Zero is much older than we thought

The number zero is something we all take for granted, yet its conceptual origin has eluded archaeologists and historians. An updated analysis of an ancient Indian manuscript is shedding new light on this longstanding mystery, showing that the symbol that would eventually evolve into the number zero emerged at least 500 years earlier than previously thought.

Carbon dating of the Bakhshali manuscript, a sole surviving copy of a mathematical text, has pushed back the time of origin to between 224 to 383 AD, rather than the 9th and 12th centuries as previous research had suggested. The Bakhshali manuscript is littered with a symbol for zero, as conveyed by a solid black dot, making it the oldest known example of the symbol that would later evolve into a number in its own right.

Read more here at Gizmodo


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