What is biology?
The word biology comes from the Greek words bios, which means life, and logos, which means thought. Thus, biology is the science that deals with the study of life.
A Brief History of Biology
Biology is a very old science. In fact, it probably began in prehistoric times.
Over thirty thousand years age, cave dwellers in France and Spain decorated the walls and ceilings of their caves with paintings of animals. These paintings show that the cave dwellers had closely observed the structure and behaviour of many animals.
When humans were mainly hunters of animals and gathers of edible plants, they studied biology at a simple level. They had to know the behaviour of their prey and, of course, the behaviour of animals that might prey on them. They also had to observe the growing conditions required by the various plants as they collected them for food.
When human began an agricultural way of life about ten thousand years ago, they had to know much more about plants and animals. For example, they had to know when to collect seeds for their next year’s crop, when to plants seeds, and how much moisture the various types pf plants needs. They also had to know what to feed their animals, how long the animals would live, and what might kill the animals. In a sense then, they were biologists because the studied living things. From such early beginnings came the science of biology.
Prehistoric humans had to rely on their senses alone to make observations. They had no laboratories, microscopes, dissecting kits, or other equipment.
What other living things is it like? While seeking answers to such questions, they probably discovered that the wide variety of living things had much in common, as well as many differences. They probably grouped similar living things and named each group. For example, they might have noted that all flying animals with feathers had much in common. They may have grouped them under one name such as birds. This process of grouping similar things is called classification.
These early Biologists also would have observed other patterns in nature, such as regular migration of birds and life cycles of plants and animals.
As century passed, humans became more knowledgeable and curious. They began to ask more complex questions such as: What is it made of? and, How is it put together?