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Scientists have discovered evidence of the symbol in the Indian Bakhshali manuscript – a mathematical text discovered in 1881By Shivali Best For Mailonline, 14 September 2017: It has long been one of the world’s greatest mathematical mysteries, but experts believe they have finally cracked the origin of the zero symbol.

Firstly, this dot evolved to have a hollow centre that we see in the zero symbol today.‘But the creation of zero as a number in its own right, which evolved from the placeholder dot symbol found in the Bakhshali manuscript, was one of the greatest breakthroughs in the history of mathematics.We now know that it was as early as the 3rd century that mathematicians in India planted the seed of the idea that would later become so fundamental to the modern world.Carbon dating indicates that the manuscript dates from as early as the 3rd century, making it the world’s oldest recorded origin of the zero symbol that we use today.Researchers from the University of Oxford conducted the first ever radiocarbon dating on the Bakhshali manuscript and revealed that it dates from as early as the 3rd century – five centuries older than previously believed.This means that the manuscript predates a 9th-century inscription of zero on the wall of a temple in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, which was thought to be the oldest example of a zero.

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