A kind of binary arithmetic was in use 300 years earlier than previously thought on the small Pacific island of Mangareva in French Polynesia, according to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The binary system, which nearly all digital computation is based on today, is said to have been invented by Gottfried Leibniz, a German mathematician, in the early 18th century. The study, which examined historical records of Mangarevan culture and language, suggests that the advantages of a binary system might arise spontaneously even in a society that doesn't have advanced technology and science.

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