were chewed or had holes, according to Turk (p. 117). * Turk Ivan, Ed., Mousterian Bone Flute, (Znanstvenoraziskovalni Center Sazu, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 1997) In order for us to reduce getting spam from junk-mailer programs, click on the e-mail button, and then before e-mailing us, remove the '+' symbol from our address to make sure you reach us. We are sorry for the inconvenience. . .

(Update, Jan., 2002):


.

D'ERRICO'S FATAL FLAW: NEANDERTHAL FLUTE: FANG OR FLINT?

What Made The Neanderthal Flute?


Some of you may have read or discussed recent materials published on whales, biomusicology, and ancient flutes. The debate has also re-surfaced about whether the Neanderthal Flute is a manufactured flute or a carnivore-originated object.

Others may have heard or read, at a Sept 2ooo conference of music archaeologists, Francesco d'Errico's most recent views claiming the Neanderthal flute had a carnivore origin, where no opposing view was able to be formally presented then. [However, the proceedings publication, due in mid-2002, will contain a reply by myself to some of these views, containing an outline of evidence that it is a flute from Ivan Turk (who found the Neanderthal bone).] In the interests of a balance of views, including those of Ivan Turk and others, below is some brief updated evidence on the other side of the debate. The evidence demonstrates this bone is indeed a flute, consistent as well with hole spacings that match a do-re-mi-fa sequence of tones.

Summary of d'Errico view


Teeth marks on the Neanderthal "flute" are offered by Francesco d'Errico as evidence that the bone is created by carnivores. D'Errico's earlier comparative evidence (published without first-hand examination of the bone) comes from looking at holes in other bones found where only carnivores were present, thus they were known to be naturally made holes -- and, because some of them looked like one or other of the holes in the Neanderthal bone, d'Errico concluded that the Neanderthal bone was a natural object. And that seems to be, in short, d'Errico's & colleagues' entire case that the bone is not an artifact.

Analogy
But in looking at the d'Errico illustrations or descriptions of teeth-marks [see: d'Errico, Francesco. 2000. Sur les traces de l'Homo symbolicus. La Recherche, Hors Serie No. 4, pp. 22-25.], I cannot help but notice, yet again, something else besides these unconvincing scratches (which were already admitted to exist by Turk). Simply look at the flute! (Picture of the flute shown at: http://www.greenwych.ca/fl-compl.htm or above] Indulge in an analogy for a moment: Suppose that the line-up of holes looked like letters, instead of like round "O"s. Suppose the first opening looked like an F, the next like an L, the next like a U, and the 4th like a T. And suppose the opposite 5th presumed opening looks like an E. Taken separately, I suppose one could of course find a hole or crackage that looks like any one of the openings. Take the F, for example. Like d'Errico, suppose I go to a cave where no hominoid had ever been, and find an object with a similar "F-like" shape on it. Or find also a different bone there, with a "T-like" shape. As an object, taking one "letter" at a time, I can claim for my case that I have several individual natural objects that resemble either the T or the F or the U or the L, etc.

It would be no surprise that nature could accidentally have done that, right? We've all seen odd shaped crackages or openings that can look like something familiar. So do I now "conclude," as did d'Errico, since the holes in my no-hombre-cave objects can look like any one of the openings on the Neanderthal bone, that therefore, "this N-bone is a natural object"? Now then, do you now see the fatal flaw in this d'Errico case?

Fatal Flaw -- Emperor's New Clothes


The flaw is that they fail to see the Neanderthal bone as a whole. None of the comparitive bones that d'Errico & co. found in caves where no hominoids had ever been had a set of 3 or more holes in line, nor looked anything like the Neanderthal bone. As a whole, the in-line openings, which also match a known scale spacing, really indicate, or, figuratively speaking, "spell out," that this is a F-L-U-T-E. If the openings really DID look like actual alphabet letters spelling the word "flute," it would just be more unquestionably apparent that a gross failure to "see the whole" was committed. It is equally as incompetent for an observer to ignore that the bone-holes accurately match a very unique scale-spacing [and especially to ignore that the holes are lined-up], as it would be to ignore addressing such a matter if the object actually looked like it was spelling-out an actual word: "FLUTE"! It is exactly like the Emperor's New Clothes fable, in which it is announced the emperor will parade the town in his new garments. The emperor instead shows up naked, but no one dares notice the obvious. No one says a word of that, and the protocol of "Nice clothes," or "Oh, pretty colours," murmurs through the crowd. This protocol represents the powerful taphonomic reputation of d'Errico. Only a novice child, who cannot fathom taphonomic protocol, says " Look, mommy!! The emperor has no clothes!!" Likewise, d'Errico and supporters all blindly fail or completely ignore seeing or addressing the naked truth that is here really obvious: "Look, mommy! They see the "letters," but not the word!! They see the holes, but not the whole, not the lined-up scale; They see the trees, but not the forest. "

Actual List of Evidence


Analogy aside, here is a quick factual list of what they do not see nor will address (other than claiming coincidence): * The object visually spells out that this is a flute for any eyes that see all the bone's entire features as a whole: * The near-circular holes are in line, and all similarly sized;

* The holes are in the right order and spacing (just like an actual spelling), enabling them (if there was an extension of the bone) to play the sounds of do, re, mi and fa -- which is virtually as unlikely to occur by chance, as is finding the spelling of a real word like "F-L-UT-E" imitated by chance; * The 5 openings fit the whole human hand and the size of fingers (noted by Marcel Otte); * There are chipping marks claimed to be laterally round the center holes showing that drilling-like handiwork took place; * It was found near a fireplace; * The openings are on a cylindrical hollow bore like other known flutes; * The openings fit no known toothspans with such tooth-shapes or jaw-power of any one carnivore; * Therefore, if bitten into existence, the openings had to be made in that orderly formation by several separately-acting bites to make each opening; * There are no counter-bites findable on the opposite side of the bone openings that should be there, IF the holes were bitten into existence; And so on and so on-- some of you have read it several times before, and if others haven't, or are new to this, see this page to read all the additional massive evidence -- and then: Ask yourself: Which is likelier? -- That nature, by coincidence, carved out flute holes, in-line, with a known acoustic scale's spacing, with the same-sized openings, etc, etc., -- Or that somebody made it that way? [My calculations show the odds against it being a chance object are at least millions to one.] Some dismiss it all, saying: "These kinds of unusual, coincidental things do happen." But to say such a thing, about an object requiring such a huge miracle of coincidence to exist "naturally," clearly reveals that they don't understand the size of the odds, or want to deny it is a flute and claim it's naturally-made as a given premise or pre-ordained conclusion -- and, because the above-listed evidence doesn't fit that prior conclusion, that evidence must therefore all be dismissed, or "not be seen" or addressed, like the emperor's nakedness. -- Bob Fink
Update: Jan 2004 -- * Lacking clear taphonomic evidence, how could we tell artifact from accident? .

Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2000 From: Bonnie Blackwell To: Greenwich


Bob, Ivan Turk now has rebutted d'Errico's arguments in an article submitted to Current Anthropology. hopefully it will be out this year. They have also found incised teeth and bones from earlier layers. These could not have been incised by wear or animals. More details later as I have them. --b . Bob wrote: Could someone use an animal's tooth for a hole-punch? . Bonnie replied: They could (have used a tooth for a hole punch), but did not. It is much easier to make the hole with a flake tool. The holes' edges do not show the type of incisions that would occur with a punch. They have striations that go around the hole, not from the top to the bottom of the hole." --b ------------------------------------------So! D'Errico claimed (from photos, I presume -- or from Nowell & Chase perhaps, who did see the bone) that there were "no signs" of tool marks.

Therefore, Bonnie (and/or Turk) see striations where there are none -- or there are striations ("a minute groove, scratch, or channel especially when one of a parallel series") and the holes do show signs of thus being circularly bored or drilled. Fang or Flint??? The plot thickens.....Tune in next time. See general note below . Updated evidence that flute was made by Neanderthals . LETTER FROM MIKE FINLEY TO BOB FINK, MAY 16, 1998 Bob, Came across something slightly relevant to issue of whether the Neanderthal flute is a flute. This time it has to do with art rather than music. Until very recently, earliest evidence of visual art was from early modern humans (Cro-magnon)-- cave paintings and small figurines of fat "fertility goddesses". The latter date to about 30,000 BC. It was widely thought that earlier humans lacked capacity for art--- this is some of the reason for doubts about Neanderthal music, since music, like the visual arts, requires conceptualization, creativity etc. However, a recent discovery in Palestine seems to over-turn this: It is a figurine of a fertility goddess dated to at least 230,000 BC, perhaps even to 800,000 BC. This is even pre-Neanderthal--- associated with Acheulian stone tools, made by Homo erectus (the species that includes Peking Man, Java Man etc.). One interesting thing about the image is that it is remarkably similar to the Cro-magnon fertility goddess ("Willendorf Venus")-- just as the Neanderthal flute seems similar to Cro-magnon flutes!! --Mike Finley . Below left: Acheulian Goddess; Below right: Willendorf Venus

. ED NOTE: This picture of the Acheulian figurine is apparently a commercial restoration, and the actual object, for the sake of accuracy, is shown just below. .

Further comments on this discrepancy can be found at: http://members.tripod.com/~Ten_Ten/index-22a.html .

From: "tom weiss" <tomweiss@northlink.com>


Dear Bob, Found this article in my copy of the Arizona Republic newspaper today. Thought you might enjoy reading it ... the attached jpeg is a picture of 6 nice bone flutes. If the picture is not viewable by you, not much is lost. I noted they referenced your work (?) without giving you credit. --Tom .

Oldest [playable] Instrument Found in China


By JOSEPH B. VERRENGIA AP Science Writer Arizona Republic newspaper
SEPTEMBER 23, 1999 -- Archaeologists in China have found what is believed to be the oldest stillplayable musical instrument: a 9,000-year-old flute carved from the wing bone of a crane. When scientists from the United States and China blew gently through the mottled brown instrument's mouthpiece and fingered its holes, they produced tones unheard for millennia, yet familiar to the modern ear. (Pictured below, 2nd from bottom) "It's a reedy, pleasant sound, a little thin, like a recorder," said Garman Harbottle, a nuclear scientist who specializes in radiocarbon dating at Brookhaven National Laboratory on New York's Long Island. Harbottle and three Chinese archaeologists published their findings in today's issue of the journal Nature. The flute was one of several instruments to be uncovered in Jiahu, a excavation site of Stone Age artifacts in China's Yellow River Valley. Archaeologists have also found exquisitely wrought tools, weapons and pottery. Dated to 7,000 B.C., the flute is more than twice as old as instruments used in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and other early civilizations. In all, researchers have found some three dozen bone flutes at Jiahu. Five were riddled with cracks; 30 others had fragmented. The flutes have as many as eight neatly hollowed tone holes and were held vertically to play. The Jiahu flute is considerably more recent than a flutelike bone discovered in 1995 in an excavation of Neanderthal tools in a cave in Slovenia. That artifact was believed to be more than 43,000 years old, but musicologists question whether it is an instrument. In contrast, there is no doubt among researchers that the Jiahu artifacts are instruments capable of playing multinote music. Music historians and archaeologists were intrigued by the find. "You would never have one of these flutes in a symphony. But clearly, these people knew what an octave sounded like," Harbottle said. He said the flute can make what sounds like a do-re-mi' scale. It even has a tiny hole drilled near hole No. 7, apparently to correct an off-pitch tone. Scholars said the bone flutes provide further proof that prehistoric Chinese culture was not crude. Music played an integral role, perhaps combined with astronomical observations and other rituals that helped to

rule their society, they said. That the flutes were made of durable bone rather than bamboo, as later flutes were, also suggests they were culturally important, and not mere amusements. In fact, some scholars believe the Chinese written character for "sound" is a stylized representation of a vertical flute held in the mouth. "That they would go to the trouble of constructing such instruments suggests a certain importance was placed on sound, and an attention to aesthetic concerns," said Jonathan Stock, an ethnomusicologist at the University of Sheffield in England, and a specialist in Chinese musical history. The flutes were uncovered at Jiahu in the 1980s. Their tonal qualities initially were tested in 1987. The intact Jiahu flute remains locked in a laboratory in China, but replicas may be constructed for more tonal tests. .

