We explain what biology is and what its history is. In addition, the importance, auxiliary sciences and branches of biology.
What is biology?
Biology (whose name comes from the Greek: bios , “life” and lodge , “science, knowledge”) is one of the Natural Sciences , and its object of study includes the different forms and dynamics of life : its origin, the evolution, and the processes of living beings: nutrition , growth, reproduction and their various possible mechanisms of existence.
Thus, biology proposes the empirical study and adhered to the scientific method of the fundamentals of life , wanting to find the rules that regulate it and the processes that determine its dynamics. That is why biologists are dedicated to studying the similarities and differences between species , and ordering them in various classification “realms”, which are:
- Animal Kingdom . Those heterotrophic beings and endowed with movement , which obtain energy through breathing .
- Plant kingdom . Those autotrophic and immobile beings, which obtain their energy generally from the use of sunlight (photosynthesis) or other chemical sources (chemosynthesis).
- Kingdom of fungi . Intermediate step between animals and vegetables, they are heterotrophic and immobile beings, which take advantage of the organic matter available to feed.
- Protist kingdom . The set of microscopic beings from which the three previous kingdoms come, with which it shares cellular characteristics (eukaryogenesis, that is, cells with nucleus ).
- United bacterial . They form the simplest group of unicellular life forms, next to the archaea, being prokaryotic organisms (cells without nucleus). They are the most abundant way of life on the planet.
- Kingdom of the archaea . With an evolutionary history different from bacteria , they are very simple and primitive prokaryotic unicellular organisms, but closer in metabolism and other functions to eukaryotes.
The human being has always been intrigued by his origins and by what distinguished him from the other animals that populate the world. Naturalism and medical traditions date back to ancient times of ancient Egypt and Greece, although they were based on mystical or religious interpretations of reality .
The term “biology” comes from the nineteenth century, a consequence of the Scientific Revolutions and the Age of Reason , and is attributed to Karl Friedrich Burdach, although there are previous mentions. But that is when it emerges as an independent and separate study of philosophy ; not as in ancient times, when trying to obtain the truth through pure reasoning instead of experimentation.
The discovery of evolution and genetics, with the studies of Darwin and Mendel respectively, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, would lead biology to its modern stage and more similar to what we understand today.
Importance of biology
Biology is an important discipline because through it we can unveil the mysteries of life as we know it , including the origin of it (and our own) and the laws that underlie it. Thus, we can understand what exactly life is and we can look for it on other planets, and we can also value it and take care of it on ours.
On the other hand, this science provides theoretical and practical inputs to many other scientific disciplines , thanks to which diseases can be fought and improve our quality of life.
Contemporary biology has a very high level of diversification, reflected in its numerous branches, according to the specific type of living beings and / or ecosystems of interest, or the perspective it adopts regarding them:
- Zoology . The specific study of the animal kingdom in its different variants and levels.
- Botany . The study of the plant kingdom: plants, trees, algae and some other photosynthetic forms.
- Microbiology . The one that focuses its study on microscopic life, which cannot be seen with the naked eye.
- Parasitology . He is interested in animals that survive at the expense of other living things, harming them as they invade their organisms.
- Genetics . He focuses his study of life on the laws of the transmission of biological information and generational inheritance.
- Biochemistry . It has to do with the chemical and molecular processes of living beings and the substances they generate.
- Marine biology . He limits his study to the life forms found in oceans and coasts.
- Biotechnology . The understanding of biological laws with a view to their industrial or technological use: biological pesticides, organic fertilizers, etc.
- Systematics . It deals with the classification of species of known living beings, based on the understanding of their evolutionary or phylogenetic history.
Biology is part of other sciences and disciplines, such as biochemistry (sum of biology and chemistry), biophysics (sum of biology and physics), astrobiology (sum of biology and astronomy ), biomedicine (sum of biology and medicine) , etc.
At the same time, he borrows material from chemistry, mathematics , physics and various engineering and computer science, to compose his methods of analysis and measurement, in addition to building his own specialized tools and devices.