Latrodectus sp.
Female Black Widow.
A very dangerous home spider, although the occurrence of bites to humans is extremely low.

(Photo by Hugo Alek ©2005)
ZOOLOGY
By Nasif Nahle
November 10, 1998

Zoology is the branch of life sciences that studies animal life.

WHAT IS AN ANIMAL?

An animal is a Eukaryotic, Heterotrophic, multicelled organism. Animal cells lack of cell walls and chlorophyll.

A Eukaryote is an organism whose cells possess a cell nucleus limited by a membrane (nuclear membrane) and organelles also confined by membranes.

A Heterotroph is an organism that cannot produce its natural food by itself, feeding from other organisms or their byproducts.

A multicelled is an organism constructed by many cells, gathered structurally and functionally (functions diversification and job division).

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CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM ANIMALIA (METAZOA):

TWO MAIN CATEGORIES:

1. Parazoa:  Without true tissues = Phylum Porifera: Sponges

2. Eumetazoa:  With true tissues = 15 Phyla:

Phylum Cnidaria (hydra, corals, anemones, jellies)

Phylum Ctenophora (belt jellies)

Phylum Platyhelminthes (flat worms: Planaria, flukes, tapeworms)

Phylum Nemertea (Proboscis worms)

Phylum Rotifera (rotifers)

Phylum Nematoda (roundworms)

Phylum Mollusca (mollusks)

Phylum Annelida (segmented worms)

Phylum Onychophora (walking worms)

Phylum Arthropoda (articulated extremities: scorpions, crustaceans, spiders, millipedes, centipedes, insects)

Phylum Phoronida (phoronides)

Phylum Bryozoa (bryozoans)

Phylum Brachiopoda (lamp shells)

Phylum Echinodermata (sea stars, sand dollars, sea cucumbers, etc.)

Phylum Chordata (chordates: tunicates, lancelets, vertebrates)

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PROTOZOANS (OLD CLASSIFICATION)

I did not include protozoa into the Kingdom Animalia because they have been included into a kingdom aside: Kingdom Protista (old classification).

Protozoa are eukaryotic, unicellular animals. eukaryotic cells are those that possesses a nuclear membrane containing the genetic material (DNA).

Something admirable is that the cell of protozoa contains organelles with functions that are comparable to the organs of the Metazoans (multicellular animals).

Protista includes Eukariotes, one-celled or many-celled (forming colonies), heterotrophes (Ingestive as Protozoa and absorptive as Funguslike), or autotrophes (Algae) -- although some are both autotrophe and heterotrophe (Myxotrophic, as Euglena viridis). Most of them are motile, but some species are sessile.

As you can see, the meaning of "protist" is complicated. By this reason, protista have been divided into five "qualified kingdoms". Many "classes" were taken out from the group Protozoa for being classified as "qualified kingdoms".

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PROTISTS NEW THREE-DOMAIN SYSTEM:

The three Domains/eight Kingdoms classification would be as follows:

THREE DOMAINS:

Domain Bacteria, Domain Archaea and Domain Eukarya

Domain Eukarya would include five protista kingdoms, one plantae kingdom, one Fungi kingdom and one Animalia kingdom. The five protista kingdoms are:

Archaezoa (three phyla: Diplomonads, Trichomonads and Microsporidians).

Euglenozoa (two Phyla: Euglenoids and Kinetoplastids).

Alveolata (three phyla: Dinoflagellates, Ciliates, and Apicomplexans).

Stramenopila (four phyla: Water Molds, Brown Algae, Diatoms, and Golden Algae).

Rhodophyta (Red Algae).

Other taxonomists take into account two prokaryote Kingdoms and six Eukarya Kingdoms:

PROKARYOTES:

1. BACTERIA
2. ARCHAEA

EUKARYOTES:

1. ARCHAEZOA
2. PROTOZOA
3. CHROMISTA
4. PLANTAE
5. FUNGI
6. ANIMALIA

WE CONSIDER THE TWO DOMAINS/SIX KINGDOMS SYSTEM TO BE THE MORE ACCURATE BECAUSE IT IS CLOSER TO THE EVOLUTIONARY BIOCHEMICAL AND GENETIC ASSOCIATIONS:

At the same time, the proposed taxonomy is associated with genomics. All living beings are organized into two categories called Domains. Each Domain includes several Kingdoms and each Kingdom divides into less inclusive divisions called Subkingdoms or Divisions.