From Bob Fink:


Dear Tom: Thank you very much for sending the text of the story. It quotes Harbottle on a matter not found in any other story. Only 2 days ago I was interviewed by the FOX News science writer on this matter. Her article can be found at Foxnews.com -- under the "sci-tech" menu link. I attach her story at bottom for your interest. She also faxed me the full write-up from Nature magazine, where I saw their reference to the article in Science about me. It's the first independent academic reference I have received from others that I know of, even if not by my name. Now Fox has written me into the story by name, too. Which means my work is now a bonafide part of background references for people in the field -- even as far away as China. This pleases me no end. It's the work and not my name that really matters most to me after all. Perhaps there is still a town-vs-gown reluctance to deal too directly with a non-academic amateur like me. The equal-spacings on the latest Chinese flute cannot play do, re, mi closely in tune -- as Harbottle indicates -- but it is well-established, even by doubting ethnomusicologists, that singers, in the very same culture (in which are found such equal spaced instruments), who accompany such equal-spaced instruments (spaced equally for finger-width convenience and/or esthetics) will sing intervals acoustically in tune, despite the slightly acoustically off-tune instruments. Also, the fact that they divided the octave yet again into 7 notes indicates (when numerical systems otherwise tend to 5's and 10's [as per our own toes & fingers]) that they felt pressed to somewhat match diatonic intervals within the octave, tolerating the slightly off-tune result from equal-spaced flute holes. Using 5 or 10 hole-divisions of the octave won't work well for an attempted match. Thanks again. -- Bob Fink .

. . FOX NEWS

Distant Melodies -- Recently Uncovered Ancient Flute Sings a Prehistoric History


By Amanda Onion NEW YORK -- Long ago in China, someone picked up the hollow wing bone of a crane, smoothed the edges and bored seven holes along one side. Then, perhaps to correct for an off-key note, they drilled an even smaller hole beside the last. Last month and 9,000 years later, a musician picked up the same ancient instrument and played a Chinese folk song _ using that extra, pitch-correcting hole. It played perfectly. "The guy [not a woman?--BF] had obviously spent a lot of time on it," said Garman Harbottle, a chemist at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island who wrote about the ancient flute in this week's journal, Nature. "He didn't want to throw it away, so he found a way to correct it." A New Art Form Archeological evidence has shown that people have created musical instruments since the ancestors of modern man first appeared. The earliest instruments -- such as whistles and drums -- were most likely crafted with a purpose in mind. Drums provided a form of communication over long distances and whistles could lure a bird or other creature to their human predator. Later, people discovered scales -- a graduated series of notes that make ear-pleasing melodies when played in certain sequences. Now, for the first time, scientists have a sense of just what kind of sound ancient musicians may have produced during the Neolithic period of human history. The 9,000-year-old flute that weathered the centuries to remain in unusually fine condition was found at the village of Jiahu, located by the central Yellow River valley in China. The site is particularly rich with artifacts including turquoise carvings, elaborate pottery and a carved tortoise shell with engraved characters that some believe could be the ancestor of later Chinese writing. "This was a flourishing, rich culture," said David Keightley, a historian of Ancient China at the University of California at Berkeley. "Because they were able to feed themselves well, they had high cultural development." Harbottle suspects the Neolithic people lived in a structured society where individuals may have carried out roles in the community. Music may have been one of those roles. Archaeologists found evidence of more than 30 flutes at the site, all made from the wing bone of the red-crowned crane and carved with five to seven holes. The instruments were delicate, measuring about 20 centimeters in length and one and a half centimeters in width. And all were found inside graves among the 400 human burials excavated at the site. Thousands of years later, only one of these flutes could produce music without signs of strain. The 22centimeter flute created very thin, high-pitched notes that resemble the sound of a person whistling. Intuitive Design Most significantly, Harbottle says the seven notes on the instrument comprise a nearly accurate octave. Robert Fink, a musicologist in Saskatchewan, Canada, points out that in nearly every other matter -money, distance and time -- humans divide things into units of ten. It's only in music that cultures have settled on octaves -- a range of seven notes with the first note repeated at the end -- to arrange their music. "The nature of sound, itself, is what ends up cutting the steps out of the continuum of sound for us," Fink said. "It overrides the usual desire to make things equal." [See Scales' bases.] One of the most compelling pieces of evidence that music is intuitive lies in the design of what is thought to be the oldest instrument ever recovered. In July, 1995, a Slovenian archaeologist found a 43,000-year-old fragment of a bear femur bone in a cave in northern former Yugoslavia. Carved into the bone were two complete holes in the middle and two partial holes carved at each of its broken ends. The distance between the holes indicated that Neanderthals once played [notes in] the same musical scale -known as the diatonic or do re me scale -- that is used today. The evenly distributed holes in the Chinese flute suggest it did not play the whole and half-note sequences of the diatonic scale. Instead, Harbottle and colleagues suspect it may be part of one of two ancient Chinese scales that were documented six millennia later.

The Jiahu settlement that spanned 1,300 years was not advanced enough to leave behind any written records of its own. But documents from much later cultures in China appear to allude to the settlement's ancient flutists. Upon learning about the bird-bone flutes, James Watt, the curator of Asian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York reconsidered a Chinese legend that was recorded about 7,000 years after the end of the Jiahu settlement. In the legend, the flutist's music is so mesmerizing that large cranes flock from the sky and gather around the musician. Watt asked, why cranes? "The flutes from that period were made of bamboo, not bone," he said. "The connection between the crane and the flute likely came from how the instruments were made thousands of years earlier." In order to better analyze the music of these bone flutes, Chinese scientists plan to create replicas of the instruments. And if they make a mistake, their ancient ancestors have already demonstrated how to correct a note. -------------------------------------After studying the Nature article I made an updated picture illustrating the pitches. The holes are not as equally spaced as first look would indicate. --Bob Fink .

. More: Further discussion sparked by 9,ooo yr-old flute find . In order for us to reduce getting spam from junk-mailer programs, click on the e-mail button, and then before e-mailing us, remove the '+' symbol from our address to make sure you reach us. We are sorry for the inconvenience. . .

GENERAL NOTE: October, 2000


. I received a letter reporting on a recent conference in Germany of music archeologists which indicated the Neanderthal bone flute had been discussed. The reporter observed that for those who were previously pretty convinced that the Neanderthal bone WAS a flute, the evidence provided by the archaeologists/anthropologists was rather convincing: In general, nearly everyone was convinced by the comparative bone evidence (but not one looked like a flute as the Neanderthal bone does) that it is a startling but chance similarity to a flute. [But the idea was not given up entirely.] Prof. Bonnie Blackwell has claimed the markings on the bone do not conform to a tooth bite, are not smooth, but have striations running round the hole: "The holes' edges do not show the type of incisions that would occur with a punch. They have striations that go around the hole, not from the top to the bottom of the hole." D'Errico's view that the holes are smooth appear to be without credibility, especially as I was given to understand that d'Errico never examined the actual bone first-hand at the time of his conclusion.

But even conceding this point, Marcel Otte (above) points out that traces of hominid activity could have been obliterated in such an old bone, rather than having never been there. This would make all other evidence far more relevant and valuable than the disputed taphonomic evidence. But few will look at any other evidence.
[Update: Jan 2004 -- * Lacking clear taphonomic evidence, how could we tell artifact from accident? ]

I have read d'Errico's article several times, and I cannot see what some feel is so "convincing" about it. It is a conclusion based on comparisons to single holes made by nature or bites on other bones. That these could be similar shape could indicate any one of the Neanderthal bone holes might be a bitten hole -- but not all four holes in line. There are no discovered bones anywhere among the thousands found, formed by natural means, that have ALL these features: Holes in-line; on a cylindrical hollow bone; all of very similar diameter; found in close proximity to a fireplace. Not to mention capable of playing do-re-mi-fa notes!! Further, the holes cannot have been formed by one animal bite, as the distances between holes match no known tooth-span of animals with the strength to bite-through. The expected scratches and surrounding marks that would accompany such bitten holes do not appear on the N-bone, and such holes appear in virtually none of the many bones found in the Neanderthal cave -- as would be expected if animals had been there to gnaw at the bones. Virtually all holes appear only in the one single bone. The whole conclusion against it being an artifact rests on two things: First: D'Errico's reputation and: Secondly, on the so-called "need" -- (even by those, like d'Errico & Robert Bednarik, who do not believe Neanderthals are dumb brutes) -- to avoid accepting an artifact that revolutionizes concepts about Neanderthals unless it meets standards of proof, as Bednarik wrote me, that are in excess of what is amply sufficient to constitute probable proof when an item is found among homo-sapien digs. But it seems to me the standards demanded for the Neanderthal bone are next to impossible to meet. Sort of like the Black cop who brutalizes Black lawbreakers even more than white cops do -to prove he isn't playing favourites toward his own Black people. . CONCLUSION . The d'Errico & co. and Chase/Nowell articles are a dismissal of ALL the powerful evidence for it being an artifact-flute apparently because this evidence does not fit the predetermined conclusion. Reliance on "coincidence" in order to dismiss this evidence could almost be taken seriously if it weren't for the apparent ignorance of simple probability arithmetic that makes this "coincidence" that we are asked to accept equivalent to a full-scale mammoth miracle, and thus makes the dismissal of this evidence border on the absurd. Buy that & you'd buy the Brooklyn Bridge. In fairness, like the authors of this view, most people have their pockets emptied at gambling casinos and at lottery booths because we likewise tend to grossly and extremely overestimate our chances of winning or getting 4 plums in a row, thinking it must be 1 chance in 400 or even 1-in-40 -- not realizing, that if there are ten symbols on each of the 4 wheels, then there is actually only 1 chance in 10,000 to get a 4-plum line-up!

Similarly, there are at least 10 places around the bone where any of the holes (like plums) could be vertically out-of-line, which make the odds of the holes being in-line (by chance) the same or similar as the casino odds. [Not to mention multiplying this by the odds that make the horizontal hole-spacings consistent with do-re-mi-fa -- which then makes the total odds astronomical.] Had the authors realized the cosmic size of the next-to-impossible "coincidence" (1 in millions) that they invoked in order to avoid admitting it was indeed an artifact, they'd know how ludicrous is their ignoring of this evidence and how narrow & parochial is their not allowing a scientific but "non-archaeological" analysis (a simple probability study) to bring light on the matter for them. For those denying the bone is an artifact, the similarity of any of its holes to a naturally formed or bitten hole is certainly "suggestive" evidence, but dismissing that evidence does not even come close to violating the norms of probability as does the dismissal of the line-up of the holes. Why rely on miracle coincidence to deny it's an artifact when you can face that the obvious and most probable evidence is not coincidence, and conclude, if not prove, it probably is an artifact? The dismissal of the evidence would be irrational if it wasn't known that other motives may exist to make this false conclusion into the chosen conclusion. As Otte wrote [Current Anthropology Volume 41, Number 2, April 2000]: "The idea of Mousterian ineptitude is one of the deepest and one of the most perverse because it reassures us about ourselves. The destiny of the Mousterian flute discovered at Divje Babe was preordained: it could be only disputable and doubtful, a priori."
Update: Jan 2004 -- * Lacking clear taphonomic evidence, how could we tell artifact from accident? .

CHEWED OR CHIPPED?
Who Made the Neanderthal Flute?
HUMANS OR CARNIVORES?
By Bob Fink
Updated Mar.2003-- See: Two New Books: On Music Origins & Music Archaeology

Click here to search our entire website using your own keyword(s) NOTE: Numbers & symbols inside ( ) are clickable links to notes, related matter & sources. After clicking, use "back" to return to place in text. .

