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Joined: January 18, 2003  (email not validated)
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In terms of cattle, it's due to the word's root in chattel/capital, i.e. an uncountable concept. Initially the word applied to any livestock (another uncountable) and referred to the animals in their role as monetary possessions.

I have no answer for the sheep/fish conundrum however.

Ian January 18, 2003, 6:14pm

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