We can see that each Domain contains more living beings than each Kingdom does; Kingdoms are more general than Subkingdoms; Subkingdoms are more inclusive than Phyla, and so forth. The new classification is as follows:

Two Domains:

1. PROKARIOTES
2. EUKARYA

Domain Prokaryotes includes:

1. BACTERIA
2. ARCHAEA

The Domain Eukarya contains four Kingdoms:

1. PROTISTA
2. FUNGI
3. PLANTAE
4. ANIMALIA

The Kingdom Protista covers three Subkingdoms or Divisions:

1. ARCHAEZOA: These are protists that do not have mitochondria. It does not matter if they have never had mitochondria or if they lost them in the course of evolution.
2. EUGLENOZOA OR CHROMISTA: Photosynthetic protists with mitochondria.
3. PROTOZOA (often, the division Protozoa is labeled as “Protista”; however, the formulation is redundant): It includes protists which have mitochondria, but lack photosynthetic organelles or pigments.

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PROTISTS (OLD CLASSIFICATION)

Protists are the most diversified of all eukaryotes. Protists have been divided into three phyla:

a) Protozoa, or animal-like protists. Such as, Amoeba proteus, Entamoeba histolytica, Paramecium caudatum, Plasmodium vivax, Spirillina vivipara (foraminiferan), etc.

b) Algae, or plant-like protists. For example Euglena viridis, Ulva lactuca, Spirogyra, Diatoms (as Navicula monilifera), Dinoflagellates (e.g. Noctiluca scintillans), etc.

c) Mycetozoida, or fungus-like protists. For instance, Badhamia utricularis, Plasmodiophora brassicae, Trichia affinis, etc.

SEE THE CLASSIFICATION OF Paramecium caudatum

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SOME THREATENED SPECIES

It is encouraging to know that many organizations have adhered to the world campaign for the rescue of the threatened species with the extinction.

Less than two months ago, I received the pleasant news that the Charles Darwin Research Station in Galapagos has reintegrated several specimens of the turtle Geochelone elephantopus hoodensis to its natural habitat. On the other hand, the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC) is doing its maximum effort to rescue the wolves on the prairies. They have been faced many problems, as the most appropriate type of diet for the individuals that they are breeding at NPWRC's refuge, but finally it seems that they are near to restoring some individuals to their natural environment.

In spite of this, we picked up the terrible news that the Refuge of Monarchs in Mexico is being destroyed at a very high rate. It is calculated that if the immoderate deterioration continues, into five more years these protected butterflies won't find their safe place.

In its August report (2001), NPWRC listed the names of many of the endangered species. Among them, I have selected ten species of animals that are in process of extinction. Most of these species are native species of USA, except for Rhinoceros unicornis, Diceros bicornis, Panthera tigris, which are not american species, and Rangifer caribu, Scaphirhynchus albus, Grus americana, Falco peregrinus anatum and Canis lupus, which are animals that can immigrate to other countries, especially to South of Canada and North of Mexico. Wherever they live, in USA, or in Canada and Mexico, the proximity of a total extinction is factual, and if the process is completed, the equilibrium of entire Biomes will be altered.

Do you remember a President Clinton's public act, when he announced - drifting - that the bald eagle was already out of menace of extinction? Unluckily, it was a real thing only throughout four months; although, due to the intense fires that have spread for the entire Western forests of USA, the habitat for these animals has been reduced notably. Critically, we have to keep in mind that those without-control fires were initiated as "controlled fires" (provoked artificially by Federal Forest workers, as in Los Alamos, CA).

We have to recognize the tireless labor being made by  the staff of NPWRC. If you have seen someone doing well its job, it has been at NPWRC. Actually, their task is a titanic effort, but it will not be functional if we do not put a small piece of cooperation.

