It is the science that studies the animal world, one of the great components of the set of living beings. Zoology can be described as a series of efforts to analyze and classify animals. Classification attempts are known as early as 400 BC, through the works of Hippocrates. However, it was Aristotle, who in his work “Natural History” carried out the first rationalization of the animal kingdom, addressing issues such as sexuality, growth and adaptation.

what is zoology

The term Zoology comes from the Greek, zoon meaning “animal” and logos “study”. It is understood that Zoology is a science that is dedicated to the study of animals. Professionals called zoologists are responsible for the biological taxonomy of all animal species (both extinct and existing). The definition of Zoology indicates that the origin of this term comes from the Greek “zoon” which means “living animal” and “logos” which means “study of”.

On the other hand, the concept of Zoology also indicates that its main objectives are the analysis of the anatomical and morphological description of the different animal species: their development, their reproduction, distribution and behavior.

The definition of Zoology also outlines that it takes care of all the common and generic traits that animals have before continuing with a taxonomic description. For its part, taxonomy encompasses the tabulation and systematic exploration of events related to the recognition of all extinct and extant species of animals and their distribution in time and space.

The importance of Zoology in the world

What Zoology is is of vital importance worldwide, since through it you can thoroughly study the way of life, functioning, reproduction, behavior, embryology and taxonomic classification of animals.

In this way, the main field studied by Zoology is the anatomical and morphological description of all the different types of animal species that exist. In general, what Zoology means is of great importance because it helps human beings to understand and deeply study everything related to animals, which are as important in the world as humans and for this reason deserve all the attention of the world. men.

Branches of Zoology


In the concept of Zoology there are several branches that are responsible for the different physiognomies of animals, among the branches of Zoology are:

Malacology (the study of mollusks)

Malacology is the branch of Zoology that is responsible for the analysis of molluscs, in the same way, there is a part of malacology called “conchology”, which is responsible for the analysis of molluscs with shells. Malacology research areas involve taxonomy, paleontology, ecology, and evolution.

The knowledge of this branch is used in the medical, agricultural and veterinary application. Malacology helps the study and knowledge of biodiversity, through a list of mollusk specimens and their analysis.

The observation of molluscs can be used in environmental impact investigations, since they could be used as bioindicators of the chemical, physical and biological conditions of the environment, and therefore allow the discovery of factors deflecting their balance.

Entomology (the study of insects)

Entomological zoology is said to be the scientific analysis of insects. It is estimated that around the 1.3 million species studied, insects make up more than a quarter of all known living beings and, likewise, they have an extensive fossil history, since their birth dates back to the geological period of the Paleozoic era, approximately 400 years ago.

They have different ways of interacting with man and with other lifestyles on the planet; It is in this way that entomology is integrated as a specialty of great importance within Zoology.

Entomology frequently includes the analysis of other arthropods, such as crustaceans, arachnids, and myriapods, even though this extension is technically flawed.

Ichthyology (fish)

Ichthyology is an extension of Zoology that is intended for the study of fish. This includes chondrichthyans (cartilaginous fish, such as guinea pig and shark), osteichthyans (bony fish) and agnathians (jawless fish). It is estimated that there are approximately 32,709 detailed species, however, each year 250 new species are officially described.

The complexity in the distribution lies in the wide variety that they have achieved during the development process and the feasibility of human beings in the aquatic environment. In addition to this, ichthyology deals with the behavior and biology of fish.

Herpetology (amphibians and reptiles)

Herpetology is the branch of Zoology that is responsible for studying amphibians such as toads, frogs, Cecilias, salamanders and reptiles such as alligators, crocodiles, turtles, snakes, lizards and amphisbaenas. It should be noted that the analysis of amphibians is very useful when knowing the state of the environment, since they are quite sensitive to changes in ecosystems, especially pollution, in a certain part their main development originates in aquatic environments, usually short-term or extensive.

Ornithology (Birds)


Ornithology is the science of biology that deals with the study of birds, analyzing everything about them: their habits, how they are classified, their structure, their song and flight. The land is inhabited by more than ten thousand species of birds. Due to the great diversity, beauty and colors that exist in birds, there is a large number of people who practice ornithology, and it is they who promote the protection and conservation of the environment in which birds live.

The word ornithology is an expression of Greek origin “ornithos” which means “birds” and “logos” which means “science”. Evolution or development is a fundamental point in this study, where bird species that failed to survive climatic changes, commonly known as fossils, are included.