. CONTENTS .
*

A listing of the overall updated evidence + photo of one hole;

* A review of evidence by Ivan Turk et al


based on Ivan Turk's monograph (*) and an article by Drago Kunej and Ivan Turk in the recent book Origins of Music (**);

* Comments on some of the literature [d'Errico et al] for the bone as a natural object .

. Updated Listing of Evidence for the Divje babe I bone being a flute: .

* It looks like a nearly complete flute, and is similar to other known flutes from the about
the same period (Upper Pleistocene).

* Four holes are in line (at least three); * Diameters of the holes are equivalent; * Spacings between holes match a very unique set of spacings found within a known
traditional scale (do-re-mi-fa);

* Holes are found on a cylindrical hollow femur, a bone type commonly used for making
flutes in history and prehistory;

* There is a possible thumb-hole -- exactly where a thumb hole would be: Namely, the
entire hole structure fits a human hand. (See Otte, Current Anthropology, Volume 41, #2, April, 2000);

* The bone was found in the vicinity of Mousterian fireplace; * Hole diameters are in a circular shape, a good fit to finger tips; * There are striations or furrowed depressions reported going horizontally around the rim of
the hole, rather than vertically from the top to the inside as in marks made by teeth. (1)

* Responds to blowing -- able to produce musical sounds, even including traditional scale
notes.

* The middle two holes are found on thickest part of femur, an unusual location for
carnivore chewing, especially two such holes on the same bone;

* Most of the many bones in the same cave were without holes; few were chewed [only
about 4.5% of the juvenile bones were chewed or had holes, according to Turk], and most were chewed at the ends where the bone is thinner. This bone was unique in the attention given to it if carnivores were responsible. (2)

* Wolves, bears, and hyenas are unlikely suggested candidates for producing the central
holes because: a) Hyena & wolf teeth do not have big enough size diameters nor would their oval shape or taper match the nearly circular holes found in the assumed flute. 3)

b) The tooth spans of the suggested carnivores do not match any two or more holes in
the hole pattern found on the bone, which precludes more than one hole being punctured at once by any animal. The 4-hole line-up had to be 4 separate events. (4) c) Circular holes might be made by canines but these are not usual for chewing and do not have bite-strength enough to pierce the thickest part of the bone; (5) d) There is an unexpected absence of marks demonstrating a counterbite took place if a carnivore punctured the bone; (6) e) The bone was remarkably not shattered despite the presumed heavy chewing and despite several holes presumed punctured by powerful carnivore teeth. This is also very rare. See note (7)

* Turk & Kunej point out that if the presumed thumb-hole represents only an anterior
counter-bite of the posterior hole made at one end, why was the posterior hole bitten at the other end -- with what would have been enough force to penetrate -- not likewise endowed with a second counterbite on the anterior side of the bone? Both these holes Turk & Kunej believe were made at the same time.

* Further, they point out that animals placing their teeth, for holes to result being in line, is
difficult. That is, the slight flatness of one side of the bone may seem likelier to sustain holes there, and thus be more in line, but holding the bone to puncture them in line with separate bites is actually harder for a carnivore to do. (8)

* Finally, the odds of all the above happening by natural or random or even semi-random
processes are very tiny. An analogous or hypothetical probability study done to find out how many ways such a bone shape (like a casino wheel) can get a 4-item lineup provides an order or magnitude of these odds. While the study is based on how many ways to arrange a set of 4 holes somewhere on such a bone's surface (and also matching a known scale's hole spacings), note that natural processes are not necessarily the same as hypothetical random processes. But in the absence of knowing the natural processes (if any) that are able to produce a non-chance lineup, the hypothetical estimated calculations of odds come to 1 in 7 million (or more, up to 16 million) chance to occur. This seems to be the only such bone with a 4-hole line-up claimed to be naturally produced, as all others have been (so far) classified as flutes. If some natural processes capable of producing a line-up are not entirely random, then these odds would not be so small, but would surely remain within an order of magnitude of 1 chance in millions or in many thousands. (9) .

Next page: Comments & other views


Lacking clear taphonomic evidence, how else could we tell artifact from accident? Click here to search our entire website using your own keyword(s) _______NOTES, SOURCES AND RELATED MATERIAL_______ .

* Turk Ivan, Ed., Mousterian Bone Flute, (Znanstvenoraziskovalni Center Sazu, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 1997). . ** The Origins of Music, Ed: Wallin, Merker, & Brown... (MIT Press, Cambridge / London, UK, 2ooo). . (1) "A stone tool also more or less furrows the edge of a hole (illus. below). Traces of such furrows (depressions) are present on the edges of both complete holes, and are difficult to explain if we opt for the hypothesis that the holes were made by a carnivore with teeth and subsequently enlarged by weathering (see Chase and Nowell 1998)."... "In chipping holes, specific damage, including breakage, occurred on the ventral side of pointed or tongued tools [ed.: tools used by Turk et al to make experimental holes in fresh bear bone ], similar to damage to numerous similar tools from the site...." Further, Turk and Kunej wrote: "Tools suitable for chipping holes have a number of irregular sharp edges on the sides, whereas the teeth of carnivores do not. Because of this, the outline of holes that have been chipped with stone tools are not completely circular and have at least one or more corners. " -- Turk & Kunej, in Origins... op. cit. .

One of the holes (left) in the presumed flute from Divje babe I site, and experimentally chipped & punctured holes produced with a stone tool (right)
(from Turk & Kunej, in Origins... op. cit. Notes in white letters added by Bob Fink, who thinks he can see the striations/furrows even though he's not a trained taphonomic archaeologist. Quality of original photo much clearer than reproduction here.)

. . (2) "Since carnivores always chew a bone from the end, most such holes are created in the region of the epiphyses and metaphyses (Brodar 1985: table 3; Turk and Dirjec 1997) where elastic and viscoelastic trabecular bone is covered with thin cortical shell...." -- Turk & Kunej, in Origins... op. cit.

(3) "The holes in the flute are too big for a wolf and their shape matches the shape of wolf's carnassial not at all and the precarnassials of hyenas only slightly. Precarnassial and carnassial teeth do not produce circular holes but oval and rhomboid ones." ... "Holes in the flute could only match the shape of canines of hyenas and large carnivores such as bears (brown and cave bear) and lions. Except for hyenas, these animals are not interested in bones, although they are present in cave fauna and must be considered." -- Turk & Kunej, in Origins... op. cit. (4) Turk's monograph reports (pp. 171-5) that the center-to-center distances of the holes in the artifact are smaller than that of the tooth span of most carnivores. The smallest tooth spans they found were 45mm, and the holes on the bone are 35mm. -- Turk, Mousterian.... op. cit. (5) "Almost-circular holes are characteristic only of canines, where the bite force is half or less that of precarnassials and carnassial and the teeth behind them. ...A force of 1300 to 1900 Newtons is necessary to pierce thick cortical bone (3 to 4mm) with a pointed tooth in the middle part of the diaphysis of juvenile specimens. It is questionable whether most medium sized carnivores (e.g., wolves, perhaps hyenas) are capable of doing this with their canines..." -- Turk & Kunej, in Origins... op. cit. This would leave for the wolf and hyena only their pointed teeth -- which would have left an expected taper in the hole. -- 'If it doesn't fit, you must aquit.' (6) "...the origin of completely pierced holes without opposite bite marks, similar to ours, is uncertain. ...No such damage or any macroscopic trace is seen of the point of the opposing tooth or of other opposing teeth in suitable places beside the complete and half-holes on the other end of bone. Opposing and neighboring teeth should have made an impression with such a powerful bite force as is required for the tooth to pierce the thick, compact bone of the diaphysis." -- Turk & Kunej, in Origins... op. cit. (7) "...compact bone regularly splits longitudinally when a tooth penetrates this deep, as was the case with the holes in the suspected flute. [ Strength was measured at the Laboratory of Non-linear Mechanics...using steel points , bronze casts of wolf and hyena dentition, and fresh thigh bones of brown bear. In widening the experimental holes to the size of those on the suspected flute, exerting the same force as for piercing, all juvenile bones cracked. We thank Profs. J Grum and F. Kosel for their help.]" The ultimate goal of every boneeating carnivore is to split a bone into two pieces to get at the marrow. The question is why this goal was not achieved after so many attempts, when most of the necessary energy had been invested in piercing the cortical shell and widening the holes." -- Turk & Kunej, in Origins... op. cit. (8) "...canine teeth ...have the effect of splitting the force produced by the lower jaw into two components, axial and transverse (we owe this explanation to Dr. Pavel Cevc, Institute "Joief Stefan," Ljubljana). The transverse component precludes the upper canine from penetrating the arched anterior surface of the bone. In this case it would be very difficult for a carnivore that pierced the bone several times with abnormal chewing behavior to place the same tooth (i.e., lower canine) each time exactly in line with a previous hole. All holes and notches on the posterior side are disposed in a straight line." -- Turk & Kunej, in Origins... op. cit. (Emph. added) (9) "The probability that an undetermined carnivore [or carnivores] pierced a bone several times and gave it the coincidental form of a flute without fragmenting it into pieces is very small. If this probability were greater, it is likely that there would have been more such finds, since there were at least as many beasts of prey in the middle Paleolithic as people. In

addition, such carnivores in cave dens were at least as active on bones, if not more so, than people in cave dwellings...." Without attempting a measure, Turk and Kunej's general judgement results: "...it is highly probable that the pierced bone from Divje babe I site is the product of human hands from the invention phase of some technological and cultural process; this is a great deal more probable than that it was heavily chewed. " [Emph. added.] Further, they wrote: "We are familiar with examples in which indisputable bone artifacts, such as Upper Paleolithic bone points, were greatly chewed by beasts after people ceased to use them (Turk and Stele 1997: figure 57; Lopez Bayon et al.1997: photo 1)" -Turk & Kunej, in Origins... op. cit.
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Comments & Other Views


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A RECENT DISCUSSION OF THE NEANDERTHAL FLUTE


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FROM A PALEO-ANTHROPOLOGY ON-LINE DISCUSSSION LIST


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Updated Mar 2003-- Two New Books on Music Origins & Music Archaeology Jan 2004 -- * Lacking clear taphonomic evidence, how could we tell artifact from accident? .

