scientific study of animals

Zoology is the branch of biology that studies the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct, and how they interact with their ecosystems. The term is derived from Ancient Greek ζῷον, zōion, i.e. "animal" and λόγος, logos, i.e. "knowledge, study".


  • ZOOLOGY, n. The science and history of the animal kingdom, including its king, the House Fly (Musca maledicta). The father of Zoology was Aristotle, as is universally conceded, but the name of its mother has not come down to us. Two of the science's most illustrious expounders were Buffon and Oliver Goldsmith, from both of whom we learn (L'Histoire generale des animaux and A History of Animated Nature) that the domestic cow sheds its horn every two years.
  • Even village women and children know that the unicorn is a lucky sign. But this animal does not figure among the barnyard animals, it is not always easy to come across, it does not lend itself to zoological classification.
  • Another immense service rendered by Dalton, as a corollary of the new atomic doctrine, was the creation of a system of symbolic notation, which not only made the nature of chemical compounds and processes easily intelligible and easy of recollection, but, by its very form, suggested new lines of inquiry. The atomic notation was as serviceable to chemistry as the binomial nomenclature and the classificatory schematism of Linnæus were to zoölogy and botany.
  • These people call what they do "cryptozoology" — "-zoology" meaning "the study of animals", and "crypto-" meaning "shit we made up".
  • So far as happiness is concerned it matters very little what one wants; the main thing is that one should get it. Besides, zoology makes it clear that a sum of reduced individuals may very well form a totality of genius.
  • Logic, I should maintain, must no more admit a unicorn than zoology can; for logic is concerned with the real world just as truly as zoology, though with its more abstract and general features.
    • Bertrand Russell, Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy (1919), Ch. 16: Descriptions.
  • It is not clear that people have fully taken on board the idea that humans are animals. If they had, then perhaps academic disciplines such as sociology and anthropology would be viewed as specialist branches of zoology; medical doctors would be viewed as a subtype of veterinarians (one that specializes in tending to the health needs of just one species); human rights would be viewed as a subset of animal rights; and the socialization of children would be viewed as one example of the training or domestication of animals (making parents and teachers a subtype of animal trainers).
    • Steve Stewart-Williams, Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life: How Evolutionary Theory Undermines Everything You Think You Know (2010), p. 155.
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