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What if we had 6 fingers on our hands? would we count by twelves instead of tens? would every twelth number have a zero on the end? Or is it just a coincidence that we have ten fingers and 10 is like our "main number". Amirite?

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The real truth? People used to perform math with the basic number of 12 instead of 10. Egyptians first noticed its power when they found that 12 could be divisible by 1, 2, 3, and 4 (Nigerians still use this system). For some reason, however, we only created 10 digits (probably for 10 fingers). The base was converted from 12 to 10. So yes, our number system is based on the number of hands. Even the Mayans wrote in base 20 using ten fingers and ten toes.

Some people do have 12 fingers in total. It's not a mutation, it's a dominant gene that just doesn't show up a lot in humans.

@J_ZAS Some people do have 12 fingers in total. It's not a mutation, it's a dominant gene that just doesn't show up a lot...

Technically speaking, evolutionary theory indicates that all characteristics that humans have developed to this point in time are mutations.

For all we know, humans might not have originally had ten fingers, or at least five on each hand. That could have been a mutation. Mutations are only deemed relative to the species' original form, so any trait possessed by any once-living member of humanity could be considered a mutation.

Sounds like someone has been watching schoolhouse rock.

Anonymous +2Reply
@Sounds like someone has been watching schoolhouse rock.

I love how you made the conversation go from serious to funny.

It's a coincidence.

@shorkian It's a coincidence.

It's completely non-coincidental. The only reason we use decimal IS our fingers. If we'd had 8, we'd count by 8's.

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@1095039

How do people build a language?*

*Not by using their fingers^

Excluding sign language, of course.

I have 17 fingers in total.
DON'T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT!

You do realize that twelve is just two added to a base of ten, right? In order for the number system to have a base of twelve, two new digits would have to form to compensate.

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@1286770

But THAT might not necessarily be true if we had twelve fingers. We would have 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 and two other digits.

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@1286987

More like OFFc. Get it?

some things cant be changed. numbers would be a constant even if humans never existed. don't know if that's on topic, but it's cool

Joe_Larsons avatar Joe_Larson Yeah You Are 0Reply
@Meerkat implying dolphins could invent numbers

no, just implying that humans could be recreated a million times, and every time they would discover that "2"+"2"="4" and so on.

Joe_Larsons avatar Joe_Larson Yeah You Are 0Reply

My Math teacher told me that the Aztecs counted in base 60 by counting the knuckles of each finger on each hand.

Anonymous -1Reply

We haven't always used base ten. It's just that 10 makes the most sense. It's a coincidence.

@Mike_Hawk We haven't always used base ten. It's just that 10 makes the most sense. It's a coincidence.

It doesn't make the most sense, 10 is an awful number. Unlike many others, it can only be divisible by what, 2? 5? That's all. 12 is the best, being able to divide into 2, 3, 4 and 6.
Sure 10 looks good and all, but means nothing. It means the number of which base it is; if the base was 8, 10 would mean 8 and before it would be 7,6,5,4,3,2,1. 12 would have two new digits that would come after 9, and 10 would be 12.

@Decimals are so much easier in base 10.

They're only easier because you've been using them for a whole decade or two. It would be the exact same thing, except 10.3 would be 12 1/4 and nearly everything would be this neat and round.

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