The Department of Animal Biology from the University of Barcelona is divided into two Sections: the Anthropology Section and the Zoology Section. Both teaching and research conducted by each Section belong to different knowledge areas. The Zoology Section comprises three functional Units: Arthropoda, Chordata and Invertebrates.
These two sections were two independent Departments within the University of Bacelona up to 1985.
Physical Anthropology deals with the distribution of biological variability of human populations as well as with the origin and evolution of the species. The goal is studying mechanisms yielding variations and their relationship with health, illness, growth, demography and genetics, in the frame of biosocial interactions.
Academic history of Physical Anthropology in the UB starts in 1920 with the first Chair of the subject, Professor Telesforo de Aranzadi y Unamuno (1860-1945). His heir was Professor Santiago Alcobé Noguer (1903-1977), who used a genetic point of view to approach human variability and its quantitative analysis. Professor Josep Pons Rosell (born in 1918) developed the diversity that is currently reflected in the areas of research and teaching conducted by the Anthropology Section within the Department of Animal Biology: ostheology, biodemography, populations biology, auxology, molecular variation, population genetics, human evolution, somatology, etc.
The Natural Sciences Section of the Facultad de Ciencias of the University of Barcelona was created in 1910. In those early days, it was placed in the Institute of Barcelona, which was lately called Balmes Institute. In this way, natural history collections were shared by thi Highschool institute and the University.
The first Chair of Biology was Dr. Odón de Buen, in charge of teaching Zoology. He is considered as the founder of Oceanography in Spain. He created the Laboratorio de Biología Marina in Palma de Mallorca as well as the Instituto Español de Oceanografía.
He was succeeded in the Chair of Biology by Dr. José Fuset, famous zoologist and pedagogue. He had evolutionist ideas and carried on teaching at the University during the 2nd Republic. Fuset organised the so-called Gabinete de Historia Natural of the University of Barcelona, founded in 1847 and used for many years in the practical courses of Zoology. That collection is the oldest catalan zoological collection and is hosted by the Centre de Recursos de Biodiversitat Animal.
In 1941 the first Chair of Zoology - Arthropods was granted to Dr. Francisco García del Cid. He founded the Instituto de Biología Aplicada of the CSIC in 1943 and bounded it to the Chair of Zoology. Later, in 1951, he created the Instituto de Investigaciones Pesqueras within the "Juan de La Cierva" council of the CSIC, the current Instituto de Ciencias del Mar of Barcelona, and he was his first Director.
Regarding publications of the Chair, they started with the prestigious "Publicaciones del Instituto de Biología Aplicada", which would later become "Publicaciones del Departamento de Zoología" and then "Historia Animalium".
In 1954, the Natural Sciences Degree was divided in two: Biological Sciences and Geological Sciences. Later, Dr. Manuel Lora Tamayo, Minister of Science and Education, created university departments, one of them being the Department of Zoology of the University of Barcelona.