Ichthyology

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Ichthyology (from Greek: ἰχθύς, ikhthus, "fish"; and λόγος, logos, "study") is the branch of zoology devoted to the study of fish. This includes skeletal fish (Osteichthyes), cartilaginous fish (Chondrichthyes), and jawless fish (Agnatha). While a majority of species have probably been discovered and described, approximately 250 new species are officially described by science each year. According to FishBase, 31,500 species of fish had been described by January 2010.[1] There are more fish species than the combined total of all other vertebrates: mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds.

The practice of ichthyology is associated with marine biology, limnology and fisheries science.

Contents

History

The study of fish dates from the Upper Paleolithic Revolution (with the advent of 'high culture'). The science of ichthyology was developed in several interconnecting epochs, each with various significant advancements.

The study of fish receives its origins from human's desire to feed, clothe, and equip themselves with useful implements. According to Michael Barton, a prominent ichthyologist and professor at Centre College, "the earliest ichthyologists were hunters and gatherers who had learned how to obtain the most useful fish, where to obtain them in abundance, and at what times they might be the most available". Early cultures manifested these insights in abstract and identifiable artistic expressions.

1500 BC–40 AD

Informal, scientific descriptions of fish are represented within the Judeo-Christian tradition. The kashrut forbade the consumption of fish without scales or appendages. Theologians and ichthyologists speculate that the apostle Peter and his contemporaries harvested the fish that are today sold in modern industry along the Sea of Galilee, presently known as Lake Kinneret. These fish include cyprinids of the genus Barbus and Mirogrex, cichlids of the genus Sarotherodon, and Mugil cephalus of the family Mugilidae.

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