jb What is Tin?

Tin is a silvery-gray metallic element which has been used by humans for thousands of years. The symbol for tin is Sn, from the Latin stannum, and its atomic number is 50, placing it with other metals such as antimony and aluminum. Almost every continent on Earth has a source of tin, usually in the form of cassiterite, an oxide mineral which contains tin. In addition to the wide range of manufacturing uses for tin, the metal is also nutritionally necessary, albeit in trace amounts.

The word for the metal appears to have been borrowed from a pre-Indo-European language. Old forms of German and Dutch, among other languages, have cognates for the word, but the roots are somewhat unclear. The murky etymology of the word supports research by anthropologists which suggests that humans have been interacting with tin for at least 5,000 years, if not longer.

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