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The pronunciation of "zoology" is [zoh-ol-uh-jee], however it is common to hear this word mispronounced as [zu-ol-uh-jee], due to the familiarity of the word "zoo" which is an abbreviation of "zoological garden."
Although many colleges and universities offer courses in zoology, few practicing scientists would describe themselves as zoologists. The term was much more pertinent between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, when biology was a field that focused on subjects; such as plants or animals.
Biology now concerns itself more with life processes such as the defense of an organism against infection (immunology) or the transfer of hereditary characteristics across generations (genetics). These disciplines often study both plants and animals because most fundamental processes in living things occur in all living things. Scientific disciplines that use only special experimental techniques, including molecular biology and biochemistry, also study all types of living things.
Zoology includes those disciplines that focus on animal life alone. Some fields of biology (like neuroscience) study features (like the brain) that only exist in animals.
This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
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