Humans have always been captivated and intrigued by animals from the very beginning of history. Those prehistoric humans who studied basic animal behavior may be considered some of the first zoologists. Zoology, a branch of biology that studies animals, is vital to the understanding of natures and preserving of biodiversity. To animal lovers, zoology is one of the most ideal careers. From teaching, to researching, to zoo keeping, there are many different options for those who intend to start a career in zoology. Although zoology is time-consuming and unpredictable, it is a rewarding and fascinating career.
Zoology has advanced considerably since the first humans used animals for their own benefit. Alcmaeon was the first known man to perform dissections on human bodies in the sixth century B.C. Aristotle, though, was considered to be the first “real” zoologist. He observed and dissected sea creatures, along with classifying five hundred species of animals. After Aristotle’s days as a zoologist, the only important work in zoology was by Galen, a Roman physician, until around 1555. From 1555 to 1700, significant advancements were made to classifications of species and physiology, particularly work done in the study of blood circulation (“Zoologists”).Order now
One of the greatest revolutions was the invention of the microscope in 1590 (“Zoologists”). This invention opened up a whole new world to all scientists, not merely zoologists. The ability to substantially magnify an organism enabled the discovery of cells and gave scientists a greater understanding about how animals function.
In 1859, Charles Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. This book completely changed the way scientists viewed animals and their habitats. In his book, Darwin presented the idea of evolution and he explained natural selection, the idea of survival of the fittest (Reece 8). With these new theories and discoveries, scientists gained a much greater understanding of animal behavior.
Further technological developments have taken place in the past century. As scientists continue to discover and invent new tools, zoology will keep growing.
Zoologists can take many different paths within the field of zoology. They could be a researcher, a teacher, a zookeeper, or one of the other many options. Many zoologists juggle multiple positions at one time. Zoo keeping is one of the more interactive jobs that a zoologist could take.
A job as a zookeeper varies every day. Zookeepers are responsible for maintaining and caring for animals. They feed, bathe, groom, and clean the animal exhibits. Zookeepers may participate in public education programs in the zoo and assist animal trainers performing shows. They also have to do administrative work such as keeping careful records of daily observations (“Zookeepers”). According to Jennifer Burns, zookeepers “may collaborate with other zoos on animal exchanges and visiting exhibits, participate in breeding plans, attend meetings, and work on public relations or fund-raising” (Burns). The work of a zookeeper is not limited to just their own zoo.
Zookeepers often come to know the animals they work with. The friendships between zookeepers and the animals are beneficial to both of them. Because of their relationships, zookeepers can easily identify when something is wrong with the animal. If zookeepers specifically work with one type of animal, they may also perform research on that same kind of animal (Devantier).
Zoo keeping is only one of the possibilities for a zoologist. Each zoology related job is different and has varied responsibilities and benefits.
Although there are negative aspects, zoology can be rewarding. Working in the career of zoology is not for those who only want the benefits. Most zoologists do this job because of their love for zoology.
One of the advantages of being a zoologist is having the ability to work with animals. Since zoology is centered around life and animals, many people working in this career are animal-lovers. They are able to take time to study and spend time with animals (“Zoologists”).
Another benefit is the opportunity to work with people. Although some paths in zoology may not include the social aspect, many paths do. For example, a zoology teacher works with students and a zookeeper may work with visitors at the zoo (Devantier).
Despite the advantages, there are quite a few negatives to zoology. When working in the field, though, most zoologists manage to look over the negatives because they love the career.
One setback to being a zoologist is the money. Zoologists don’t receive much pay unless they are in a higher level of the job, most likely research (“Zoologists”). The pay does, though, differ between each individual job within zoology.
An additional negative is that zoologists sometimes have to see animals suffer and die. They may have worked with an animal and had become attached to it. No one wants to see an animal that they loved die (Devantier).
Being a zoologist is not the job for everybody. Specific qualities that are necessary to be a zoologist include being flexible, curious, and analytical (Echaore-McDavid). Zoologists need to be flexible and adapt to situations because animals can be unpredictable sometimes (Burns). They should be curious and analytical so that they have a passion to research and be helpful to whatever animal they may be studying. Zoologists should love animals because they are the focus of this job; although Burns states, “A love for animals alone is not enough experience to become a zoologist.” Even though a love of animals is great for this career choice, zoology requires more.
Anyone planning to become a zoologist needs to go to college and receive a bachelor’s degree. A more advanced degree is required if one intends on taking a higher-level job such as research or administrative work (“Zoologists”). To help break into the field of zoology, those planning on becoming zoologists should volunteer or work as an intern. Simply volunteering to work with animals at a zoo, farm, shelter, ranch, aquarium, or any other animal related work is helpful for receiving a job in zoology (Burns). Employers would be more likely to hire someone who has had experience with animals and researching (Echaore-McDavid).
A great way to start out in zoology is to attend meetings of professional organizations. They are usually welcome to students and one may ask scientists at the meetings for help or advice (“Zoologists”). Websites for professional zoology related organizations often have tips and descriptions about what is necessary for that job and how to apply.
To advance in the field of zoology, one may want to receive a Ph.D. With a Ph.D., someone could make more money and be able to be in a high research position. Also, research scientists and professors are expected to publish their work in order to become known in this field. Zoologists tend to pick a job within zoology and stick with that job throughout their career instead of taking up different jobs. Some zoologists, though, do not want to take a more significant job in their field. They are happy with the position that they currently hold and love what they do (“Zoologists”).
Zoology is not an easy job, but helping animals in need makes it all worth it. In society today, animals need the help of humans to help them survive:
As the population grows and expands into new areas, it will expose wildlife to threats such as disease, invasive species, and habitat loss. Increased human activity causes problems, such as pollution and climate change, which endanger wildlife. Changes in climate patterns can be detrimental to the migration habits of animals, and increased sea levels can destroy wetlands. Therefore, zoologists and wildlife biologists will be needed to research, develop, and carry out wildlife management and conservation plans that combat these threats and protect our biological resources. (United States Department of Labor)
With the numbers of some species gradually declining over the years, zoologists can help that species survive. Animals are necessary to the balance of the world. They influence the growth of plants, the food people eat, and the habitat that they live in. Humans need animals, so working in the career of zoology can help maintain the harmonyю
Burns, Jennifer Bobrow. “Zoologist.” Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.
Devantier, Alecia T., and Carol A. Turkington. “Zookeeper.” Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 20 Mar. 2014.
Echaore-McDavid, Susan. “Zoologist.” Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.
Reece, Jane B. et al. Campbell Biology: Concepts & Connections. 7th ed. San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings, 2009. Print.
United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists”. Occupational Outlook Handbook. 2014-15 ed. 8 Jan. 2014. Web. 8 Apr. 2014.
“Zookeepers.” Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 20 Mar. 2014.
“Zoologists.” Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.