Zoologists study how animals behave, reproduce and grow. Research zoologists also study disease that may be carried or spread by animals. University zoology departments have developed safety procedures specifying the best ways to handle a variety of risks that may arise when working with animals in a variety of settings. Following established procedures minimizes dangers from unpredictable animals and the diseases they carry. According to the Oxford University Department of Zoology safety manual, working directly with animals carries the risk of potential attack, resulting in scratching, biting or kicking injuries, the risk of infection as a result of an attack, the risk of an allergic reaction and the risk of infection from handling animal feces or coming in contact with any other animal waste or bodily fluid. These risks can be minimized by being aware of the hazards, taking common sense precautions such as washing hands after working with the animal and applying first aid to any injuries, and following up with professional medical care.
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Zoologists study animals. Humans evolved from animals. Whether homo sapiens is just another species of animal or a qualitative step forward in evolution is a philosophical issue, but given the reality that humans are constantly interacting with animals of all shapes and sizes, developing a deep understanding of animals and animal behavior is certain to be of benefit in improving our lives. Aside from the many practical benefits derived from an understanding of animals and animal behavior, zoologists are also contributing to the body of scientific knowledge, a worthwhile goal in itself. It might not sound like a big deal to discover a new species of microfungus visible only under a microscope, but its single flagellum enabling movement makes it more animal-like than plant-like and therefore of particular interest to scientists.
Zoologists are biologists who study a variety of animal species. Those studies can include researching animal behaviors and characteristics, and how they interact with their ecosystems. Zoologists may be involved in research, animal management, or education.
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