Subject: That Neanderthal Bone FLUTE again!! Date: Sat, 07 Oct 2000 From: Greenwich [Bob Fink]
To the list: I received a letter reporting on a recent conference in Germany of music archeologists which indicated the Neanderthal bone flute had been discussed. It was reported that most folks concluded, after hearing Nowell and d'Errico, that the bone in question is a coincidence: it looks like a flute; perhaps it was used as one, but it wasn't made to be one. At the same time, no one (including d'Errico) thought that it was impossible that the Neanderthals did produce music instruments; only this is not one of them. In general, nearly everyone was convinced by the comparative bone evidence that it is a startling but chance similarity to a flute. But the idea was not given up entirely. It seems (so far as I know at present) there was no one there who formally presented the opposite case, such as Ivan Turk nor others -- other than perhaps some people who, without researched preparation, may have questioned the issues. Prof. Bonnie Blackwell has claimed the markings on the bone do not conform to a tooth bite, are not smooth, but have striations running round the hole: "The holes' edges do not show the type of incisions

that would occur with a punch. They have striations that go around the hole, not from the top to the bottom of the hole." [See also photo] D'Errico's view that the holes are smooth appear to be without credibility, especially as d'Errico never examined the actual bone first-hand. But even conceding this point, Marcel Otte points out that traces of hominid activity could have been obliterated in such an old bone, rather than having never been there. This would make all other evidence far more relevant and valuable than the disputed taphonomic evidence. But few will look at any other evidence. I have read d'Errico's article several times, I cannot see what some feel is so "convincing" about it. It is a conclusion based on comparisons to single holes made by nature or bites on other bones. That these could be similar shape could indicate any one of the Neanderthal bone holes might be a bitten hole -- but not all four holes in line. There are no discovered bones anywhere among the thousands found, formed by natural means, that have most or all of these features: Holes in-line; on a cylindrical hollow bone; all of very similar diameter; found in close proximity to a fireplace. Not to mention capable of playing do-re-mi-fa notes!! Further, the holes cannot have been formed by one animal bite, as the distances between holes match no known tooth-span of animals with the strength to bite-through. The expected scratches and surrounding marks that would accompany such bitten holes do not appear on the N-bone, nor do such holes appear in virtually any of the many bones found in the Neanderthal cave -- as would be expected if animals had been there to gnaw at the bones. Virtually all holes appear only in the one single bone. The whole conclusion against it being an artifact rests on two things: First: D'Errico's reputation and: Secondly, on the so-called "need" -- (even by those, like d'Errico & Robert Bednarik, who do not believe Neanderthals are dumb brutes) -- to avoid accepting an artifact that revolutionizes concepts about Neanderthals unless it meets standards of proof, as Bednarik wrote me, that are in excess of what is amply sufficient to constitute probable proof when an item is found among homo-sapien digs. It seems to me the standards demanded for the Neanderthal bone are next to impossible. Sort of like the Black cop who brutalizes Black lawbreakers even more than white cops do -- to prove he isn't playing favourites toward his own Black people. ___________
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The d'Errico and Chase/Nowell articles are a dismissal of ALL the powerful evidence for it being an artifact-flute apparently because this evidence does not fit the pre-determined conclusion. Reliance on "coincidence" in order to dismiss this evidence could almost be taken seriously if it weren't for the apparent ignorance of simple probability arithmetic that makes this "coincidence" we are asked to accept equivalent to a full-scale mammoth miracle, and thus makes the dismissal of this evidence border on the absurd. In fairness, like the authors of this view, most people have their pockets emptied at gambling casinos and at lottery booths because we likewise tend to grossly and extremely overestimate our chances of winning or getting 4 plums in a row, thinking it must be 1 chance in 400 or even 1-in-40 -- not realizing, that if there are ten symbols on each of the 4 wheels, then there is only 1 chance in 10,000 to get a 4-plum lineup! Likewise, there are at least 10 places 'round the bone where any of the holes (like plums) could be vertically out-of-line making the odds of the holes being in-line (by chance) similar to the casino odds, not to mention multiplying this by the odds that make the horizontal hole-spacings consistent with do-remi-fa -- which makes the total odds astronomical. Had the authors realized the cosmic size of the "coincidence" (1 in millions) they invoked to avoid admitting it was indeed an artifact, they'd know how ludicrous is their ignoring of this evidence and how narrow & parochial is their not allowing a scientific but "non-archaeological" analysis (a simple probability study) to bring light on the matter for them. Update: Jan 2004 -- * Lacking clear taphonomic evidence, how could we tell artifact from accident?

For those denying the bone is an artifact, the similarity of any of its holes to a naturally formed or bitten hole is certainly suggestive evidence, but dismissing that evidence does not even come close to violating the norms of probability as does the dismissal of the line-up of the holes. Why rely on miracle coincidence to deny it's an artifact when you can face the evidence and conclude, if not prove, it "probably" is an artifact? The dismissal of the evidence would be irrational if it wasn't known that other motives may exist to make this false conclusion into the chosen conclusion. As Otte wrote: "The idea of Mousterian ineptitude is one of the deepest and one of the most perverse because it reassures us about ourselves. The destiny of the Mousterian flute discovered at Divje Babe was preordained: it could be only disputable and doubtful, a priori." . From article by Marcel Otte: CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 41, Number 2, April 2000: [Otte is director of the museum of Prhistoire, Universit de Lige, 7, place du XX Aot, Bt.A1, 4000 Lige, Belgium. 27 IV 99, and he now discounts the view that the bone is a natural product.] Otte writes in part: "Finally, the instrument consists of not two perforations (as Chase and Nowell indicate) but five ("like five fingers of a hand"): four on one side, one on the opposite side. ...If there was gnawing by carrion eaters (which seems to be the case for this bone as for most of the others of this level), it was concentrated at the ends of the bone and, in any case, superimposed on traces of human activity. The fifth hole appears at the base of the opposite side, at the natural location of the thumb. "....The capacity for symbolization is everywhere present in the Middle Paleolithic and sufficient to make the presence and use of musical instruments in this period at least a logical possibility (Otte 1996). The problem, then, lies in the usual double problematic of archeological nearsightedness and of the more current taphonomy..... "We must beware of received ideas: they inflict lasting damage on both scientific thought and scientific literature, especially in the human sciences. The idea of Mousterian ineptitude is one of the deepest and one of the most perverse because it reassures us about ourselves. The destiny of the Mousterian flute discovered at Divje Babe was preordained: it could be only disputable and doubtful, a priori. We have seen how disastrous the application of "apriorisms" in the human sciences has been for recent European history." ============================ Dan wrote: I'm not saying the bone isn't a flute or that Neanderthals wouldn't have been capable of making such an item. I just find the evidence in this case to be overwhelmingly in support of the proposal that this piece was produced naturally (Otte's arguement is basically from a position of disbelief - it looks so much like a flute I can't believe it isn't one). Further studies may prove me wrong and I'm sure this debate has further to go than this intermediate position but currently the ball is in the court of the believers. ============================= Anne replied: First, I'd like to thank Dan for taking his doubtless limited time to reply to this issue. At this point I will jump in to say what I've said earlier, right here on this forum, namely that I've seen credible-sounding evidence that says the Divje Babe object is a flute, and equally credible-sounding evidence that says it isn't. And, like Dan, I think Neandertals and other "archaic" humans were perfectly capable of making, and tootling on, flutes. It's just that, so far, the Divje Babe object may fall into the "ambiguous" category (at least until we can find other, similar objects firmly placed in "Neandertal times"). And it would be nice if Bonnie Blackwell and Ivan Turk would join this group so they could explain themselves and their reasoning to the rest of us (yoo-hoo, Slovenia! :-) ) However, having said the above, it seems to me that there are a bunch of people "out there" who are all too willing to disbelieve Neandertal abilities in this regard. For these people, it's not a flute because Neandertals were incapable of making and using flutes (to his credit, as Dan points out, D'Errico is not

one of these folks). There are still people who disbelieve that the Berekhat Ram figurine is a "real" artistic or esthetic effort. I just "talked" to one such individual yesterday, in another context. So while I think the Divje Babe flute, or whatever it is, falls into the "ambiguous" category as far as Neandertal-made objects is concerned (at least for the present), I also think that there is a tremendous amount of work to be done before more people will accept MP evidence for artistic or esthetic or symbolic capacity. There are still too many people "out" there, who will accept similar objects at face value if they think they are made by AMH, but not if they seem to be made by Neandertals. In other words, they are setting artificially high barriers to acceptance of such objects, if they are made by Neandertals. Whether or not these "artificial barriers" exist re the Divje Babe object, I cannot say at this time, but we will just have to wait and see. -- Anne G ============================== Jack wrote: If this artifact came from an Aurignacian site, not only would it have been a flute, the tune it played would have been reconstructed, the height and sex of the musician would have been calculated, the flute reproduced and being played at Palaeo lectures across the land as the Cro-Magnon Concerto for flute in D flat minor. The durn thing is a flute. ============================== Dan wrote: I've got the Albrecht et al paper in front of me now and they give numerous examples with 2, 3 and 4 complete holes in them some of them are in line and some are not. The reason the Divje Baba ones are in a line is because they are on the flat part of the bone - if the bone was a perfect cylinder then fruit machine analogy would be appropriate but this greatly enhances the odds of the holes lying in a straight line. [But see also Turk] Conclusion I'm not saying the bone isn't a flute or that Neanderthals wouldn't have been capable of making such an item I just find the evidence in this case to be overwhelmingly in support of the proposal that this piece was produced naturally.... Currently the ball is in the court of the believers.
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I'll snip Bob's piece just to keep things concise and address some of his points:
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1. Blackwell v d'Errico Francesco d'Errico is one of the leading experts in microscopic examinations of artifacts while Bonnie Blacwell is responsible for the ESR dating of the site: Lau, B., Blackwell, B.A.B., Schwarcz, H.P., Turk, I. & Blickstein, J.I. (1997) Dating a flautist? Using ESR (Electron Spin Resonance) in the Mousterian cave desposits at Divje Babe I, Slovenia. Geoarchaeology. 12 (6). 507 - 36.
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d'Errico's papers on the flute do show that the holes resemble other naturally produced holes:
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d'Errico, F., Villa, P., Pinto Llona, A.C. & Idarraga, R.R. (1998a) A Middle Palaeolithic orgin of music? Using cave-bear bone accumulations to assess the Divje Babe I bone `flute'. Antiquity. 72 (275). 65 - 79.
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d'Errico, F., Villa, P., Pinto Llona, A.C. & Ruiz Idarraga, R. (1998b) La flte de Dijve Babe et les accumulations naturelles d'ossements d'ours des cavernes. In Brugal, J.-P., Meignen, L. & Patou-Mathis (eds) conomie Prhistorique: Les Comportements de Subsistence au Palolithique. XVIIIe Rencontres Internationales d'Archologie et d'Histoire d'Antibes. ditions APDCA, Sophia Antipolis. 85 - 104.
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I would tend to favour d'Errico's analysis over Blackwell's. . 2. Holes and positioning. These are not the only times this has been suggested: Albrecht, G., Holdermann, C.-S., Kerig, T., Lechterbeck, J. & Serangeli, J. (1998) Flten aus Brenknochen die frhesten Musikinstrumente?. Archologisches Korrespondenzblatt. 28 (1). 1 - 19.

Chase, P.G. (1990) Sifflets du Palolithique moyen (?). Les implications d'un coprolite de coyote actuel. Bulletin de la Socit Prhistorique Franaise. 87. 165 - 7. ================================== Ed wrote to Dan: Your analysis did not address some issues that I find significant here. First of all, not only are the holes in a line, but: - their sizes are identical, and - the separations between neighboring holes are identical. It is highly unlikely (but admittedly not impossible) that natural processes could do this. Then there is the kicker for me: The presense of striations that go round the hole. That is an issue that has to be addressed, because if they are there, then that is direct evidence that the holes were drilled into bone, and not punched or created by degradation. [See also photo] As for the holes being on the flat part of the bone: It seems to me that this would be the easiest surface on which to start drilling holes. EMS ============================== Bob wrote to Dan: Naturally, I think Jack has it right. Three things about your view: First: To refer to Otte's view as not fully convincing because it comes from disbelief, i.e., "it looks so much like a flute I can't believe it isn't one" underscores my view on this: If you are d'Errico, and hear a shot fired just around the corner, and then a second later round the corner to see a guy standing there with a smoking gun over a dead body -- you could say: "It looks like you just shot this person, but I'll ignore that because it's just visual or statistical evidence -- not taphonomic evidence (the only "real" thing as evidence goes). Instead, you'd say: I have a photo here of some dead guys who were killed with an ice-pick grapple. Their wounds look just like the wound in the dead guy right here on the ground. Therefore, my report will ONLY discuss this similarity in the wounds, which I conclude are ALL caused by an ice-pick. That you're standing there with a smoking gun is a coincidence!!" ....Thank YOU, detective d'Errico!! Second: Otte said, aside from Blackwell, that the holes could have been smoothed by time, erasing hominid markings. In addition, the holes could have been MADE using an animal tooth as a punch!! As I said, even granting that Blackwell is blind, the only remaining undisputed evidence, among other things, is that it "looks like a flute." When you factor in this: That of the dozens or hundreds of bones in that Divje Babe cave, why would several animals keep adding holes (in line) only to that one among hundreds of bones there?? The slight flatness of the bone that you mention is a good point -- except for the above fact. It had to be several animals over time, because no known tooth span matches the hole pattern (agreed by all), nor do other markings (half-bites, gnawing) appear near the holes as they often do in the collections that d'Errico offered in his article. Third: Relying on d'Errico's reputation is not an argument. The best of us make mistakes, or have human motivations that can get the best of us without our awareness. Recall RGB's letter to me?? I herewith append it just below my name -- it openly indicates a penchant to "blow the controversial bone out of the evidence pool that favours Mousterian sophistication -- and do it before the old-guard does it to us" -- is the message I get from RGB's letter. My argument is that -- conscious or unconscious -- pressures & politics, not science, is at play here. Since when does "looking like a flute" NOT qualify as evidence??? -- nor even rate mention nor analysis!!?? That "look" is bonafide evidence, not grounds for dismissing Otte's or my arguments. Despite the differing views, Dan, many thanks for writing in on this. Best wishes, Bob

