AskDefine | Define zoology

The Collaborative Dictionary

Natural \Nat"u*ral\ (?; 135), a. [OE. naturel, F. naturel, fr. L. naturalis, fr. natura. See Nature.]
Fixed or determined by nature; pertaining to the constitution of a thing; belonging to native character; according to nature; essential; characteristic; innate; not artificial, foreign, assumed, put on, or acquired; as, the natural growth of animals or plants; the natural motion of a gravitating body; natural strength or disposition; the natural heat of the body; natural color. [1913 Webster] With strong natural sense, and rare force of will. --Macaulay. [1913 Webster]
Conformed to the order, laws, or actual facts, of nature; consonant to the methods of nature; according to the stated course of things, or in accordance with the laws which govern events, feelings, etc.; not exceptional or violent; legitimate; normal; regular; as, the natural consequence of crime; a natural death; anger is a natural response to insult. [1913 Webster] What can be more natural than the circumstances in the behavior of those women who had lost their husbands on this fatal day? --Addison. [1913 Webster]
Having to do with existing system to things; dealing with, or derived from, the creation, or the world of matter and mind, as known by man; within the scope of human reason or experience; not supernatural; as, a natural law; natural science; history, theology. [1913 Webster] I call that natural religion which men might know .
Zoology \Zo*ol"o*gy\, n.; pl. Zoologies. [Zoo- + -logy: cf. F. zoologie. See Zodiac.] [1913 Webster]
That part of biology which relates to the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct. [1913 Webster]
A treatise on this science. [1913 Webster]

Word Net

zoology n : the branch of biology that studies animals [syn: zoological science]



From ζῴον + λόγος


  • /zəʊˈɒlədʒi/
  • /z@U"Ql@dZi/
  • \Zo*["o]l"o*gy\


  1. that part of biology which relates to the animal kingdom,including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct.
  2. a treatise on this science.


Zoology (from Greek ζῴον, zoon, "animal" + λόγος, "logos", "knowledge") is the biological discipline which involves the study of animals.


The pronunciation of "zoology" is /zoʊˈɑləʤɪ/; however, an alternative pronunciation is /zuˈɑləʤɪ/. Traditionally (and more properly), the word was pronounced with the first syllable rhyming with "toe", followed by "-ology". Recently, it has become more common to pronounce the first syllable as "zoo". The word zoology originates from the Greek zoion, meaning animal, and logos, meaning study.

Subfields of zoology

The study of animal life is, of course, ancient: but as 'zoology' it is relatively modern, for what we call biology was known as 'natural history' at the start of the nineteenth century. During the lifetime of Charles Darwin, natural history turned from a gentlemanly pursuit to a modern scientific activity. Zoology as we know it was first established in German and British universities. The institution of zoology training in British universities was mainly established by Thomas Henry Huxley. His ideas were centered on the morphology of animals: he was himself the greatest comparative anatomist of the second half of the nineteenth century. His courses were composed of lectures and laboratory practical classes; and his system became widely spread.
There was much left out by Huxley, especially the study of animals in their environment, which had been the main stimulus for both Darwin and Alfred Wallace (who both came up with the idea of natural selection). The fact that neither Darwin nor Wallace ever held a university teaching post may have contributed to this rather startling omission. Gradually Huxley's comparative anatomy was supplemented by other much-needed methods. The field of zoology in the twentieth century mainly comprised these approaches:
  1. Comparative anatomy studies the structure of animals.
  2. The physiology of animals is studied under various fields including anatomy and embryology
  3. The common genetic and developmental mechanisms of animals and plants is studied in molecular biology, molecular genetics and developmental biology
  4. Ethology is the study of animal behavior.
  5. The ecology of animals is covered under behavioral ecology and other fields
  6. Evolutionary biology of both animals and plants is considered in the articles on evolution, population genetics, heredity, variation, Mendelism, reproduction.
  7. Systematics, cladistics, phylogenetics, phylogeography, biogeography and taxonomy classify and group species via common descent and regional associations.
  8. The various taxonomically-oriented disciplines such as mammalogy, herpetology, ornithology identify and classify species, and study the structures and mechanisms specific to those groups. Entomology is the study of insects, by far the largest group of animals.
  9. Palaeontology, including all that may be learnt of ancient environments.

