What Does Zoology Study?

Jonah Lester

The zoology is a discipline related to biology that studies the life, development and evolution of all the members of the Animalia Kingdom.

In addition to its link with biology, zoology is also tied to physiology, morphology, ecology and other studies on history and the environment.

The intention to study the characteristics of animals has more than two millennia. The first records of it were produced in Ancient Greece, because Aristotle is considered the first zoologist.

This philosopher made works describing the characteristics of the animals he observed, which gave it an empirical character. The scientific characteristics of zoology began to be seen at the beginning of the Modern Age, with the Renaissance.

One of the events that marked the development of zoology was the invention of the microscope by Anton van Leeuwenhoek. This allowed the detailed analysis of the different tissues and organs of the animals over time..

From left to der. Aristotle, Carl von Linné and Charles Darwin.

This made the animal study more thorough and accurate. In addition, with this tool the world of animals was amplified, by being able to observe different species that were not visible to the human eye..

Finally, the consolidation of zoology came through theoretical approaches from different biologist scientists.

By the 1700s, the biologist Carl von Linné was one of the first to classify and study the different species of animals, as well as the different plants..

The understanding of all previously visualized phenomena about animals came with Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution, understanding man as an animal that evolved from other species.

With Darwin, it was understood that all animals today had been the product of evolution and that this process did not stop.

General zoology

It is the type of zoology that studies the most general characteristics of animals, from a superficial and not deep perspective, without making a taxonomic description..

Among its categories is morphology, anatomy, physiology or embryology, among others.


It is one of the categories belonging to general zoology. This aims to study the physical characteristics, with special emphasis on the exterior ones, of the animals.

Likewise, it also focuses on the study of the shape of internal organs and the evolutionary origins that made them acquire those figures..


Physiology, as part of zoology, is the branch that studies the functions of each of the organisms, in the physical and chemical fields.

This branch makes meticulous analyzes and studies of the activities carried out by each part of the body and the purpose for which it carries them out..

In turn, it is divided into two branches: general physiology, which studies the functions of organisms based on the knowledge already acquired, and experimental physiology, which proposes new theories and studies the functions of organs in more detail..


When you talk about the body, you talk about anatomy. This science, which can be understood as part of zoology, studies the composition of the body of animals and their different and related relationships.

Both the shape, generally symmetrical, and the number of organs it contains, as well as the size and connections it supports are functions that people dedicated to anatomy study..


As its name indicates, it is the scientific branch that is responsible for studying the formation and development of embryos in the different animals in which they are produced..

Within this science there are different specialties such as descriptive embryology, focused on the morphological, comparative, which compares the embryo with taxonomic groups and experimental, aimed at experimental embryonic studies.


It is the branch of general zoology that is responsible for studying the behavior of animals in their natural habitat, as well as their role with the environment in which they develop.

Ethology studies everything related to behavior: the reasons that lead to develop such actions, their evolution throughout animal history and the instinct they develop.

Through ethology, it is possible to determine what animals are like in a given environment and what makes them behave in a certain way.

Special zoology

It is the other great category of zoology. It is in charge of very different areas, but not directly related to the composition of the body of animals or their behavior in the environment, but rather to classification and evolutionary study. Some of the areas performed by this type of zoology are the following:


In order to fully understand the animal kingdom, it is essential to know where in the great family each animal is found.

For this reason, the scientists in charge of taxonomy are in charge of locating which family each species belongs to and why it should be located there, as well as belonging in the creation of new and different classifications.


This branch of zoology is mainly directed to the study of animals, extinct or not, that are fossilized.

In this way, the history of a species or of a family as a whole, the causes of its demobilization, evolution or extinction, the characteristics that ceased to be dominant, among other situations, can be studied..

Finally, although all branches of zoology have some small influence of phylogeny, it is in charge of understanding and understanding, as well as studying and investigating everything that is related to the field of evolution among animals..

Phylogeny studies the development of different species over millions of years, as well as the different ramifications that their evolution manifests and the causes that led the species to study different paths..

Studying phylogeny is in turn studying a large part of the history of Planet Earth, understanding it from the biological field and relating it to the animal world that exists today..


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