Courses for Kids
Free study material
Offline Centres
Store Icon


share icon
share icon
IVSAT 2024

What is Zoology?

Zoology is the study of animal science. It is a branch of biology that studies the life of animals, its organism structure and its subcellular life unit. Zoologists study functioning and the structure of the animal bodies, how animals are formed and how their characteristics get passed down from one generation to another. Zoologists study how the animals behave and interact with each other and how their living environments are. They also study the behavioural significance of animals.

The application of Zoology

Zoology can be approached as an applied or basic science. Those who study basic zoology are keen to know about animals without considering any application of the information that is gained. Those who study applied zoology are interested in the application of zoology and how the knowledge gained can help in benefiting humans and animals like in the field of medicine.

The history of Zoology

Historically, zoology is being used to classify and analyse animals. Aristotle is the Greek philosopher who gains the credit of devising a system that helps in classifying organisms and recognising their similarities among the many other diverse organisms. He devised the system in the fourth century BCE where he arranged the various groups of animals according to their habitat and their reproduction patterns. Earlier Aristotle had divided things into either animals or plants and then continued with its classification. It was only later that the words like zoology, botany and biology came into existence and segregated the different organisms.

Zoology emerged as a science in the 12th century, and the study mainly centred on studying the anatomy of animals to classify them. Carolus Linnaeus is a Swedish botanist who developed a nomenclature system which is the binomial system of species and genus and is a classification according to a predetermined system.

Charles Darwin synthesised these developments into his theory of evolution through natural selection.

Zoology meaning today, however, is a very diverse subject covering all aspects of the animal kingdom. It has also broadened to include fields like biochemistry and genetics. There are a variety of technical aspects applied to get knowledge about the animal kingdom.

Like for example, a genetic study of the animals can give an insight into their history of evolution. This is one of the major importance of zoology.

Different branches of Zoology

Zoology has many subdivisions that concentrate on some specific animal life divisions. Here are the branches of zoology.

  • Entomology is the study of insects.

  • Herpetology is the study of reptiles and amphibians.

  • Ichthyology is the study of fishes.

  • Invertebrate zoology is the study of these animals that do not have a backbone.

  • Malacology is the study of molluscs.

  • Mammalogy is the study of mammals.

  • Ornithology is the study of birds.

  • Primatology is the study of primates.

  • Ecology studies how animals interact with the environment.

  • Embryology is the study of animal development before birth.

  • Ethology studies the behaviour of animals.

  • Palaeontology is the study of fossils.

  • Socio-biology studies the ecology, behaviour and evolution of the social animals like schooling fish, bees, ants, and humans.

Want to read offline? download full PDF here
Download full PDF
Is this page helpful?

FAQs on Zoology

1. What is animal behaviour?

Animal behaviour is a way in which the animals interact with one another and with the environment. Animal behaviours are shaped by the environment and genes, which is why dogs beg for food and ants leave a trail of chemicals to food.

2. How do animals communicate with each other?

Communication usually occurs between animals of a single species. However, it is also possible that animals communicate with other species. Animals communicate through signals which could be chemical, auditory or signs. They could also communicate through pheromones which are cues that are touch-based.

Why do animals communicate?

Communication lets the animals establish dominance and find mates, coordinate group behavior and defend its territory. It is through communication that animals cater for their younger ones.

4. What is animal imprinting?

Imprinting is a learning form that is specialized and this occurs only for a brief period in young animals

5. What all does the zoology course cover?

Zoology covers animal behaviors, psychology and how animals interact with various other species in the environment. This is the broad zoology definition. The study also focuses on how every animal species is distributed on earth, which also includes the extinct animals. Zoology studies the ecosystem and the animal kingdom and also explores many new research areas.

Competitive Exams after 12th Science