In 1995, a man exploring the Divje Babe cave in northwestern Slovenia came upon a tiny—but monumental—find: a portion of a juvenile cave bear's femur, pierced with what appeared to be handmade holes. Though broken on both ends, the bone also shows the remnants of two other holes, accounting for at least four holes, in total, on the original bone structure. Archeologists examined the bone, wondering whether the holes were indeed handmade, and if so, what they might have been used for. Some archeologists came to a surprising hypothesis: the bone had been used by Neanderthals as an instrument—evidence of music in culture more than 40,000 years ago.
Whether or not the bone fragment was actually used as a prehistoric instrument is the subject of debate, but musicologists have shown that the wind through the holes creates a musical scale, and the odds that naturally created, randomly spaced holes (as opposed to holes deliberately placed by humans) would create the same effect are one in several million.