Zoology – Concept, interests, branches of study and examples

We explain what zoology is and what its topics of interest are. In addition, the branches of study of this discipline and some examples.

Zoology - bear
Zoology studies the anatomical and morphological descriptions of each species.

What is zoology?

Zoology is the branch, within biology, that is in charge of the study of animals. Some of the aspects that zoology addresses have to do with:

  • The distribution and behavior of animals.
  • The anatomical and morphological descriptions of each species.
  • The relationship between each species and the rest of the living beings that surround it.

The term “zoology” comes from the Greek and translates as “science or animal study”. Aristotle was the first zoologist since he dedicated himself to taxonomy, that is, to the description and cataloging of numerous species.

Later, thanks to the improvements and refinements in the microscope that the Dutchman Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) achieved, progress was made in the study of tissues and species, which until now had never been approached.

What does zoology study?

General zoology addresses the generic and common aspects of different species.

Zoology studies animals from very different angles. Zoologists are engaged, for example, in the realization of morphological descriptions (the outer part) and anatomical (its organs and systems) of each species.

Zoology too is dedicated to studying, describing and understanding the behavior of species within its habitat and its distribution in the different territories of the planet.

Zoologists also address the ecology of the species: the links and relationships that each species maintains with the rest of the organisms that are part of its habitat.

Finally, zoology is in charge of carrying out taxonomic classifications, which address the systematic tabulation of those factors that make it possible to identify each animal species, extinct or not. These classifications are the result of exploration by zoologists, and also include data on the distribution in time and space of each of the identified species.

As a result of all the subtopics that zoology addresses, it is divided into two large groups:

  • General zoology. It addresses the generic and common aspects of the different species.
  • Descriptive zoology. It carries out the taxonomic classifications of each animal, the distribution of each of the species and the specific descriptions of the various groups.

Branches of zoology

Ecology studies the links between animals and their environment.

Within zoology, different branches are identified, which are defined from the studies that it carries out. In general zoology there are the following branches:

  • Morphology. Study the shapes and structures of different organisms and organs, carrying out a description of the parts of the body and their arrangement, as well as the external physical characteristics of each species.
  • Ethology. It is responsible for addressing the behavior of animals in relation to the habitat in which they develop and what are the mechanisms that determine their behavior.
  • Embryology. Addresses the development and formation of the animal embryo.
  • Histology. It is responsible for addressing the structure and composition of tissues.
  • Anatomy. It addresses the size, shape, location, structure, shape, and number of internal and external body parts of each species. Within the branch of anatomy are the following subdivisions:
    • Pathological. Addresses the effects of disease on species.
    • Compared. It is in charge of studying the differences and similarities that are registered between the organs of the human being and the rest of the species.
    • Topographic. Study the relationships that are established between different organs in the same place.
    • Descriptive Makes descriptions of the size, shape, location, and relationships of the different organs that a species has.
  • Physiology. It addresses the physiological functions of each organism, including the chemical and physical processes that occur in each species.
  • Genetics. Study the genetic modifications and inheritances of the species.
  • Ecology. It is responsible for the study of the links between animals and their environment.

Within descriptive zoology the different branches are identified:

  • Zoogeography. It is dedicated to addressing the geographic location of animals.
  • Melacology. It is dedicated to the study of mollusks.
  • Mammalogy. It is dedicated to the study of mammals.
  • Parasitology. It covers the study of live parasites and parasitic relationships.
  • Taxonomy It is dedicated to the classification of the various species by means of comparisons of different types, for example, anatomical or morphological. This branch is the one that includes each animal in a certain species, genus, family, kingdom, and so on.
  • Entomology. Study insects from different angles: taxonomy, morphology, genetics, among others.
  • Palaeozoology. It is dedicated to the study of animal fossils.
  • Ichthyology. It focuses on the study of fish.
  • Phylogeny. It is responsible for the study of the evolution of animals, that is, how they go from simple to complex forms.

Examples of zoology

Reptiles - zoology
Herpetology studies reptiles and amphibians.

There is a huge number of branches within zoology, which are characterized by their specificity. Some examples are the following:

  • Herpetology. Study reptiles and amphibians.
  • Ornithology. Study the birds.
  • Helminthology. Study helminths, that is, parasitic worms.
  • Arachnology. Study spiders.