Letter from several month ago on this list: Dear Bob, Like you, I am biased here. My bias is this: our case of early hominid sophistication always suffers from marginal and `over-interpreted' specimens. It would be much stronger if we relied entirely on rock-solid specimens, like beads and pendants and so on, which are indisputable. By pursuing controversial claims we are playing into the hands of the opposition. I am probably the last person on earth who would want to reject the cave bear flute if there were any realistic hope for it, after all, it would provide such splendid evidence for hominid sophistication which I have advocated more than anyone. But that is precisely why I have to treat it more rigorously than any non-controversial find. Far too many times those of us who are gradualists have suffered setbacks because we relied on inadequate evidence that eventually collapsed. This is one reason why I prefer to view crucial evidence myself, I have long learnt not to trust the judgment of experts other than people whose work I know and value very well. ....D'Errico... is ...excellent on bone and ivory, and I trust his judgment there. I have to confess that on a couple of occasions I also listed the find as an artefact, without having examined it. But there are too many parallels with Bordes' bone from Pech de l'Az. Perhaps you can succeed in refuting d'Errico, and that would be truly great, I'd be the first to applaud you. But for the moment you have apparently also not seen the object, and you have not as yet told us how many tons of fragmented cave bear bones you have studied and for how long, and what other taphonomic studies you have conducted on osteal remains. I have worked in about 50 caves containing cave bear remains, one of which, the Drachenhhle in the Alps, contained the remains of 30,000 cave bears. And I have seen quite a few holes in long bones.... -- RGB ================================= Anne wrote to Jack: Unfortunately, there is a great deal of truth to what you say [about the bone being proclaimed a flute without controversy had it been found at an Aurignacian site], and I see a strong underlying thread of this in discussions of its probable origin. While I'm inclined to think the thing probably is a flute (the holes look awfully round and evenly spaced for carnivore chewing to me, but then I don't claim to be any expert on these things), I'm also open to the possibility of its ambiguity, and this was the point I was attempting to make. Like many Middle Paleolithic objects, it is ambiguous (or considered ambiguous) in its nature, and we shouldn't discount this possibility, at least in the interests of "science". -- Anne G ================================== Jacques wrote: Just a few words to thank you for passing on a copy of RGB's letter. It makes a lot of sense. ================================== Dan writes, quoting me first: . To refer to Otte's view as not fully convincing because it comes from disbelief, i.e., "it looks so much like a flute I can't believe it isn't one" underscores my view on this: If you are d'Errico, and hear a shot fired just around the corner, and then a second later round the corner to see a guy standing there with a smoking gun over a dead body -- you could say: "It looks like you just shot this person, but I'll ignore that because it's just visual or statistical evidence -- not taphonomic evidence (the only "real" thing as evidence goes)." Instead, you'd say: "I have a photo here of some dead guys who were killed with an ice-pick grapple. Their wounds look just like the wound in the dead guy right here on the ground. Therefore, my report will ONLY discuss this similarity in the wounds, which I conclude are ALL caused by an ice-pick. That you're standing there with a smoking gun is a coincidence!!" ....Thank YOU, detective d'Errico!! . Dan wrote: The conclusion that would be drawn from this is that an ice pick wielding maniac attacked a group of men and the man with the gun chased him off firing a few shots. The link between archaeology

and forensics is a strong one and d'Errico is known as carrying out his investigations with a forensic rigour. An argument from disbelief would not stand up in court. . Quoting me again: Otte said, aside from Blackwell, that the holes could have been smoothed by time, erasing hominid markings. In addition, the holes could have been MADE using an animal tooth as a punch!!' . Dan: Even if so (has anyone tried that? I know I'd use a sharp flake or point) the most likely explanantion would be that it was produced by an animal tooth while still alive.... . Quoting Bob ...the only remaining undisputed evidence, among other things, is that it "looks like a flute." When you factor in this: That of the dozens or hundreds of bones in that Divje Babe cave, why would several animals keep adding holes (in line) only to that one among hundreds of bones there??' . Dan: And the Albrecht paper and others show uniquely pierced objects found in large bone accumulations. The flute is at one end of a continuum of natural bone modification and I don't think you are fully aware of the range of naturally pierced artifacts (as I wasn't until the bone flute got my interest. I also couldn't believe it wasn't a flute when I first stuck the picture on my wall years ago. Subsequent research has shown me that arguing from disbelief just doesn't work in this case. There are cases where the taphonomic argument is so convoluted that the simplest explanation is that the thing is artificially produced - as is the case in some of the Neanderthal burials: see Chase and Dibble, 1992). The references I gave in the previous post have some excellent illustrations of such pieces. . Quoting Bob: The slight flatness of the bone that you mention is a good point -- except for the above fact.' [See also Turk] . Dan: The flattening of the bone in this area does greatly reduce the odds as you've calculated them assuming the bone to be a tube. . Quoting Bob: It had to be several animals over time, because no known tooth span matches the hole pattern (agreed by all), nor do other markings (half-bites, gnawing) appear near the holes as they often do in the collections that d'Errico offered in his article. . Again there are bones with more whole holes in that have been naturally produced - this would imply that this does happen.... Relying on d'Errico's reputation is not an argument.' . Dan: I was comparing him to your 'expert' witness. I am not relying on his reputation but on the rigour of his work (see above). . Quoting Bob: The best of us make mistakes, or have human motivations that can get the best of us without our awareness. Recall RGB's letter to me?? I herewith append it just below my name -- it openly indicates a penchant to "blow the controversial bone out of the evidence pool that favours > Mousterian sophistication -- and do it before the old-guard does it to > us" -- is the message I get from RGB's letter.' . Dan: The message I get is generally what I've been saying: 1. As a unique artifact it needs to be thourghly investigated. When similar dubious cases emerge in the UP they tend to be accepted because of the large body of clear flutes available wwhere perhaps some of these have been naturally produced. See the range from Isturitz: Buisson, D. (1990) Les fltes palolithique d'Isturitz (Pyrnes-Atlantiques). Bulletin de la Socit Prhistorique Franaise. 87 (10-12). 420 - 33.

2. The artificial production of the flute has been rejected to the satisfaction of both skeptics and those (like RGB, myself and others) who would not dismiss evidence for early cognitive abilities out of hand. Unless someone comes along and provides better evidence to the contrary (or produces a few more clear early flutes) then it remains in the "equivocal at best" draw. . Quoting Bob: My argument is that -- conscious or unconscious -- pressures & politics, not science, is at play here.' . Dan: I'm sure that is true for some finds which have been ignored but I can't in all honesty say that is the case here or I would still believe in its artificial nature. . Quoting Bob: Since when does "looking like a flute" NOT qualify as evidence??? -- nor even rate mention nor analysis!!?? That "look" is bonafide evidence, not grounds for dismissing Otte's or my arguments.' Dan: I don't want to tar you with the same brush but to point up the problem with this kind of logic I'd refer you to the Old Earth Creationists (see Cremo et al at the Talk.Origins archive) who hold up all sorts of evidence like Precambrian grooved balls and depressions which sort of look like human foot prints alongside geniune dinosaur foot prints. The logic of the argument from disbelief is flawed. I like the quote from Jiri Svoboda in Shreeve's 'The Neandertal Enigma' who picks upa pierced reindeer toe bone and blows on it. Shreeve asks if it as whistle and Jiri replies: "I don't know if it is a whistle .. I only know that it whistles" (p 285 in my copy). . Quoting Bob: Despite the differing views, Dan, many thanks for writing in on this.' . Dan: And to you for keeping the focus on the flute. It may one day be proved to be artificial still, its just none of the objections yet raised here help move the argument on much from the day it was dig out of the dirt and someone thought "Blimey [or the Slovenian equivalent] this looks like a flute". Sorry - I'm still hoping though!! ============================ Anne wrote: I think there are two problems here. One, and the most obvious, is that we only have one object that looks like a flute and is dated from an era in Europe where there were only Neandertals. This creates certain problems, since there is nothing similar to compare it. to. And it also keeps the nature of the object ambiguous. I'm inclined to think it was a flute, based on its shape and the placement of its holes, which look just too even and round (to me) to hae been chewed by some sharp-toothed carnivore, but as I said before, I've seen credible-sounding arguments for the "other side". Whether or not the Divje Babe object turns out to be a flute or not, I would hope that Turk, Blackwell, even D'Errico would be willing to keep their eyes out for similar objects associated with Neandertals. If flutelike objects turn up in Neandertal caves from time to time, it would be a fair bet to assume that yes, Neandertals tootled on flutes when time permitted. The other problem is the "disbelief" factor. There are still plenty of people in and out of the field who don't believe N's were capable of any symbolic thinking. They were just creatures of some higher form of "instinct", according to this view. One exponent of th is view, as Dan well knows, is Robert Gargett and his "Neandertal burials weren't "really" burials" theory. Fortunately, there are enough evidences of intentional burial associated with Neandertals --- and, as at La Ferrassie, apparently incidences of symbolic behavior --- to suggest that Gargett's idea isn't wholly tenable, although there are certainloy Neandertal remains that aren't burials, and the two should be distinguished. I think the same kind of approach could, and should, be used for the Divje Babe object. If many Neandertal flutes were found, there would always be skeptics, but it would be far more difficult to take the skeptics seriously. -- Anne G =================================== Dan & all:

