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Recently-unearthed documents have excited mathematicians worldwide. The records of a merchant who lived in Venice in the 1440s show a decimal point. Historians say this find is significant because it means the decimal point is 150 years older than was previously thought. The merchant was also an astronomer. He made many observations of the heavens. He also wrote horoscopes based on calculations of how the stars and planets aligned. A mathematician noticed the decimal point in one of the merchant's works that was written between 1441 and 1450.

Decimal points are an important part of life today. People might think they have been with us for thousands of years. Some versions of decimals did exist over 1,000 years ago. One form was used in the Islamic world in the 900s. It is likely the merchant travelled to the Middle East and was influenced by mathematical scholars there. Other evidence shows intellectuals used a version in China in the 1200s. The previous earliest known use of the decimal point was in 1593. A German astronomer used a system of decimals in his study of space.

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