The branch of biology I chose to do my research on is zoology.
This branch caught me attention during the beginning stages of my research seeing as if it’s been around forever we just never noticed at first. Humans have been highly interested about the animal kingdom throughout time. The first written account began with Aristotle in the 4th century. The studies of Saint Albert Magnus during the 13th century were founded on the mant notes Aristotle took on animals. Magnus was a Dominican friar who fulfilled his life by expanding the work of Aristotle.
Until the 1800’s, his writings on zoology were the most descriptive and advanced for that time period. During the 1500s, more universities were founded and people became more interested in studying animals. The German Academy of Sciences opened in 1651 and mainly focused on plant and animal research.
A decade later, The Royal Society of London opened a school just like the German Academy of Sciences. It was soon followed by another institution in Paris, France. This common interest carried into the 1700s, even our President ,Thomas Jefferson, was fascinated with animals. Anton von Leeuewenhook’s improvement on the microscope helped the takeoff of zoology, creating an expansion on the work of Aristotle and Magnus.
The 19th century is considered the golden age of zoology, because at this time cells were discovered the basic building blocks of life. This meant life processes could be observed under a microscope which meant animals were studied more intently under a microscope. This era was also known as the era of Charles Darwin. His work modernized zoology as we know it today.
His theory of evolution in 1859 lead to changes in how members of the animal kingdom are classified and modern taxonomy, which integral parts of zoology. But it didn’t stop there, breakthroughs in DNA research during the 1900s have again revolutionized zoology. Zoology today is a diverse field where specialites range from animal behavior,to physiology and genetics, to simply specializing in only one group of animals. Zoogeography is the branch of zoology that is concerned with the distribution of animals. Zoology has a long history and has come a long way from its primitive origins in which humans observed animals as a method of survival.Humans evolved from animals. Whether homo sapiens is just another species of animal or a qualitative step forward in evolution is a philosophical issue, but given the reality that humans are constantly interacting with animals of all shapes and sizes, developing a deep understanding of animals and animal behavior is certain to be of benefit in improving our lives. Zoologist are also contributing to the body of basic scientific knowledge.
They have also contributed to agriculture in many ways. Knowing the life cycle and reproduction habits of pest, have led to safe storage of food which improves the quality. When fishing, the zoological study of fish has benefited the fishing industry in several ways. A constant growing understanding of the habits and habitats of fish was a major part of the development of the commercial fishing industry in the 19th century, and the research of modern marine biologists and ichthyologists has led to the knowledge of harvest limits and sustainable fisheries and improvements in aquaculture. It has also helped in forensic science. Forensic pathologist can tell how long a body has been in the ground based on the life cycle of the corpse.Entomologists also identify insects found on car radiators to pinpoint the locations through which vehicles have traveled or examine marks on the bodies of victims or suspects to tie them to specific insects and places.
Zoology has made a contribution to the world since day one, it just constantly grows. At the present time there are four fields of zoological science in which research is particularly active. These are the study of heredity (genetics); of the cell both a, the physical basis of heredity and as the seat of the physico-chemical phenomena associated with life itself (cytology and pneraiphysiolOlJ) and the study of intemal secretions or hormones and their effects (endocrinology). These are the main fields of zoology that are actively being worked on. Currently a huge study in zoology today is why are some animals prone to waterborne diseases. For example, how does a hippo not get Cholera? It was figured out that only humans can get Cholera, and because of differing molecules some animals are prone to catching more common diseases. They also were able to say if Hippos did get this disease it would be projected that a huge portion of their population would die off.
Another study is how to improve taxonomy. Taxonomy is the biological discipline that identifies, describes, classifies and names extant and extinct species and other taxa. Nowadays, species taxonomy is confronted with the challenge to fully incorporate new theory, methods and data from disciplines that study the origin, limits and evolution of species.More recent news include filling in important clues about the animals that once roamed this Earth. Using modern technology we were able to find out more about the evolution of a dinosaur, Vadasuarus herzogi ,that used to roam the Earth. Their study shows proof that Vadasaurus, likely an adult when it died, can be traced by its anatomy to a small group of marine species called pleurosaurs, which have long been thought to have terrestrial roots. Pleurosaurs lived during the Jurassic period, 185 to 150 million years ago. The eel-like creatures had reduced limbs that were most likely used for steering rather than propulsion in the water.
Until now, fossils of only three ancient species of pleurosaurs have been discovered. The notes from this study give us more of an idea on this new species found within a well-preserved fossil. Scientists are hoping more cutting edge technology will help them further advance their knowledge based off of fossils.We also are learning more based on surveys using camera traps. Camera trapping of wildlife has been used since the early 20th century, but in the last 20 years or so, camera traps have become readily available and much more affordable. As a result, they are becoming a common tool in conservation and ecology, with uses ranging from simple species inventories, the discovery of new species, through abundance estimation conservation assessments population dynamics and forest ecology.
We already know so much, but there is so much more to still be learned and modern technology is slowing helping us progress.