At Natural History: What’s On A Caveman’s iPod Playlist?

Feedloader (Clickability)

What would a neanderthal have on his iPod playlist? Some of you may sassily snap back with names of bands and songs you don't especially care for. But let's be serious for a moment, shall we? Even though early hominids didn't have modern conveniences like touch-sensitive scroll wheels, (they had yet to invent the wheel), they apparently had a musical ear. A report from National Geographic cites a 40,000 year old bone flute as the oldest instrument on record and is perhaps an indication of music being used for communication and social networking. Nifty, yes? So to answer the opening question, I'd venture a guess that early European flute aficionados might have liked Jethro Tull.

Now to reveal what all this prehistoric flautist talk is building up to!

Well, it took a few years and a few million dollars to evolve, but the Natural History Museum this week unveils for the today's Homo sapiens a higher form of museum experience: the Hall of Human Origins!

This new, permanent exhibition begs you to ponder what it means to be human through an array of early artifacts that document the development of behaviors—like art, burial rites, and the use of tools—as well as changes in physical characteristics. There's also a fun interactive station where you can literally morph yourself into an early hominid. Life before Aqua Net was primitive indeed.

That said, Around the Mall has been tracking the creation of this new show, so take a quick look at what went into the making of this mammoth show.

The Hall of Human Origins would not have come together without a team of skilled artisans, some of whom built caves and recreated early man's artworks while others undertook the task of sculpting what our predecessors actually looked like.

Not able to make it out to the National Mall anytime soon? Check out the Hall of Human origins website, which features a host of online features and resources. Oh and yes, there is a flute.

Get the latest on what's happening At the Smithsonian in your inbox.