The Map of Biology: Animation Shows How All the Different Fields in Biology Fit Together

Of all the sci­ence class­es required through­out pri­ma­ry and sec­ondary school, most stu­dents seem to like biol­o­gy the best. Maybe, deal­ing as it does with such famil­iar things as plants, ani­mals, and human beings, the pop­u­lar­i­ty of biol­o­gy has to do with its clear rel­e­vance to their life — or more to the point, to life itself. But any biol­o­gy-lov­ing young­ster who decides to go take their stud­ies more deeply into their favorite sub­ject must soon­er or lat­er make a dif­fi­cult choice: what kind of biol­o­gy will they focus on? Bio­physics, cel­lu­lar biol­o­gy, ecol­o­gy, envi­ron­men­tal biol­o­gy, bio­me­chan­ics, mol­e­c­u­lar biol­o­gy, bio­chem­istry, evo­lu­tion­ary biol­o­gy… the list seems end­less.

So instead of look­ing at the world of biol­o­gy as a list, why not look as it as a map? Domain of Sci­ence, the Youtube chan­nel pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured here on Open Cul­ture for their map of math­e­mat­ics, map of physics, map of chem­istry, and map of com­put­er sci­ence, have just recent­ly put togeth­er one for biol­o­gy, a video tour of which appears above.

It begins with “the most basic unit in the foun­da­tion of all life,” the cell, con­tin­ues on to mol­e­c­u­lar, chem­i­cal, and phys­i­cal process­es, then to genes, pop­u­la­tions, anato­my, the immune sys­tem, genet­ic engi­neer­ing, pale­on­tol­ogy, and even the search for life in out­er space, with many oth­er stops along the way besides.

“If there’s one word that describes biol­o­gy, it’s com­plex­i­ty,” says series cre­ator and nar­ra­tor Dominic Wal­li­man. “There’s a huge amount we still don’t under­stand about how life works, how it start­ed, and how it end­ed up with intel­li­gent apes like us who are able to look back and try and work out. I feel like we’ll be mak­ing new bio­log­i­cal dis­cov­er­ies for many, many years to come.” Encour­ag­ing words for those stu­dents now con­sid­er­ing going into one of the many bio­log­i­cal sci­ences, although they’ll still have to decide exact­ly which bio­log­i­cal sci­ence to go into — bear­ing in mind how many of those sub­fields have yet to emerge. It does­n’t take that intel­li­gent an ape to under­stand that, before long, biol­o­gy’s going to need a big­ger map.

You can pur­chase Domain of Sci­ence’s maps as posters here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Map of Com­put­er Sci­ence: New Ani­ma­tion Presents a Sur­vey of Com­put­er Sci­ence, from Alan Tur­ing to “Aug­ment­ed Real­i­ty”

The Map of Math­e­mat­ics: Ani­ma­tion Shows How All the Dif­fer­ent Fields in Math Fit Togeth­er

The Map of Physics: Ani­ma­tion Shows How All the Dif­fer­ent Fields in Physics Fit Togeth­er

The Map of Chem­istry: New Ani­ma­tion Sum­ma­rizes the Entire Field of Chem­istry in 12 Min­utes

Free Online Biol­o­gy Cours­es 

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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