Here in the "sticks" it's hard to find a lot of sources. Library budget cutbacks, et al. Is there any way you can e-mail, fax or snail mail to me the pics you refer to above? You very cleverly addressed my analogy of the smoking gun -- but you also did what d'Errico did not do: Address the prima facie evidence regarding the bone. I recognize that "evidence" and "probability" is not the same as "proof." So the matter will always remain ambiguous to one degree or another -- and you have made a better case for greater ambiguity than I would have expected. But I still don't accept the "looks-like-a-flute" evidence as merely an "argument from disbelief." To me it is positive prima facie evidence. Further, I looked up Turk's photos and found a cross section of the femur -- and while the "flat" area is there, it is very subtle in its flatness -- the bone is virtually round. I will send a 2nd e-mail after this one with a scan-in of the cross-section, for those who can receive images. And what still remains about this is the huge number of untouched bones in that cave, while this one bone gets so much so-called "random" attention -- AND with such clean (no secondary gnawing marks near and around the holes) punctures. So if flatness somewhat reduces the odds against a line-up, equal diameters and matching a unique musical scale pattern -- this bone's over-bitten attention moves the odds way back up again. (Also, overlooked in your reply on the analogy -- just to waste a paragraph on trivia -- the analogydetective d'Errico had only a PHOTOGRAPH of the ice-pick victims -- not the ACTUAL bodies with holes in them -- thus the explanation that the guy with the smoking gun had just chased off the ice-pick killers is a good try -- but unconvincing.) But, leaving that analogy behind, what is still unconvincing to me is the choice d'Errico made: He had two sets of evidence. The prima facie evidence (looks like a flute, same diameters, in line, et al) and his comparative evidence of naturally formed holes that look like the holes in the N-bone. Even granting your argument about flatness, my opinion (though I'm not an archeologist expert) is that, if one of these two sets of evidence must be dismissed because they are in conflict -- regarding what conclusion to draw -- the MOST probable evidence is the prima facie evidence. It's more logical and true to scientific thought [to me] to dismiss the comparative evidence. Put another way, the comparative evidence is not direct evidence, and has far less measureable probability of being true than does the prima facie evidence -- except for the motivated politic as expressed in Bednarik's letter, and that the direct prima facie evidence is not a cherished "taphonomic" type of evidence. Please add to that point that there is conflicting interpretations regarding the markings of the holes (Turk's & Blackwell's "striations" showing holes consistent with being made with a flake). This taphonomic dispute among competent taphonomicites(?) further weakens d'Errico's comparative evidence. But as said, I am very open to looking at any pics I can get hold of beyond what I have in the d'Errico's article (a copy of which I do have). Are these Albrecht photos the same as those reproduced by d'Errico? As you can see, there is a flatter area. But not so flat as to "force" bitten holes to have to end up on that surface. It should be noted that on known bone flutes, almost invariably, the holes are made on the flatter surface -- This was the point made by Edward Schaefer. Cross-sections of many such bones are in Turk's monograph, and could be scanned and sent. Further, as Otte pointed out, the presumed thumb hole on the opposite side is precisely where flute thumbholes go -to fit the hand. One other very different point should be made: Turk has assigned "approximately one year" as the age of the bear cub femur. Other paleontologists have indicated that the bone's width is also consistent with a 1.5 or 2 year-old juvenile bear, which would be a much longer femur than shown -- and capable of playing the do-re-mi-fa notes relatively in tune without an extension mouthpiece. These opinions are found in the earlier discussion pages on my website, [in the bottom letter] on: http://www.greenwych.ca/fl2debat.htm -- B.F.

================================ Rick wrote to Jack, quoting Jack first: Jack: 'The durn thing is a flute.' Rick ; That is a matter of opinion? An enormous amount of work is being expended upon this intriguing object and I suspect that some sort of resolution will be reached. Whether or not there are striations that seem to indicate drilling can surely be resolved to all party's satisfaction. And an attempt to identify natural processes that could mimic such a thing can be undertaken. A priori wishing it to be a flute or a priori denying Ns any capacity for producing and appreciating music just doesn't cut it. As for an Aurignacian object of similar type being readily declared a flute well maybe yes and maybe no. Would depend upon the care the researcher took in analyzing the data. But if a natural object was erroneously declared to be a flute it really would matter little. It is beyond question that AMHs had a whole range of symbolic behaviours and nothing much would hang upon this object. The N flute is entirely another category of meaningfulness. I agree with Ann that Ns probably had a lot of symbolic behaviours but it is, whether Ann or I like it or not, still a live question. The rise of human symbolic behaviour is a topic of enormous importance and the horizon has to be extended back with painstaking care not simply asserted. ======================================= Jack responds to Rick:

Rick, that's all very well and good but this is a cylindrical bone with four perfect holes drilled (not punched) in perfect alignment and distanced as a whole and half note in a 7 note minor diatonic scale. Do and Re may be missing but the odds of some carnivore's single tooth consecutively punching a perfectly aligned mi-fa-so-la on one aspect of this bone is about the same as my winning the California Lottery 20 times in a row. Reproduce this with a mouthpiece and you can play it. If it looks like a flute and you can play it like a flute, its a flute. -- Jack ========================================= Rick replies to Jack: Well that's the claim. Obviously if the holes are drilled rather than punched it is artificially made. A lot of highly qualified people don't think the evidence is as unambiguous as you do. Why is that? Some will argue rampant Neanderphobia but that's just not on, IMHO. I know of no modern researcher who would cavalierly dismiss evidence of symbolic behaviour in Ns. Might not believe they were capable of it but that's no reason to impugn their intellectual integrity Quoting Jack: 'Do and Re may be missing but the odds of some carnivore's single tooth consecutively punching a perfectly aligned mi-fa-so-la on one aspect of this bone is about the same as my winning the California Lottery 20 times in a row. Reproduce this with a mouthpiece and you can play it. If it looks like a flute and you can play it like a flute, its a flute.' Rick: Given the multitude of bones that have been ravaged through the millenia by hyaenas and other scavengers what's the likelihood that - like the chimps with the typewriters - that at least one won't mimic a flute? If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck....this is not a serviceable method of analysis. By this reasoning a mongoose is a weasel. Thing sure looks like a flute. No argument about that. But is it a flute is a whole other question. If you can prove artificail production then you're off to the races. If you can't then nothing either way can be said. Would Ns use natuarally ocurring 'flutes'? Why not? Did they? Impossible to say? Did they have the mental template in place to want to? That's the question. ======================================== Anne wrote to Rick: Unfortunately, I think you're probably wrong here. I see a lot of intellectual "Neanderphobia" being made respectable by certain interpertations of various recent discoveries, including the "genetic"ones. What it all boils down to, inevitably, is "they looked different, therefore they were different, and the one doesn't necessarily follow the other. To be fair, the "flute" or whatever it is, is likely an ambiguous object which can't be "placed" for the moment, at least until similar objects are found in a Neandertal context. But unfortunately, there are a number of researchers who, regardless of the evidence presented, regard Neandertal abilites for symbolic behavior as essentially nil. -- Anne G ======================================== Ed wrote: I think that I may as well put in my two cents here, and remind people of my own views that the N's were somewhat inferior to ourselves, having apparently diverged from our line about 500kya (at the time of the second Out of Africa episode), and afterwards not evolved cognitively as fully as ourselves. So the question becomes one of how much we are asking of our ancestors of 500kya and their non-MHS descenants that they should be able to make and play flutes? The gut answer that I get is not that much. The foundation of our modern abstracting abilities had to be largely in place even 500kya. So it is possible that musical appreciation goes back at least that far, and with it possibly also the desire and ability to make musical instruments. Of course, without a 500ky old flute in someone's hand, I have no supporting evidence for this conjecture. My overall conclusion is that we should be careful about things in this regard. As Richard notes, we cannot without evidence assume the existance of large scale symbolic thought in our ancestors or in other homonids. However, we cannot totally discount it either. Instead, we need to acknowledge the development of modern cognition as a process, and see where the relevant evidence takes us. EMS ========================================= Dan wrote, quoting Bob first:

. Quoting Bob: Here in the "sticks" it's hard to find a lot of sources. Library budget cutbacks, et al. Is there any way you can e-mail, fax or snail mail to me the pics you refer to above?' . Dan: Good point Bob - I should have picked it up sooner. This weekend I'll scan in the pictures from Albrecht et al as well as the illustrations of the Isturitz flutes and I'll (post them). . Quoting Bob: You very cleverly addressed my analogy of the smoking gun -- but you also did what d'Errico did not do: Address the prima facie evidence regarding the bone.' Dan: To get back to the analogy - an ice pick and a bullet wound may look (for the sake of argument) similar on first inspection but there are telltale signs (powder burns, wound trauma, etc.) that an expert who examines the wounds in detail (after years of studying large reference samples) can pick up on and deduce the [facts]. . Quoting Bob: I recognize that "evidence" and "probability" is not the same as "proof." So the matter will always remain ambiguous to one degree or another -- and you have made a better case for greater ambiguity than I would have expected. But I still don't accept the "looks-like-a-flute" evidence as merely an "argument from disbelief." To me it is positive prima facie evidence.' . Dan: OK - I'll try another analogy (these are quite easy to pick from the 'cranks' theories). The Face on Mars - at a crude resolution this did resemble a face and although the suspicion that it was a natural artefact lingered it wasn't until a more detailed study was done did the true nature of the 'face' become apparent. . D'Errico addresses this in: d'Errico, F. & Vanhaeren, M. (1999) Les mthodes d'analyse de l'art mobilier palolithique. Quelques exemples issus de la rgion cantabrique. Anthropologie et Prhistoire. 110. 31 - 45. where he examines a number of objects found in Palaeolithic sites which have been claimed as being artificial produced. After detailed (including SEM) analysis he rejects both a Mousterian 'whistle' (which are pretty common) as well as a number of Upper Palaeolithic artifacts (Magdelanian and Solutrian) and he concludes (my paraphrase from p. 41) that morphology and size are not sufficient criteria to allow these pieces to included with other symbolic artifacts. The looks like a flute' argument as presented by Otte is an argument by disbelief - it looks so much like a flute I can't believe it isn't. Quoting Bob: Further, I looked up Turk's photos and found a cross section of the femur -- and while the "flat" area is there, it is very subtle in its flatness -- the bone is virtually round. I will send a 2nd e-mail after this one with a scan-in of the cross-section, for those who can receive images.' . Dan: OK I can see it here so I'll have a look at it next.... From my (albeit limited) knowledge of animal bones I wasn't expecting the bone to be very flat but any kind of irregularity will throw of your analysis of probability. . Quoting Bob: And what still remains about this is the huge number of untouched bones in that cave, while this one bone gets so much so-called "random" attention -- AND with such clean (no secondary gnawing marks near and around the holes) punctures. So if flatness somewhat reduces the odds against a line-up, equal diameters and matching a unique musical scale pattern -- this bone's over-bitten attention moves the odds way back up again.' . Dan: I can only say that these things do happen (this is taking into account the fact that less obvious or striking holes haven't just been overlooked). Quoting Bob: (Also, overlooked in your reply on the analogy -- just to waste a paragraph on trivia -- the analogy-detective d'Errico had only a PHOTOGRAPH of the ice-pick victims -- not the ACTUAL

bodies with holes in them -- thus the explanation that the guy with the smoking gun had just chased off the ice-pick killers is a good try -- but unconvincing.)' . Dan: He would have probably still have been able to pick up certain details from relatively detailed photos e.g. an ice pick would have to be withdrawn from the wound perhaps pulling the edges of the clothing outwards (see a lot of archaeologists are frustrated forensics officers and vice versa). . Quoting Bob: But, leaving that analogy behind, what is still unconvincing to me is the choice d'Errico made: 'He had two sets of evidence. The prima facie evidence (looks like a flute, same diameters, in line, et al) and his comparative evidence of naturally formed holes that look like the holes in the N-bone. 'Even granting your argument about flatness, my opinion (though I'm not an archeologist expert) is that, if one of these two sets of evidence must be dismissed because they are in conflict -- regarding what conclusion to draw -- the MOST probable evidence is the prima facie evidence. It's more logical and true to scientific thought [to me] to dismiss the comparative evidence. Put another way, the comparative evidence is not direct evidence, and has far less measurable probability of being true than does the prima facie evidence -- except for the motivated politic as expressed in RGB's letter, and that the direct prima facie evidence is not a cherished "taphonomic" type of evidence.' . Dan: The acceptable form of evidence is the detailed analytical evidence - this is the evidence which would 'stand up in court'. A personal analogy is required. A serial sex offender once escaped from a secure institution only a few miles from me and he bore a striking resemblance to me. Now if I'd been picked up by the police for questioning (thankfully they caught the guy quickly) I would hope that the most believable evidence wouldn't be a resemblance (same height, build, hair colour, etc.) but fingerprint and blood/DNA tests which would have seen me walk free quite quickly. I'm a scientist - the resemblance is only a good starting point for an investigation and shouldn't be seen as the main evidence. . Quoting Bob: Please add to that point that there is conflicting interpretations regarding the markings of the holes (Turk's & Blackwell's "striations" showing holes consistent with being made with a flake). This taphonomic dispute among competent taphonomicites(?) further weakens d'Errico's comparative evidence.' . Dan: And from where I stand there are two lines of attack against the 'not a flute' verdict. Neither of them are the "it looks like a flute" (ILLAF) argument as it cuts no ice with me or the majority of the archaeological community. They are: 1. Reexamining the bone and showing with reference to appropriate naturally and artificially produced objects that the holes are clearly artificial or at worst equivocal (if it turns out to be equivocal then the ILLAF does have some bearing). 2. Your line of attack which is to show that the alignment and spacing are so unlikely that the parsimonious explanation is that they must be man made. I'm sure some statistical guy would jump at the chance to produce some complex model which could take into account the cross-sectional morphology of the bone. If one or both lines of attack were successful it would certainly win people like myself (who are open minded but skeptical of this specific object) around. . Quoting Bob: But as said, I am very open to looking at any pics I can get hold of beyond what I have in the d'Errico's article (a copy of which I do have). Are these Albrecht photos the same as those reproduced by d'Errico?' . Dan: No not as far as I'm aware. Luckily the pictures I'm preparing over the weekend are line drawings and should scan in well even from my photocopies (I should have thought about this when I had the originals).