Here is a short list:

Pallid Sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus)
Least Tern (Sterna antillarum)
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Whooping Crane (Grus americana)
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus anatum)
Black-Footed Ferret (Mustela nigripes)
Gray Wolf (Canis lupus)
Caribou (Rangifer caribu)
Tiger (Panthera tigris)
Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis and Rhinoceros unicornis)

As them, there are 2500 species in danger of extinction. Frogs are at the line of worldwide extinction. Remember that EXTINCTION CONNOTES FOREVER!

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RAPE AMONG SIMIANS

The studies presented by some Biologists on animal behavior have given rise to the discovery of certain types of unusual inherited behavior in individuals of several animal communities. For example, the researchers have discovered that prostitution exists in tribal groups of bonobos. Some "simian females", generally young females, accept fruits (figs, bananas, etc.) from alpha males to obtain the kindness of a copula.

Zoologists have discovered homosexuality in some young males in communities of monkeys, like macaques. It is not unusual to observe females that offer reciprocally their genitals, followed by a recreation of a typical male-female copula (lesbianism has also been observed in cows, swans and ducks).

Thus far, the most astounding revelations are those observed on the "almost human" behavior:

We have observed fierce wars among tribes of chimpanzees (even manipulating weapons as clubs, stones, etc.), which are generally organized on complaints for the possession of a territory, to pinch food, for the ownership of females and for the custody of children. It also has been observed in tribes of chimpanzee the murder of the "alpha-male”, whereas it spends the night, by an individual that had been offended by that alpha-male. We have also observed clashes among jealous red gorillas. Adultery takes place "furtively" in tribes of gorillas and Orangutans when the dominant male is absent minded or sleeping. Moreover, RAPE exists among chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. Of course, rape among animals is rewarded with death. However, what happens to the progeny of the dishonored females?  It seems that the raped females accept the newborns resulted from the abuse like something much loved. On a slope, the dominant "offended" male accepts the foreign offspring as if it belonged to its own progeny.

Rape among simians offers a biological evolutionary benefit because rape allows the importation of "new" genes into the community's genetic pile, slowing down the constant occurrence of not favorable genes originated in "alpha" male (an alpha male is the dominant male) at a low scale. Besides, rape prevents the permanence of recessive alleles non propitious for the species (Familiar genes). In this way, the heritable system (genetic stack) of the simian community is enriched with the transmission of beneficial genes imparted by the violator males.

In more recent studies, zoologists have reported that the behavior of the violators has a genetic origin, and that the genes that codify "rape" are transmitted to their progeny. There is strong evidence in relation to the inheritance of genes that codify rape, homosexuality and violence in humans.

Our activities behind the prevention of sexual abuses will become to nothing if we do not accept the existence of an evolutionary dynamics in the occurrence of human behavior.

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MASSIVE DEATH OF WHALES

I have received a report where it is indicated that more than 350 whales have died due to an increment of only a few tenth of degree in the oceans' temperatures. How did it come about?

Whales feed on marine plankton (protozoon, algae, small crustaceans, crustacean's larvae, etc.) and plankton is very sensitive to temperature changes out of the normal parameters. With a prolonged change of half degree, many ectothermic organisms (those which cannot generate their own corporal temperatures) would die because their metabolism cannot bear the changes out of the normal extremes.

We know that plankton lives in the top layers of marine waters. When whales are deficient in food, they run a mad race seeking for food. Plankton abounds in coastal areas and the whales follow the abundance of food  only to find the death when they beach. Of course, there are many other factors, as the pollution of sea with petroleum, industrial wastes, insecticides, algaecides, radioactivity, bizarre noises, etc.

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DO NONHUMAN ANIMALS POSSES A SIXTH SENSE?

After the recent terribly sad Asiatic Southeast catastrophe generated by a tsunami (December 26, 2004) in the Southeastern Asia, a biologist in charge of a natural refugee for nonhuman animals in Sri Lanka suggested that animals saved their lives because they had a sixth sense which alerted them earlier of the terrible earthquake impelling them to flee from the disaster area. The animals’ reaction reported by many people after the occurrence of earthquakes in the past has generated a myth that has caused the mystification of a well-known capacity of the nonhuman animals, even in the scientific community, like the confusion of the referred biologist of the Sri Lanka’s natural refugee. For example, many TV reporters have said that it was “astonishing how animals can prophesy fatal events may hours before humans did”, as if the nonhuman animals “were warned by God”.

