Introduction to Biology

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  • Biology is a branch of science which studies living beings that all plants and animals including humans. It is a word derived from Greek words (Greek: bios = life; logos = study). No one can say when the study of biology exactly began but Greeks can be considered as the pioneer of an organized study of this branch of science.
  • Biology had flourished in India (2500 B.C. to 650 B.C.). Charak and Sushrut were practicing medicine effectively. In Greece Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.) rationalized study of healing and treating sick. He is called the father of medicine. Aristotle (384 – 322 B.C.) was one of these first biologists who studied animals (including marine animals) in sufficient details. He is called the founder or father of biology. He attributed the intelligence of human being to heart. His study processes helped in the development of early medicines. His student, Theophrastus (370-285 B.C.), studied plants. Their work became the foundation for further studies in biology.
  • Prior to da Vinci’s illustrations, human anatomy diagrams were constructed using dissections of apes. Leonardo da Vinci ( 5 April 1452 to 2 May 1519): He dissected dead human bodies and drawn illustrations of anatomical systems. These illustrations not only helped in the development of biology but also became invaluable to the field of medicine.  In 1543, a Belgian medical student  Vesalius published De humani corporis fabrica (The Structure of the Human Body) using woodcut pictures to depict actual human anatomy.
  • During this period, biological study primarily consisted of classifying organisms and understanding the human body on the macroscopic level. But the discovery of the microscope by Dutch scientist Anton van Leeuwenhoek in sixteenth-century opened up a whole new world of living things. In the 19th century, the theory of organic evolution and cell theory was proposed and accepted. It started the rapid growth of biology. Twentieth-century saw growth of new fields like genetics and biotechnology.

Importance of Study of Biology:

Biology and Nature:

  • The world of plants and animals is so large that we can marvel at the variety of the plants and animals. By studying biology we can study similarities and differences in the species.
  • Gardens and zoological parks offer nice places for human entertainment. Plants are grown for decorating homes and the flowers are used variously.
  • rearing of animals and keeping pets give us happiness and it is useful in curing many diseases particularly psychosomatic diseases.
  • By the study of biology, the species of a variety of animals and plants can be preserved.

Biology and Health:

  • Basic knowledge of human anatomy and physiology can be acquired by studying morphology and physiology, some other easily available and easily controllable animals.
  • Biology helps us in understanding causes and symptoms of diseases.
  • A number of diseases are caused by microbes. Some of these diseases like cholera, plague, malaria etc., become epidemic killing hundreds and thousands of people. The study of biology helps us in finding out the causative organisms of a large number of diseases, the means of their spread and also the methods of treatment and eradication of such diseases.
  • Surgery involves the removal or replacement of defective or damaged part or organ of the body. It is possible due to the study of biology.
  • Medicines are mainly obtained from plants. Therefore, it is essential to have knowledge and plants. Antibiotics are obtained from fungi and microorganisms.  Veterinary Science helps in treating the disease of domesticated and pet animals.

Biology and Food:

  • Man uses vegetables, fruits, plant origin substances, fish, chicken, pig, goat, prawns, crabs etc. as a food. Man utilizes milk from cow and buffalo. From milk butter, cheese, ghee etc produced. Hen’s eggs are widely used as food.
  • With the knowledge of biology, it is possible to increase the number of the animals or plants uses as food and improve their variety and quality.
  • Hybrid cattle can give more milk with better fat content. For these reasons animal husbandry and veterinary science, poultry keeping etc., are important branches of biology.
  • Using biology the animals and plants can be safeguarded against many diseases. By knowing the causes, the diseases can be prevented and cured.

Biology and Horticulture:

  • The branch of biology, botany helps us in the development of numerous new varieties of ornamental and decorating plants. Flowers with new colour combinations, new varieties of different leaf shapes etc., are developed by hybridization.
  • A number of seedless crops of guava, banana, grapes, papaya, have also been developed.

Biology and Agriculture:

  • A rapid increase in human population has increased demand for food supply. This has led to increasing the yield of food grains by adopting measures like
    • Developing and raising high-yielding and disease resistant varieties and making their seeds available to the farmers.
    • By reducing the period of the cycle of development, many crops can be taken in a year.
    • Controlling the growth and kill the pests, insects, and weeds, using insecticides, pesticides, fungicides, and weedicides.
    • Understanding causes of different diseases to the plants and takes preventing action to avoid them or take curative action if plants are affected by the diseases.
    • Preservation of food such as pasteurization, drying freezing radiating etc. can be done to increase its shelf life.

Biology and Animal Husbandry:

  • We get leather from the hide of mammals, silk from silk moth, fur and wool from sheep’s and lambs, fat and liver oil from fishes, honey and wax from the honey bee, lack from lack insect and pearls from pearl oysters and corals, leathers, shells horns etc..
  • High production of these substances can be obtained by animal husbandry, piggery, poultry keeping, pisciculture, sericulture, lack culture, apiculture.  Productivity can be increased by the proper knowledge of habit, habitat and life cycle of the animals.
Science > BiologyYou are Here
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