Chapter   1 - Zoology: Its Place in Science


BIOLOGY - The scientific study of life

ZOOLOGY - The scientific study of animal life [fig. 1-1]


Characteristics of Life from Risk Hershberger, the Bioactive Site

  1. Organization-link to M.J. Farabee, the On-Line Biology Book 
    1. Atom - Molecule - Cell - Tissue - Organ - Organism - Population - Community - Ecosystem - Biosphere
    2. cell - basic unit of life
    3. Ecological organization
      1. population: individuals of one species in a particular area
      2. community: associations of populations (100's-1000's) of spp. in same area
      3. ecosystem: community plus non-living environment; major natural communities
      4. biosphere: planet Earth - largest ecosystem
  2. Acquisition of Material and Energy
    1. Metabolism
      1. Photosynthesis 
      2. Cellular Respiration
    2. Homeostasis 
  3. Living Things Respond
    1. Receptors generate response to external and internal stimuli
  4. Living Things Reproduce and Develop
    1. Reproduction - Life generating life by making copy similar to self
    2. Heredity - Factors passed on when an organism reproduces
    3. Genes - contain blueprint (DNA) for an organism's organization and metabolism
    4. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) - molecule unique to living organisms (Fig. 1.2)
      •  contains instructions for assembling new cells and/or organisms utilizing matter plus energy
      •  agent of heredity.
    5. Mutation - a change in DNA that can be inherited
  5. Living Things Have Adaptations
    1. Adaptation
    2. Evolution - Change in characteristics of organisms over time
      Evolution is the unifying concept of biology

Evidence of Evolution

  1. Biogeography (Figure 1.3, 1.4)
  2. Paleontology
    1. Fossils (Figure 1.5, 1.6)
    2. History of the Earth (Table 1.1)
      1. Geologic Time from the USGS
      2. Geologic Time Scale from the UCMP
  3. Comparative Anatomy
    1. homology (Fig.  1.7)
    2. convergent evolution
      1. analogous structures (Fig. 1.8)
    3. vestigial structures
  4. Molecular Biology
  5. Using the evidence of evolution to classify organisms: from Kimball's Biology Pages

Environment and World Resources (Fig. 1.9)

specializations in zoology (Table 1.2)
taxonomic specializations (Table 1.3)




  1. Scientific Method - Approach for gathering information  (Fig. 1.11)
    1. Data - Factual (objective) information collected about the natural world
    2. Hypothesis - tentative explanation, consistent with known facts, testable, simpler than competing hypotheses
    3. Theories - scientifically accepted general principles, well supported by many tests, powerful 
    4. Principle or Law: predictions are unvaryingly uniform
    5. prediction: a statement of what one should observe in nature if one looks (the if-then process)
    6. testing: conducting a scientific experiment
    7. Controlled Experiment
    8. controls

    Elements of Experiment:

    1. Hold all conditions constant except the one being tested (independent or experimental variable, e.g., length of day in a 24 hour period)
    2. Deliberately vary the condition to test  (all other variables are held constant)
    3. Observe the result of any change that occurs in the dependent variable due to varying the experimental variable.   (the dependent variable is the parameter measured to determine the result or change that   results from varying the experimental variable)
    4. Use a control group to compare against tested group
      1. placebo: control in drug experiments to rule out other effects
      2. double-blind: to eliminate any influence of the people doing the experiment.
    5. Differences in results between the control and the experimental group are the result of the independent variable being tested.


Return to:

Intro. Zoology Syllabus

Baskin Home Page

Biology Home Page