I wonder if there are senses that “go beyond the five senses that traditionally we humans recognize”. Is there any “traditional” recognition of the scientific knowledge? What is the counterpart to the “traditional” recognition? Is there any nonhuman senses that “we can recognize like other senses, beyond the five senses that we humans do recognize"?

Hervé Fritz, a specialist on environment and animal behavior of the French National Center of Scientific Researches (NCSR), said that “animals have aptitudes that we do not have or that we do not have concerning to all vibratory, telluric movements or sonorous waves”. Thus, Dr. Hervé Fritz put the things in their real dimension discarding any “sixth sense” in nonhuman animals.

The ethnologist Anne-Claude Gauthier, director of the zoological garden of Vincennes (Paris, France, declared the truth about the unreality of a “sixth sense” in non-human animals” and how they can fell tiny vibrations propagating through ground and water by their normal senses, as hearing, smelling and touching thanks to specific well-known receptors.

Is it true that nonhuman animals experience a sixth sense to predict catastrophes? Is it true that scientists do not know how the animals can fell small vibrations propagating through the ground and the water?

We scientists know what occurs with these nonhuman animals.  For example, deer can perceive the stamps of his/her congeners into a periphery of five Kilometers. Bats can perceive ultrasonic frequencies from 60 to 120 kHz. Fish can perceive vibrations in water through their lateral line. Scorpions possess tactile receptors with which they can perceive the smooth locomotive movements of their preys. Elephants can identify the ground vibrations transmitted through their skeleton until the basal membrane, etc.

Do we need more evidence to discard the myth on the “sixth sense” of nonhuman animals? There are dozens of scientific reports regarding the normal, but exacerbated, sensorial capabilities of many nonhuman animals.

What do nonhuman animals use their intensified sensorial capabilities for? Nonhuman animals use their intensified sensorial capabilities to flee from predators, to seek sexual couples, or to detect victims. Nonhuman animals cannot distinguish if the vibrations proceed from a predator, from a stampede, from human hunters, or from an earthquake, but the intensity of the vibration impels them to escape quickly in the opposite direction from where the waves are coming. It is a mystery related only with natural and known senses… That is all… Ha!

Can humans use nonhuman animals as infallible methods to predict disasters? No, we cannot because animals offer the same behavior by many reasons. Nonhuman animals do not react only to natural disasters. They can react in the same way before thunders, twisters, fireworks, sounds from heavy machinery, screeches, shouts, etc. It is not a confident method to predict natural phenomena.

Author of this page: Nasif Nahle, Biologist.

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REFERENCES ABOUT RAPE AND VIOLENCE AMONG ANIMALS:

Scientific American: Understanding Violence: July 31, 2000

Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer, Why Men Rape; The Sciences, Published by the New York Academy of Sciences; January/February, 2000.

Franz B.M. de Waal, Primates-A Natural Heritage of Conflicts Resolution; Science, issue No. 5479, Vol 289, pp. 586-590; 28 July, 2000.

Spurgeon, David. Nature, Vol. 407, 14 September 2000.

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  CONTENT:

  1. Definition of Zoology
  2. What is an animal?
  3. Brief Classification
  4. Protozoan/Old Classification
  5. Protists/Three-Domains New System
  6. Protists/Old Classification
  7. Threatened Species
  8. Rape among Simians
  9. Massive Death of Whales
10. Do nonhuman Animals have a sixth sense? Related with Earthquakes
11. REFERENCES ON RAPE AND VIOLENCE IN SIMIANS
12. BEHAVIOR OF SWALLOWS (Hirundo rustica) NEW!

CLASSIFICATION OF: Amoeba proteus, Euglena viridis, Paramecium Caudatum, Homo sapiens
STRUCTURE OF: Amoeba proteus, Euglena viridis, Paramecium caudatum
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ZOOLOGY (Published: November 10, 1998; updated on February 29, 2008)
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Rhabidosa sp.
Wolf Spider laying eggs.

Non-dangerous spider species. It is quite beneficial at home because it devours destructive insects like cockroaches, crickets, flies, moths and bookworms. You must not kill them!

(Photos by Hugo Alek ©2005)
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