Zoology Study

What is ‘study’ in Zoology?

Study involves watching the creatures, watching multiple individuals of a species, both old and young. Each species has a requirement for the number of individuals to watch, the total time need to watch them and what percentage of the time must be spent watching babies. In ARK a baby is any non-adult member of the species, so juveniles and adolescents count towards the percentage of ‘baby watching’ that is required.  Some animals can be studied by anyone without special knowledge, others require the player to have some prior knowledge, either an engram or knowledge of another animal.

After study a period of contemplation is required before suddenly it all clicks and the character learns the way of the dodo (or other animal),

How do I study animals in Zoology?

You can only study a creature that is untamed, so watching your friends pets is of no use.  Studying involves keeping animals in the center region of your field of view but not the necessarily the exact center.

Studying the Dilo

Think of it like an imaginary cylinder attached to each character’s head, approximately three foundations in diameter and ten foundations in length.  Dinos outside of this imaginary zone are considered to far away to make a detailed study of the animal.  Closer animals do not need to be centered, but the further away they are the closer they need to be to your center of attention to be studied.

From the moment a creature enters the viewing zone it starts to record the time. Once the player has stopped studying an animal they will need to think about it and make notes in their notebook.  This process is represented in game with two icons, one for the contemplation phase and one for making notes about what has been seen. If the study time exceeds a minimum time (defaults to 5 seconds) this is then counted towards the total time spent studying that species.

Making Notes

Making Notes

Most animals require that you study multiple individuals of a species, and that part of the total required time is spent studying the young of the species. Often players will over study the adults and neglect to study the young, in this situation a brief period of studying the young will allow you to learn the species.

After study and a short period of contemplation the animal has been learnt, a message will display on screen, a sound will play and an icon will be shown in the buff area of the player’s hud.  This period of contemplation will depend on how many animals that player has been studying recently.



This is designed to simulate a survivor paying attention to the animals on the ARK, and learning what they like and eventually having gained enough knowledge to attempt to tame one. With this in mind you can not gain knowledge or study a creature if you do not yet have some related prior knowledge, just as in real life you need to study basic maths before moving on to algebra. You could stare at algebra all day but without the basics you can not understand it.  (spoiler information on study times)

When inside the zone any creature you do not have Zoological knowledge of will display an icon. A red circle with a cross means you can not yet study that animal, must first learn the appropriate certificate of diploma (engram) or obtain the knowledge of another species.  A black circle with a magnifying glass indicates an animal you are currently studying,  If there is no icon the animal is either a tamed pet or a species you already know (unless the icons have been disabled by the server admin – see ini settings).

Beginner and Advanced Study

Player needs some prerequisite knowledge to study the Trike

The creatures of ARK are divided into two groups. Those that do not need an engram (higher knowledge) to study, and those that do. These creatures do not need an engram to be known before you can study them with the aim of eventually knowing enough for taming. Most of them will give you an engram when you first tame them, this engram is a prerequisite for learning the main engrams of Zoology.

The Beginners  Pets

  • Archaeopteryx (Grants the player the Basic Pet Handling Certificate)
  • Compy (Grants the player the Basic Pet Handling Certificate)
  • Dilophosaur
  • Dimorphodon (Grants the player the Basic Pet Handling Certificate)
  • Dodo (Grants the player the Basic Pet Handling Certificate)
  • Ichthyornis (Grants the player the Basic Pet Handling Certificate)
  • Jerboa (Grants the player the Basic Pet Handling Certificate)
  • Mesopithecus (Grants the player the Basic Pet Handling Certificate)
  • Pegomastax
  • Vulture (Grants the player the Basic Pet Handling Certificate)

Once you have the basic pet handling skills you can start to learn the more advanced Zoology certificates.  Before you can start to study any other creature on the ARK you will need to learn the appropriate knowledge, this does not allow you to tame the creature, it allows you to start studying them.  All animals not listed above require one of the main certificates or diplomas before you may study them.