How Did Numbers Come To Existence?

By Cayden O'Neal

What Are Numbers?

The number 1, when your hear it or read it you think of the quantity of 1 but, You don't think about the fact that it is a quantity because it is so ingrained in our head that we just think 1 and know what it means but, just imagine a time before numbers, before technology, and almost before the human race. At that time there was no such thing as a number. People had no way of representing a quantity. Human minds back then couldn't even comprehend the idea of an amount! Now You're probably wondering what i'm trying to get at. Well, If there was no such thing as a number then, how could someone come up with numbers, how were they discovered, and when they were discovered, how did the idea spread to make it such a big part of who we are today? These are the questions I hope to answer in this presentation.

How Counting Started

The Earliest Evidence of counting was two bones with tally marks on them. One, is a 35,000 year old baboon's thigh bone in Africa. The other is a 33,000 year old wolf bone from Czechoslovakia. The wolf bone had 55 tally marks on it and was found at an ancient human campsite. This is the first evidence we have of counting.

The Creation Of The Basic Numbers We Use Today

After a while almost every human knew the concept of tally marks But, they had no system of numerals. So, if anyone wanted to count a large number of things then they would have to put that many tally marks! Then the Romans invented the Roman numerals that we all know but, eventually people decided that they needed a better system. So, an Indian Astronomer named Aryabhatta created the basic numerals around 771 AD. Some people believe numbers were created in Arabia because they are known as Arabic but that is not the case. Sometime after numbers were created a group of Arabian merchants took some Indian Scholars to Iraq to teach them the new numbers. Then some Arab merchants spread the numbers to Europe and numbers eventually spread everywhere.

How Did equations come to be? (adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing)

There is not much information on how equations started but, that is because we believe after a short time with numbers people just started to realize the capabilities and eventually realized you could add and subtract. It most likely took a little longer for them to come up with multiplying and dividing just because it is a little harder to comprehend. Myself, and several websites believe this just happened over time because people couldn't waist 2 hours spreading out berries and dividing them manually so they decided to take the total and divide by the amount of people!

How Math Has Changed

So math started with tallies, then we developed numbers, and eventually math became more than just counting. Now math has a ton of different branches such as algebra, geometry and many more. The following video is a fun activity that just shows how we have evolved math in a sense of being able to comprehend it.
I Will Guess Your Name!

A Quick Summary and Review

First, a long time ago Humans started putting tally marks on various objects such as bones. Then, the Romans invented numerals to make counting more efficient. That wasn't efficient enough so an astronomer from India invented 1,2, 3, 4, and so on. After a while that concept spread throughout the whole world. Eventually people got sick of counting everything and wasting a TON of time so humans came up with adding (12+3=15), subtracting (12-3=9), Multiplying (4*3=12), and dividing (12/3=4). And of course humans kept advancing and coming up with algebra, geometry, and more.

Something To Think About

What is math? I mean physics is the study of matter and it's movement through space and time, Geography is the study of is the study of Earth's lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena. What is the study of math? If it is the study of quantity then this leads to the question of the existence of math in the first place! Was math created or discovered? Is math just a theory in our brains that we use to further science and technology or is it something that existed before humans and we discovered it? That is for you to think about,


Thank you for watching/reading this presentation and I hope you learned something!