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In the TED-Ed video "How big is infinity?" Dennis Wildfogel says (at the 50 second mark) this about "matching being more fundamental than counting":

In fact, we think that some ancient people who spoke languages that didn't have words for numbers greater than three used this sort of magic. For instance, if you let your sheep out of a pen to graze, you cna keep track of how many went out by setting aside a stone for each one, and putting those stones back one by one when the sheep return, so you know if any are missing without really counting.

Is there any evidence that "ancient people who spoke languages that didn't have words for numbers greater than three" used this method to keep track of sheep?

  • Please re-tag and suggest improvements as you see fit. Thanks! – Barry Harrison Apr 19 at 22:42
  • It seems like you keep asking plain history questions here. Why do you think this is such a strange claim? What makes you doubt that this happened? – pipe Apr 20 at 20:13
  • @pipe I guess I may tend to be more interested in history. This is reflected in my questions. However, I don't think this is a "plain history question." Why do you think so? As for your questions: What makes you doubt that this happened? I think: Why do you think this happened? Well, I am learning something ancient people did with sheep in a math video? – Barry Harrison Apr 20 at 20:34
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    I am looking at my questions, and I think <50% relate to history. I would say ~15% are definitely historical in focus. – Barry Harrison Apr 20 at 20:43
  • @BarryHarrison That topic is better discussed in chat. I've left you a message there. – fredsbend Apr 21 at 3:40

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