I just stumbled on this little bit of history and was so fascinated that I wanted to share:
"Excel behaves as if the date 1900-Feb-29 existed. It did not. The year 1900 was not a leap year (the year 2000 is a leap year). In Excel, the day after 1900-Feb-28 is 1900-Feb-29. In reality, the day after 1900-Feb-29 was 1900-Mar-1 . This is not a "bug". Indeed, it is by design. Excel works this way because it was truly a bug in Lotus 123. When Excel was introduced, 123 has nearly the entire market for spreadsheet software. Microsoft decided to continue Lotus' bug, in order to fully compatible. Users who switched from 123 to Excel would not have to make any changes to their data."