49.2 MB (4.1 MB compressed)
4200 x 4094 pixels
35.6 x 34.5 cm ⏐ 14.0 x 13.6 in (300dpi)
SCIENCE SOURCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE SOURCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Weights and measures were among the earliest tools invented by man. Early Babylonian and Egyptian records, and the Bible, indicate that length was first measured with the forearm, hand, or finger and that time was measured by the periods of the sun, moon, and other heavenly bodies. When it was necessary to compare the capacities of containers such as gourds or clay or metal vessels, they were filled with plant seeds that were then counted to measure the volumes. With the development of scales as a means for weighing, seeds and stones served as standards. As societies evolved, measurements became more complex. The invention of numbering systems and the science of mathematics made it possible to create whole systems of measurement units suited to trade and commerce, land division, taxation, and scientific research.
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