“Biology is defined as the study of living organisms, their origin, anatomy, morphology, physiology, behavior and distribution.”
What is Biology
From the frozen Arctic to the sinking Sahara – life is booming in every corner of the world. And with over 8.7 million species documented so far, Earth is the only planet in the universe where life exists.
Advances in technology have opened up even more insights about life and its components. For example, discoveries such as viruses have scrutinized traditional definitions and prompted scientists to look at life from a new perspective.
Branches of Biology
Biology caters to these intriguing aspects through various sub-disciplines or branches. Some branches are connected with other disciplines of science.
For example, theoretical biology is a branch of biology that includes mathematical models to investigate some of the theories that influence life.
Quantum biology deals with biological processes that are quantum mechanical in nature – such as the conversion of energy into more useful forms. Other branches of biology are as follows:
Divisions of Biology
History of Biology
Origin of the word “biology”
Before the term biology was adapted, other terms existed that described the study of plants and animals. For example, the term natural history was used to explain animals, plants, fungi, and other life forms in their natural environments.
Furthermore, it was observational rather than an experimental field of study. Therefore, a person who will study natural history is called a natural historian or naturalist. Other terms that came before biology included natural theology and natural philosophy.
The term “biology”, in the modern sense, was introduced in 1766 through the works of Michael Christoph Hanau. However, it was introduced four times independently through the works of Thomas Beddows (1799), Karl Friedrich Burdach (1800), Gottfried. Reinhold Trevirens (1802) and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1802).
Origin as a field of study
For the earliest humans, knowledge about plants and animals meant the difference between life or death. As a result, cumulative knowledge about species, behavior and anatomy was passed on for many generations.
However, the most important developments in biological knowledge occurred when humans transitioned from hunters and forests to farmers, cultivated crops, and improved agriculture.
Traditions of medicine, collective wisdom from physicians, the works of prominent historical figures such as Aristotle eventually joined the field of study we know today as biology.
The most important revolutions in biology occurred during the 19th century, with many discoveries and technological innovations.