In order to fully enter into the definition of the zoological term, we will begin by establishing its etymological origin. In this case, we must emphasize that it derives from Greek, more specifically from the sum of the following components:
- The noun "zoo", which can be translated as "animal".
- The word "logos", which means "study".
- The suffix "-ikos", which is equivalent to "relative to".
Zoo is an adjective that is used to name what is linked to zoology , which is the science that is dedicated to studying animals. The term, anyway, is often used as a noun to name the zoo (also known as zoological garden ).
In this sense, a zoo is a space where they breed and care for animals to exhibit them to the public. These enclosures combine leisure with teaching , since they tend to aim to entertain and, at the same time, educate visitors. Also, when they are in private hands, they look for an economic gain for its operation.
There are more than a thousand zoos around the world . The first modern establishment of this type was the Vienna Zoo , opened in the mid- eighteenth century . Until then, there were private collections of animals , usually created by monarchs.
From that time, zoos multiplied, although their characteristics changed over the years. For a long time, the animals were locked in cages . Then, thanks to a greater awareness of the rights of animals and the need to avoid cruelty, zoos began to try to reproduce the natural habitat of each species, as a way to provide greater welfare to the captive specimens.
At this time we can say that among the most important zoos in the world, by animal variety, singularity or extension, are the following:
- Moscow Zoo. It was put into operation already in the second half of the 19th century and is considered one of the oldest in the entire European continent. It has about 21 hectares and has more than 1,000 different species.
- Singapore Zoo. It has a total of 28 hectares and its particularity is that it comes to recreate each and every one of the habitats of the animals it houses. Hence, whoever visits it can see in situ both deserts and jungles passing through steppes. At present it has more than 315 different animal species.
- Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. In Omaha, United States, is located this other zoo that is considered the largest in the planet both for its size, 56 hectares, and because it houses around 960 different species. That without ignoring that another singularity that it has is the most extensive cat area.
To this list should also be added the Beijing Zoo and the Bronx Zoo.
Currently there is a strong movement that demands the closure of all zoos and the return of animals to their natural state for ethical reasons, because it is considered that no species should live deprived of their freedom . There are also groups that, however, still defend these places for their contribution to the protection of endangered species .
What is Zoology?
Zoology is a branch of biology that is dedicated to the study of animals . The word zoology comes from the Greek ζωον (zoon), which means 'animal', and - λογία (-logía), which translates 'study' or 'science'.
The main objective of zoology is the examination of the morphological and anatomical description of the different animal species : their reproduction, development, behavior and distribution.
In zoology there are different branches that are responsible for the various aspects of animals, among which we can mention:
- The zoography , which is dedicated to the description of animals.
- The animal anatomy , which is responsible for observing the organisms of animals.
- Animal physiology , which analyzes the chemical and physical functioning of the organism of animals.
- The zoogeography , which observes the relationships between animals, their environment and their geographical distribution.
- Paleozoology , which studies fossil animals.
Zoologists are the specialists responsible for the biological taxonomy of all animal species, both living and dead. Some zoologists work as museologists, and are responsible for the maintenance and description of zoological collections.
The first zoologist of the history was Aristotle , who, with the creation of the taxonomy, detailed numerous species and elaborated an outline of the animal classification, although many of its conclusions lacked scientific rigor and were rejected during the Renaissance, epoch in which zoological investigations began to adopt a scientific character. Added to this, the discovery of the microscope by Antón van Leeuwenhoek in those years allowed the study of the tissues of animals and beings previously unknown.
Also, the British naturalist Charles Darwin made very important contributions to zoology with the Theory of the evolution of the species , which indicates that each individual of a species develops a quality that allows it to adapt to its habitat, survive and reproduce, and inherit to his descendants that adaptive virtue; on the other hand, poorly adapted individuals do not survive and, therefore, do not leave offspring, causing the extinction of their species.
The term zoology was fixed in the seventeenth century by the naturalist Johann Sperling, who settled him in one of his works Zoology Physica , published in 1661, after his death.
Applied zoology is responsible for the study of animals with economic or practical results. In this sense, animal husbandry is about the breeding and multiplication of animals, as well as the production of their derivatives, such as milk, taking into account the welfare of the animal.
The zoo is a space with adequate infrastructure to maintain, care for and raise different species of animals, and to be visited by the public. It also has a trained staff to provide medical treatments to sick animals and for the conservation of endangered species.