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Common interpretations are that the Ishango bone shows either the earliest known demonstration of sequences of prime numbers In the book How Mathematics Happened: The First 50,000 Years, Peter Rudman argues that the development of the concept of prime numbers could only have come about after the concept of division, which he dates to after 10,000 BC, with prime numbers probably not being understood until about 500 BC.

He also writes that "no attempt has been made to explain why a tally of something should exhibit multiples of two, prime numbers between 10 and 20, and some numbers that are almost multiples of 10." The Ishango bone, according to scholar Alexander Marshack, may have influenced the later development of mathematics in Egypt as, like some entries on the Ishango bone, Egyptian arithmetic also made use of multiplication by 2; this, however, is disputed.

Babylonian advances in mathematics were facilitated by the fact that 60 has many divisors. They are particularly known for pioneering mathematical astronomy.

Also, unlike the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, the Babylonians had a true place-value system, where digits written in the left column represented larger values, much as in the decimal system. In the Hellenistic world, Babylonian astronomy and mathematics exerted a great influence on the mathematicians of Alexandria, in Ptolemaic Egypt and Roman Egypt.

The earliest traces of the Babylonian numerals also date back to this period.

The Babylonian tablet YBC 7289 gives an approximation to √2 accurate to five decimal places.

1850 BC), the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus (Egyptian mathematics ca.

1650 BC), and the Shulba Sutras (Indian mathematics ca. All of these texts concern the so-called Pythagorean theorem, one of the most ancient mathematical developments after basic arithmetic and geometry.

Some clay tablets contain mathematical lists and tables, others contain problems and worked solutions.

The majority of recovered clay tablets date from 1800 to 1600 BC, and cover topics which include fractions, algebra, quadratic and cubic equations, and the calculation of Pythagorean triples (see Plimpton 322).

From this point, Babylonian mathematics merged with Greek and Egyptian mathematics to give rise to Hellenistic mathematics.