Systems of classification

Morphography includes the systematic exploration and tabulation of the facts involved in the recognition of all the recent and extinct kinds of animals and their distribution in space and time. (1) The museum-makers of old days and their modern representatives the curators and describers of zoological collections, (2) early explorers and modern naturalist travelers and writers on zoo-geography, and (3) collectors of fossils and palaeontologists are the chief varieties of zoological workers coming under this heading. Gradually, since the time of Hunter and Cuvier, anatomical study has associated itself with the more superficial morphography until today no one considers a study of animal form of any value which does not include internal structure, histology and embryology in its scope.
The real dawn of zoology after the legendary period of the Middle Ages is connected with the name of an Englishman, Edward Edward Wotton, born at Oxford in 1492, who practised as a physician in London and died in 1555. He published a treatise De differentiis animalium at Paris in 1552. In many respects Wotton was simply an exponent of Aristotle, whose teaching, - with various fanciful additions, constituted the real basis of zoological knowledge throughout the Middle Ages. It was Wotton's merit that he rejected the legendary and fantastic accretions, and returned to Aristotle and the observation of nature.
The most ready means of noting the progress of zoology during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries is to compare Aristotle's classificatory conceptions of successive.

Notable zoologists

In alphabetical order by surname:

See also


zoology in Afrikaans: Dierkunde
zoology in Arabic: علم الحيوان
zoology in Aragonese: Zoolochía
zoology in Franco-Provençal: Zoologia
zoology in Bengali: প্রাণিবিজ্ঞান
zoology in Bosnian: Zoologija
zoology in Breton: Loenoniezh
zoology in Bulgarian: Зоология
zoology in Catalan: Zoologia
zoology in Czech: Zoologie
zoology in Welsh: Sŵoleg
zoology in Danish: Zoologi
zoology in German: Zoologie
zoology in Estonian: Zooloogia
zoology in Modern Greek (1453-): Ζωολογία
zoology in Spanish: Zoología
zoology in Esperanto: Zoologio
zoology in Basque: Zoologia
zoology in Persian: جانورشناسی
zoology in French: Zoologie
zoology in Western Frisian: Soölogy
zoology in Friulian: Zoologjie
zoology in Irish: Zó-eolaíocht
zoology in Galician: Zooloxía
zoology in Korean: 동물학
zoology in Hindi: प्राणी विज्ञान
zoology in Upper Sorbian: Zoologija
zoology in Croatian: Zoologija
zoology in Ido: Zoologio
zoology in Indonesian: Zoologi
zoology in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Zoologia
zoology in Interlingue: Zoologie
zoology in Ossetian: Зоологи
zoology in Icelandic: Dýrafræði
zoology in Italian: Zoologia
zoology in Hebrew: זואולוגיה
zoology in Javanese: Zoologi
zoology in Kannada: ಪ್ರಾಣಿಶಾಸ್ತ್ರ
zoology in Georgian: ზოოლოგია
zoology in Kurdish: Zoolojî
zoology in Ladino: Zoolojia
zoology in Latin: Zoologia
zoology in Latvian: Zooloģija
zoology in Luxembourgish: Zoologie
zoology in Lithuanian: Zoologija
zoology in Hungarian: Zoológia
zoology in Macedonian: Зоологија
zoology in Malay (macrolanguage): Zoologi
zoology in Dutch: Zoölogie
zoology in Japanese: 動物学
zoology in Norwegian: Zoologi
zoology in Norwegian Nynorsk: Zoologi
zoology in Narom: Zoologie
zoology in Occitan (post 1500): Zoologia
zoology in Low German: Zoologie
zoology in Polish: Zoologia
zoology in Portuguese: Zoologia
zoology in Romanian: Zoologie
zoology in Quechua: Suwuluhiya
zoology in Russian: Зоология
zoology in Scots: Zoology
zoology in Albanian: Zoologjia
zoology in Sicilian: Zuoluggìa
zoology in Simple English: Zoology
zoology in Slovak: Zoológia
zoology in Slovenian: Zoologija
zoology in Serbian: Зоологија
zoology in Serbo-Croatian: Zoologija
zoology in Finnish: Eläintiede
zoology in Swedish: Zoologi
zoology in Tamil: விலங்கியல்
zoology in Tetum: Zoolojia
zoology in Thai: สัตววิทยา
zoology in Vietnamese: Động vật học
zoology in Tajik: Зоология
zoology in Turkish: Zooloji
zoology in Ukrainian: Зоологія
zoology in Urdu: حیوانیات
zoology in Volapük: Nimav
zoology in Yiddish: זאאלאגיע
zoology in Contenese: 動物學
zoology in Chinese: 动物学
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