It is broken at both ends, and has two complete holes and what may be the incomplete remains of one hole on each end, meaning that the bone may have had four or more holes before being damaged.
The bone fragment is the diaphysis of the left femur of a one to two year old cave bear and is 133.6 mm (5.26 in) long.
Ignoring the probability of the alignment of the holes, D'Errico's interpretation was that it was possible for the holes to have been made by an animal, and they concluded that of the available options this was the most likely.
Of those still preserved, the best known is a mandible of a cave bear with three holes in the mandibular canal.
Marcel Otte (director of the Museum of Prehistory, University of Liege, Belgium) pointed out in a April 2000 article in Current Anthropology that there is a possible thumb-hole on the opposite side of the Divje Babe bone, which, making five holes, would perfectly fit a human hand.
Turk wrote in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology book The Origins of Music: "If this probability [of having lined-up holes looking like a flute] were greater (and of course it isn't), it is likely that there would have been more such finds, since ...
carnivores in cave dens were at least as active on bones, if not more so, than people in cave dwellings ...". Diedrich suggested the holes could be explained by scavenging from spotted hyena.
They published photos of several bones with holes in them which had more or less circular holes similar to those found in the artifact, but they did not have a single bone coming even close to the linear alignment of Turk's holes.