====================================== .

THE CASE of the MYSTERIOUS "RECLASSIFIED?" FLUTES


. Anne wrote to Dan: I just looked at the "bone" pictures you uploaded. I can't say they are either convincing or unconvincing as far as deciding whether the Divje Babe object is a flute or something that's just been chewed at, but I want to take the opportunity to thank you for attempting to shed whatever light is available on this matter. I also want to take the opportunity to invite anyone who has material of interest to upload it to files or links if they wish. New information is always welcomed, and should be shared if at all possible. Finally, I hope those interested in matters such as the Divje Babe object will take the time to look at the files Dan so kindly shared with us. I hope they will help clarify matters and lead to continuing fruitful discussions. Again thanks for the pictures, Dan! -- Anne G ===================================== Dan wrote to Anne: The point wasn't really that the pictures are going to convince people either one way or the other its just that various elements of the pro-flute arguement (like why would only one bone from the site be chewed numerous times) don't stand up in the face of this kind of sample of natural objects. When I've finished the Isturitz pictures it will be clear where the 'flute' lies i.e. slap bang in the middle of the grey area between naturally occuring pierced objects and artificially produced flutes. This is why the arguement from disbelief doesn't really stand up on its own and also why a detailed analysis like d'Errico's was required. ====================================== Dear Dan: The first picture of several bones you sent immediately was recognizable -- I have these pics here, but they're not named as "Albrechtetal" items, so I didn't realize I had already had them. It should be pointed out these are almost all (or all of them) classified already as flutes and it seems to be agreed (or has been agreed for a long time) that they are not natural objects. Or at least the information and pics I have of them in my library has been calling them flutes for many years, including the big jaw bone flute or "horn" at the bottom. These items were also cited and examined by Turk in his monograph but he used them to show that the Divje Babe bone not only is like these other bona fide flutes of the period, but, as we all know, it looks even more like a flute than any of the flutes depicted in the first group of drawings you posted. Which is why, at first look, Anne visually found even these bones unconvincing as flutes, thinking they were [already established as] natural objects. The group of pics in the 2nd pic you posted are not readily familiar -- they may also be agreed-on as flutes or not. I'll check my stuff to see if I already have any of these along with captions or a text of their history. In a short while, I'll send the text I have about several of the bone pics you sent, describing them, etc. I wonder if the classifications of these bones as flutes is now being questioned? Who or what is Albrechetal? Is this a person's name? Or the name of recent material relating itself to the N-bone? Thanks again very very much for posting these. -- Bob ==========================================

====================================== Bob wrote: Dear list: Here is the text Turk provides for some of the bones' pictures that were posted: The big jawbone, item #7 at the bottom of the posted pics, in the first Albrechtetal image, is described thus, in part: "PotoCka zijalka, Slovenia: The find originates from upper Aurignacian layers 4 or 5, and is not radiocarbon dated. In our opinion it is slightly younger than the Aurignacian layer 2 in Divje babe I. "It is classified as a flute or pipe (S. Brodar & M. Brodar 1983, pp.157 on; Fig. 57; Hahn & Munzel 1995; Omrzel-Terlep , in this volume)." Regarding item #6 in the image post: "Istallosko, Hungary: The find is classified as a flute (Vertes 1955, p.124; Horusitzky 1955, pp. 133 on; Soproni 1985, pp. 33 on). According to size, shape and method of production, at least one of the holes on the diaphysis completely matches the example from Divje babe l.

There is also a good parallel at our site for the hole with the irregular shape (Fig. 9.15 [in Turk]). The find originates from the upper Aurignacian layer. The radiocarbon age of the layer is 30,900 600 and 31.540 f660 BP. (Alsworth-Jones 1986, p.85)." Regarding bone #2 in the image post: "Liegloch, Austria: The tibia of a juvenile cave bear was found, which has 4 holes in a zigzag distribution. The method of production and exact measurements are unknown to us. The centre-centre distance of the distal holes approximate to the centre-centre distance of the holes of the suspected flute from Divje babe I (judging from drawings). The site is dated to the Aurignacian (conditionally?), and the bone with holes is without good stratigraphic data, so that more precise dating is not possible (Mottl 1950, pp. 22 on, Pl. l:10)." These are the only matches to Turk's citations, accepted as flutes, at least prior to the Divje babe find. The other bones are new to me at first glance, or may be pictured somewhere in my piles of home files, but I suspect they are all accepted as flutes or whistles -- at least as artifacts -- because I don't see why would someone mix pic of both artifacts and natural objects in the same collection of bones? There is more information available on item 7 and 6 (measurements, markings, diameters, et al), if anyone wants more detail. -- Bob ================================= To all: Before people continue on discussing the pictures that Dan posted from the Albrecht paper, I urge that my last post, should be carefully reviewed. It's mistaken to keep referring to these bones as "natural" objects. My post below provides information that some, if not all, of these bones are actually flutes, and have been classified as such for decades. As a result, my statement still stands, that there are no bones available that resemble the line-up or "coincidences" that are claimed for the large numbere of flute-like features of the Divje babe bone. Some confusion must have resulted in the translation from the German -- or else Albrecht et al are attempting to now move items that were always considered flutes before into the category of now being natural objects. -- Bob P.s. The part where Turk indicates that holes (from bona fide flutes of the period) are the same in markings as holes in the Didje babe bone is something I missed for years -- showing that a real flute hole is capable of matching holes in the n-bone -- which has to count as further evidence pointing to the possibility of the n-bone being a flute. See the note on item #6 above where Turk notes the similarities. ================================= Ed wrote: I find that intriguing since, with the exception of the Divje Babe object itself, the Albrecht diagrams all show the variations in hole size, placement, and shape that I would expect from natually occurring processes. Only the object with the holes along a zig-zag shows any of the consistency the I would expect from an artifical object, and even then the hole shapes are somewhat inconsistent, and the zig-zag makes it into a very odd and probably uncomfortable flute. On the other hand, the Isturitz objects are definitely flutes or flute fragments. I am comfortable in classifying the Divje Babe object amongst those objects, with it's appearing to be more primitive than the others. The other objects I cannot consider to be flutes. ================================= Dan replied: Bob, I'll admit as you suggest in another post my German isn't the best and so I'll check my interpretation of the paper with those more linguitically blessed than I am (the benefits of having a father who is a retired languages teacher!!). However, I hope I've not misinterpreted the thrust of the article.... The point is (and I'll correct myself later in the week if I'm wrong) that through experimental analysis and a look at natural bones these UP bones, which have just been accepted because they were UP and everyone knows that UP people were capabe of producing such things, are naturally produced. This highlights a fundamental flaw in the reference sample used to assess the authenticity of the Divje Babe object. If these are natural then in fact the resemblance of the 'flute' to them is in fact an argument against it being artificial. I'll get back to you with more details....

=================================== Dear Dan: Even if Albrecht has declassified these items as flutes, and even if he is right, there were several other UP flutes that Turks reproduced that more certainly flutes, and which no one questions -- so even minus these three bones we are now debating, the sample offered by Turk is, in my opinion, only reduced somewhat, but not "fundamentally flawed." I'll try to soon upload the images of that sample to the list's folder, so all can judge for themselves. Under the current circumstances, it might finally simply pay for those of you interested enough to buy a copy of Turk's monograph. It is about $35. There are (at least) two sides to every story as we all know. See also my most recent post [next, below] replying to Edward. -- Bob ====================================== Dear Edward: What is at issue at the moment is that the flutes depicted have been and are classified as flutes, unless Albrecht has in his view de-classified them as such. I believe Turk, from his writing, has examined some of these bones first hand before listing them. Turk listed them as flutes in his N-bone monograph in 1997. I agree that if they are flutes, they are not the most convincing flutes, and is one reason Anne found them of little help in forming any new conclusions one way or the other. However, there are flutes and there are hunting or signaling whistles. Flutes are musical instrumenmts. Whistles can be proto-flutes, but are basically signaling devices, able to warble like a bird, but still communicate to others and do not require either line-ups of holes nor any scale -- even one hole of any size will do. If Albrecht is now claiming them as natural, he did so in 1998 -- only after the Divje babe flute was found -- which I would find some cause to question -- but on that I'll wait to a later date. The drawing that Dan posted -- are they his tracings or direct scans from Albrecht? The drawings published by Turk are far more exact and detailed, and different in fair degrees, including showing marks around the holes. But whichever one might choose to consider, only photographs of the actual objects, in the end, would be worth making conjectures about, for both you and me. I'll try to scan in the Turk versions soon. I'll choose not to make conjectures at this point, until we can resolve what Albrecht et al is actually saying about them -- i.e., whether he claims they are artificial or natural. We'll wait for Dan's dad on that. But for the sake of completeness, here are more details about items #6 and #7 in Dan's image-post, something you and Dan will be better able to read and understand than me: #6: (This is the one Turk mentions parallels the Divje babe flute.) "In the diaphysis of the femur of a juvenile cave bear, which has a cut end, and from which the spongiose has been removed, there are three holes. According to statements by Vertes (1955) on the proximal end of the anterior side of the diaphysis, a hole has been bored with a diameter of 6mm. Thc hole has a pronounccd conical shape. The diameter of a shallow funnel with radially disposed grooves is 17 mm (Vertes 1955 p.124, Pl. 43: 1 a-c). "Judging from the published photographs, the hole has not been bored but hollowed or chiselled. There is also a cone visible on the internal wall. That suggests that the hole was punched. A grooved funnel suggests that the original, pierced hole could have been additionally worked by rodents on the outside (cf. Cavallo et al. 1991, Fig. 17 E). On the same side, there is a distally bored (Vertes's statement) irregular hole with a diameter of 10 - 13 mm. It is clearly visible on the photograph that this hole has been punched or pierced. The centre-centre distance between two holes is 65 mm (assessed on the basis of photographs). "The third hole is lightly oval with a diameter of 7mm and is situated in the centre of the posterior side of the diaphysis. Vertes does not say how it is made. Judging from the photograph, it was punched or pierced. It is interesting that Horusitzky (1955, p.133) gives slightly different measurements for the holes: 5.5, 6 and 11 mm." #7: This is the jaw-bone flute. "The mandible of a sub-adult or adult cave bear, which has three holes, punched or pierced into the nerve cavity on the lingual side of the body, is a unique find. The rims of the holes are of irregular shape