Mammalogy (mammals)

Mammogy or mastozoology, also known as theriology, is the discipline dedicated to investigating and analyzing mammals. On the planet there are approximately 4,200 species of animals that are considered mammals. The main sciences that make up mammalogy belong to taxonomy, natural history, physiology, anatomy and ethology. At the same time, within mammalogy there are sub-sciences such as chiropterology, cetology and primatology.

Carcinology (crustaceans)

Carcinology is a branch of zoology that studies crustaceans. People dedicated to the study of carcinology are called carcinologists. Crustaceans play a fundamental role in both ecology and economy, which is why they are among the most analyzed invertebrates.

Paleontology or study of fossils

Paleontology is the science that deals with the study of fossils, which is part of natural studies and which shares various methods with geology and biology. Among the main objectives of his research is the origin and evolution of living beings, the reconstruction of living beings already extinct, the relationship they had between them and the environment, such as the development of the extinction and fossilization of remains.

Although paleontology is especially responsible for investigating fossils, it should also be taken into account that one of the most relevant branches studied by Zoology is taphonomy, which is dedicated to the study and analysis of the processes through which these fossils are formed. Likewise, he investigates diagenesis, which is related to decomposition and sedimentation.


It is a pseudoscience that studies all those animals that have an unknown existence, that is, hidden species. This branch was born in 1983 by the expert John Wall, who established that, in cryptozoology, the strangest species in the world are discussed and studied, as well as those that have become extinct over the years, an example of these animals are the dinosaurs or the dodos.

It is known that both species could have existed, but there is no reliable evidence that can determine the veracity of the reports and documentaries about them.

The same goes for the mythical bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, and even the chupacabra. Yes, there are too many stories about these creatures, but it is not known if they really existed, so that is what this branch of zoology is for. Currently, cryptozoology is not fully accepted in the world of science, which is why many refer to it as a pseudoscience, something that studies mythological or really unlikely aspects.

If there is something that should be mentioned in this aspect, it is that this pseudoscience is very important in rural areas, since it implies a boom in the economy for tourist and cultural reasons. If there are legends or myths about unknown creatures in a certain area, tourists will want to go there, perhaps out of curiosity or to learn more about the culture of that region.


It is a science whose objective is to analyze all those microscopic organisms that live in an aquatic ecosystem. These practices began to be carried out right at the end of the 17th century, all thanks to Anton Van Leeuwenhook, a French scientist who managed to observe protozoan organisms with the help of a homemade microscope (made with polished glass). The reproduction of these organisms depends on the species, since some can reproduce sexually or simply be hermaphrodites.

This science managed to determine that protozoa have a life cycle identical to that of any other species in existence, since they have a first phase (where they are known as trophozoites) but then they mature and begin to change until they become cysts.

There is a phase for these organisms that is very delicate and complicated to understand, this is the trophozoite phase, where many nutrients are needed so that they can grow and subsequently reproduce. This science is very broad and even today analyzes are still being carried out to find more interesting aspects of these curious microorganisms.

study zoology

The degree in zoological veterinary medicine is obtained through residency courses, not degree courses. People interested in working with exotic animals start a resistance plan in Veterinary Zoology after obtaining a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

All aspiring veterinarians must complete doctoral studies in veterinary medicine and obtain a license. There are no institutes that offer postgraduate DVM (Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine) specializing exclusively in Zoology medicine.

Rather, applicants who want to care for exotic animals will need to complete a regular DVM program and then enroll in a Veterinary Zoology medicine residency at a certified institute. Usual degree areas include: the management of animals in captivity, the clinical treatment of wild animals both in zoo settings and in their natural habitats, as well as the study of wildlife preservation.

Frequently Asked Questions about Zoology

What does zoology study?

Study and analyze the animal kingdom.

What are the branches of zoology?

Paleontology, carcinology, mammalogy, ornithology, herpetology, ichthyology, entomology and malacology.

Who is considered the father of zoology?

The father of zoology is Aristotle.

What is zoology for?

To be able to understand how the animal kingdom works, to know all the characteristics of its environment, its ecosystem, how animals develop and reproduce.

What other sciences is zoology related to?

Within all the sciences that are related to zoology, there are cytology, animal anatomy, bacteriology, embryology, entomology, etc.