The evolution of mathematics might be seen as an everincreasing series of abstractions, or alternatively an expansion of subject matter. The first abstraction was probably that of numbers. The realization that two apples and two oranges have something in common was a breakthrough in human thought. In addition to recognizing how to count physical objects, prehistoric peoples also recognized how to count abstract quantities, like time â€” days, seasons, years. Arithmetic (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division), naturally followed. Monolithic monuments testify to knowledge of geometry.Further steps need writing or some other system for recording numbers such as tallies or the knotted strings called quipu used by the Inca empire to store numerical data. Numeral systems have been many and diverse.From the beginnings of recorded history, the major disciplines within mathematics arose out of the need to do calculations relating to taxation and commerce, to understand the relationships among numbers, to measure land, and to predict astronomical events. These needs can be roughly related to the broad subdivision of mathematics, into the studies of quantity, structure, space, and change.Mathematics has since been greatly extended, and there has been a fruitful interaction between mathematics and science, to the benefit of both. Mathematical discoveries have been made throughout history and continue to be made today. According to Mikhail B. Sevryuk, in the January 2006 issue of the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, "The number of papers and books included in the Mathematical Reviews database since 1940 (the first year of operation of MR) is now more than 1.9 million, and more than 75 thousand items are added to the database each year. The overwhelming majority of works in this ocean contain new mathematical theorems and their proofs."
