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# When and where did numbers originate?

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The first practical number system was used by the ancient Sumerian city-states beginning sometime between 3500 B.C. and 2800 B.C. in the Mesopotamian region between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which is now part of present-day Iraq. Their system was based on the number 60 rather than the number 10. This numerical system, which was also adopted by the Babylonian civilization that followed in Mesopotamia around 2000 B.C., was used for administrative and business documentation.

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In a royal decision which had a positive impact on business relations, the Babylonians standardized the system of weights and measures used in their transactions. Still based on the number 60, the Babylonians devised a calendar containing lengths of 30 days, each within 12 months and totaling a 360-day year. They also used the value of 360 to divide a circle into equal parts which has remained the standard measurement of the degrees within a circle in modern mathematics.

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## Related Questions

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In math, zero is part of the set of whole numbers. The whole numbers include all of the natural numbers, or positive counting numbers, plus the number zero. The whole numbers do not include any of the negative numbers.

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Friendly numbers are individual numbers that make up part of what is known as a friendly pair. Friendly numbers always come in sets of two, and they are known for having a positive density.

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Octal is a system of real numbers that was commonly used in older computing systems. The main use of the octal system today is in Unix applications. It's digits range from 0 to 7. The decimal system is the main number system used today. It has nine discrete digits ranging from 0 to 9. The main purpose of octal and the more popular hexadecimal system is because they are easier to convert to and from binary than can be done by the decimal system.