The Science of Biology.
Biology is the study of all living things that inhabit the universe. About a million different types (or species) of plants and animals have been recognized on our planet. They are classified in an almost infinite variety of sizes and shapes, from the smallest microorganisms to the most complex forms. There are many other still undiscovered and undescribed organisms, especially in the virtually unexplored seas, which cover about 70 per cent of the earth’s surface. New species are continually evolving from existing organisms, while others are becoming extinct. Still others remain relatively stable, undergoing little change during long periods of time.
The field of biology is almost indescribably large. The abundance of living forms is further complicated by the fact that each species, from the relatively simple to the most intricate, is really a highly complex structural and functional entity. Consequently, the science of biology is divided into several disciplines. These, on the other hand, are subdivided into still more highly specialized areas of study. There is, for example, zoology, which deals with the study of animals, while botany deals with the study of plants. Each of these, in addition, is subdivided into more specific disciplines. Thus under zoology we have ornithology (the study of birds), mammalogy (the study of mammals) and others.
As examples of other disciplines there is physiology, which studies the function of living things, and morphology, which studies their form and structure. But physiology can be further subdivided, for instance, into endocrinology (studying the functioning of the glands that secrete hormones) and neurophysiology.
The history of biology in general reflects the history of science. It symbolizes men’s progress in their search for truth, and it signifies the tremendous victory of rational thought and careful research and observation of the world around us.
From the piece of reading, say:
1. What does Biology study?
2. How many species of animals and plants have been recognized on our planet?
3. How are they classified?
4. Where are other still undiscovered and undescribed organisms?
5. Is biology a field almost indescribable?
6. Why is the abundance of living forms complicated?
7. Is the science of biology subdivided into different disciplines? Can you mention them?
8. Does the history of biology reflect the history of science?
What does Biology symbolize?