From the far beginning, before counting, man only had a rudimentary “number sense”. This “number sense” allowed man to see and perceive small numbers. This could have been used for seeing if they were outnumbered while hunting with wild animals or if there were enough weapons for warriors. “Number sense” is extremely limited. In today’s society, a number sense above four is rare and for any higher numbers we use counting, whether consciously or unconsciously. This can be easily seen by the way we count; to speed up on counting, some people count by twos or threes. If someone were to want to count by a high number like eight, he would unconsciously break it up into four groups of 2s or two groups of 4s. This is because the number sense of humans can immediately perceive small numbers and our perception gets fuzzier as we move onto higher numbers like 5, 6 or 7.
““Number sense” was found in studies in babies, birds, rats, lions, and chimpanzees” (Sousa). For instance, a bird will not usually mind if you take an egg from a nest of four but if you take two, the bird would abandon the nest.
Of course, our mathematics would not have progressed very far if we didn’t use numbers higher than four, this is why counting was made. To have an effective counting system, the first few number words had to be memorized in their orde...
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Dantzig, Tobias. Number: The Language of Science, The Masterpiece Science Edition. New York:
Highlights in the History of Algebra. University of Louisiana. 1 Mar. 2010
"Indian Numerals." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 01 Mar. 2010.
Sousa, David A. How the Brain learns Mathematics. Thousand Oaks:
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"tally." Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 01 Mar. 2010.
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