when examined closely, made up of arcs and straighter cuts. The first hole - counting from the foramen mandibulae - has an inwards winding fragment of the surface on the edge, which may have been made during the punching or piercing. We ascertained by experiment that the small parts of the edges of holes can lift during the passage of the point of the hole puncher (tooth) and later crumble or wind inwards. "Alveolarly between the first and second holes is a pronounced triangular hollow which may have been made by a protoconid or paracon carnassial. Below the second hole is a long narrow silex cut. Below the third hole and to the left and right of it are typical wide tooth marks on the body. A very strong cut starts right under the hole and ends below the lower edge of the mandible. There are also similar cuts on the other side, between the first and second holes. The ramus mandibulae is freshly broken. The diameters of the holes are, 5 - 6, 5 and 5 mm. The centre-centre distances are 19 and 24 mm. The centre-centre distance between the first hole and the extended jaw opening is I7 mm." On the zig-zag flute, I sent all that I had on that. [Afternote: It's really hard to believe (whether a flute or other thing) that such an geometrically orderly arrangement of zig-zag holes can be, yet again, "naturally formed" -- against all odds, and without any apparent analysis or explanation of that order] ========================================== Anne wrote to Dan: I'm glad you've made the above point, as it's important to keep in mind. Again, whether the Divje Babe object proves ultimately to be natural or produced artificially, we should remember that not all objects found in a UP context are artificually produced, no matter what early AMH were or were not capable of, nor are all non-stone objects found in an MP or Neandertal context necessarily naturally produced. IOW, we should strive to apply the same standards of judgment to both types. -- Anne G ========================================= Ed wrote, quoting Bob: Quoting Bob: What is at issue at the moment is that the flutes depicted have been and are classified as flutes, unless Albrecht has in his view de-classified them as such....' Ed: Saying that they are classified as flutes does not make them flutes. However, I am certainly willing to consider them as possibly being flutes. Quoting Bob: I agree that if they are flutes, they are not the most convincing flutes, and is one reason Anne found them of little help in forming any new conclusions one way or the other.' Ed: I must admit to being quicker to judge them, and that my amateur opinions are not conclusive at all. However, I do caution you that most of the Albrect objects speak "natural" to me. Quoting Bob: However, there are flutes and there are hunting or signaling whistles. Flutes are musical instrumenmts. Whistles can be proto-flutes, but are basically signaling devices, able to warble like a bird, but still communicate to others and do not require either line-ups of holes nor any scale -- even one hole of any size will do....' Ed: That is possible. However, we all must be careful that we are not seeing something because we want to see it. ========================================== Anne asked: How does one go about getting the Turk monograph? Reply by Bob Try to e-mail: Turk@alpha.zrc-sazu.si for information or for an order form for the book, titled: Mousterian Bone Flute, Ed: Ivan Turk, Znanstvenoraziskovalni Center Sazu, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 1997) ========================================== Dear Dan: I uploaded the page of flutes used by Turk as a sample of UP flutes that are comparable to the Divje babe flute. Three of them match the first set of drawings (Albrecht, et al) of flutes you uploaded earlier. [The three are shown at the lower left corner; upper right corner and just below that one is the jawbone.] You can see the difference as well regarding the greater detail of the drawings in Turk, but what, if any, significance that has to the discussion, I can't say.

Was your dad able to confirm whether or not Albrecht et al have now reclassified these three flutes as natural objects? And if they have re-classified them, was any analysis offered or referenced as to what caused them to reclassify? I'd be most interested to know if the geometrical/symmetrical orderly arrangement of holes on the Jawbone flute and the zig-zag bone were addressed by Albrecht et al, or whether this matter, like the Divje babe bone, has been implied as "coincidence" again? The significance of this is that if these bones are not re-classified, and remain considered as flutes, then there are no naturally-formed bones known that resemble the Divje babe flute in terms of features like several or 4 holes lined up, similar diameters, possible 5th thumb-hole, matching a known scale and so on. The only way that any bones can be claimed to resemble the Divje babe bone regarding these properties would be if these (jaw bone & zig-zag bone) were re-classified as "naturally formed" objects. Hoping to hear from you as soon as convenient for you. -- Bob ====================================== . Debate on hold at this point. While awaiting an answer about whether these flutes have been re-classified, why and by whom, here are some interim thoughts about the significance of this and of the points made above. . What of these bones being "natural"? Ed wrote the bones speak "natural" to him. Two of them shouldn't, though. Not if he's willing to admit the Divje babe bone into the collection of the other flute images that Dan posted. The holes and cuts in the Jaw bone and the zig-zag bone [those would be the zig-zag 4-hole bone (#6), and the jaw-bone (#7), as shown in the posted images] are like the Divje babe bone, they are lined up in what appears to be a design, not random-looking placement. Whether a flute or other artifact, these two don't speak "natural" to me. Consider this: Unearth an old broken lump of clay, and the scratches and cuts on it look clearly like " E D." "Hey, that's my name," says Ed. But he & I will agree, there is no serious reason to believe this couldn't have happened by random chance. The odds aren't that great against it. But what if the scratches look clearly like "E D W A R D"? Well, I'd then begin to stop hearing this clay speak "natural" to me. It COULD be chance (ANYthing "could" be -- even human intelligent existence could be by chance) -- but it's far less likely now. And if among a handful of other lumps of clay, I amazingly find one more, which says "ROBERT" -- I'm supposed to call them "natural," and pass off their literary features as coincidence?? Just because its "E" looks like the "E" formed in the shorter "natural" clay lump of "E D"? If I can paraphrase Ed with a slight change: "We all must be careful that we are failing to see something just because we don't want to see it." I realize that far more exquisite and complex designs exist in nature -- for ex., in flowers. The Sunflower has a spiral design that even draftspeople would envy. But these are genetically-coded -- not random added designs. The jaw bone and the zig-zag bone are like the N-bone in that the odds for random production of such a geometrical, symmetrical, orderly row of holes in each of them are similar in all three bones. The Albrecht ones aren't as convincing as flutes, but they don't look natural either. To me the question is limited to this: Flute or other artifact? Just for the hell of it, let's very roughly, ad hoc, calculate again -- If the bones depicted in the posted images really were "naturally" formed objects after all, then we'd be looking at -- including the Divje babe N-bone -- NOT one, but THREE bones, each of which have similar slim odds [of up to one in 15 million] to have been created by nature's conjuring. For sake of argument -- that from among even 100,000 indisputable naturally-punctured bones from the paleolithic era [and we don't have nearly that many, do we?], that we would have found three such

miracles, would be a matter of chance so infinitesimal that you're looking at something that is a virtual impossibility. Like finding three people with identical sets of fingerprints -- or three snowflakes with identical designs -- after looking at only several thousand cases!!! It may be "possible" semantically, but it has never happened, nor is there any practical probability that it will ever really happen in the entire history of humankind, from now to whenever. The odds are too great to entertain this thought as conclusive or rational, in my opinion. Re-classifying these bones as natural [if that's what Albrecht et al have done] -- or saying, of their holes' design: "such things happen" -- is not analysis!! It's merely assertion and blind denial. [It reminds me of governments, when embarrassed about so many poor people, rather than improve the incomes of the poor, they lower the definition of poverty, so that no one is any longer below the newly "re-classified" poverty line.] It may be "technically possible" mathematically that they are chance bones, but the odds of three such accidental flutes [in a 100,000 sample] can be a number so large that there is no name for it (googillion? godzillion?), about equal to the number of molecules in the entire expanding universe. After all, what is one chance in: 15 million times 15 million times 15 million -- equal to? That's a figure with 18 zeros!!! Even dividing by the 100,000 bones we might (but don't) have containing *indisputable* natural holes, and very few of them have 3 or more holes in them with the same diameters, that's still a figure with 13 zeros!!! [2,250,000,000,000,000 or 1 chance in over two thousand trillion that we'd have found three of them.] Arguments that poo-poo these odds as not being "evidence" or not worth considering or checking out as a major part of the reckoning about these bones; or arguments that claim these odds are "wishful thinking" or "such things happen" or "startling coincidence" -- leave the realm of what is known as scientific logic behind, and enter into the realm of guild-like turf protection -- .i.e., musicologists and math analyists not to be seriously respected as partners. I knew that most people, including archeologists and anthropologists, are numerico-phobes (eyes glaze over when the science of even simple math is invoked) but this seems to me to have become a really serious general problem among archaeologists, as I'm slowly realizing. Has the archeological field has been too cloistered for too long? Are methodological inbreeding problems emerging? Forensics is the only the best evidence when it is undisputed -- or when it is confirmed by evidence from other disciplines. But other disciplines' evidence are never "really" admissible anymore, it seems. Or maybe, is the problem just limited to this particular Neanderthal Flute? Anne wrote a few times that only the finding of more flutes like the Divje babe flute will resolve the dispute on that issue. This is an idea I've meant to address: The population of Neanderthals never was very large; further, most flutes, due to convenience, tend to be made of wood, except under rare circumstances. The chances of finding a wooden Neanderthal flute is nil because wood would have long since decayed. The chances of finding a second rare bone flute, because of the small Neanderthal population, makes further finds a far less than hopeful matter. The one bone found could have been made using bone because it may have been like a more permanent template -- a "ruler" -- designed to preserve the unequal and unique hole spacings that, when copied onto a longer wood flute, would produce satisfactory sounds. [Two such tetracord sets of these 4 unique and not equally-spaced holes can make a full diatonic scale.] New evidence will likely not be forthcoming. Therefore, I feel this bone needs to be resolved among the paleo/anth community on its own terms, if resolvable at all. And if that will happen, what must be first is that archeologists have to overcome their pathologically math-shy numerico-phobia and realize that simple statistics are a scientific tool, not "wishful thinking," as one writer mentioned (Rick?), or a tool of charlatans, or some kind of evil sorcery, and thus eschew the parochialism that makes them insist that *only* taphonomic evidence is the best evidence. In this case, it is math naivety that fails to recognize the actually calculated sheer cosmic size of the "coincidence" they are embracing, which makes embracing it look to me like theological superstition. Dan wrote earlier: "A personal analogy is required. A serial sex offender once escaped from a secure institution only a few miles from me and he bore a striking resemblance to me. Now if I'd been picked up by the police for questioning (thankfully they caught the guy quickly) I would hope that the most believable evidence

wouldn't be a resemblance (same height, build, hair colour, etc.) but fingerprint and blood/DNA tests which would have seen me walk free quite quickly. I'm a scientist - the resemblance is only a good starting point for an investigation and shouldn't be seen as the main evidence." But, au contraire: -- Dan was "thankful," because he knows the most believable evidence IS resemblance. He and I both know in the overwhelming majority of "looks-like-the-crooks" cases, when the other tests are done, the additional tests invariably confirm that the "looks" were right, and were reliable evidence. Dan's case was the unusual one, the kind they make movies about. In real life, when the guy threatens his wife in front of a group, sends death notes to the victim; signs them; and then when the victim is found dead by a bullet from the guy's gun; buried in his basement, and the guy is now spending all her insurance and inheritance money -- there is no cop who says "I have a hunch he was framed!!" Only in Hitchcock movies are such cops still on the payroll. Thus, the greatest probability is on the side of what Dan calls the prima facia "starting point" of evidence. But -- Lacking agreement by the taphonomic experts, Dan is forsaking his own views, and *not* taking his own advice, which would be to use the "starting-point evidence" as the remaining most probable evidence. It's actually treated as a "non"-starter. It is being dismissed by several people as "these things do happen," i.e., "coincidence." God forbid a mathematical view could rival a confused bunch of disagreeing forensic taphono-mystics. [Hey! Be more respectful of math-probability and I'll not poke at taphonomy.] :o} And once the size of the invoked coincidence is really grasped, if that ever happens, they'll finally face up to the "evidence of the odds" ["Chariodds of the Gods"?] that have been calculated against this Nbone being a natural object. And all will come to a rational, logical conclusion (as, naturally, I have always done and always do). :0) The problem is not just the Neanderthal's status controversy, but also the almost blind resistance to statistics as an archeological tool, at least in this case. This may more of an issue in some respects than the interpretation of the bone itself. It's not that they can't understand the math -- it's elementary if one is just willing to look at it. It's using it as a tool that's at issue. And then there's the matter of so many with such strong views who seemingly haven't read anything of the Turk viewppoint and analysis first-hand. Well, I can lead a horse to water, but I can't.....etc. --Bob Fink ....No doubt to be continued