WHAT IS LIFE?
That itself is a philosophical question and can only be responded through philosophical explanations, which is subjected to the experience of the person explaining it. However, what you will learn in this presentation are the characteristics of living things, in other words, we will engage in discussions on what all living things have in common.
Since this course pursues the studies of living things, which includes their structures, their behavior with the living and the non-living environment and their modes of reproduction, we are entrenching in the science of biology, with the prefix "bio" meaning life and the suffix "logy" meaning the study of. We are therefore engaging in the study of life.
WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF LIFE? OR WHAT DO ALL LIVING THINGS HAVE IN COMMON?
Most people feel confident that they can tell the difference between the living and the nonliving, however, sometimes it is not so clear. In identifying living things you might ask, "Does it move? Does it grow? Does it reproduce?" These are all excellent questions, but consider a flame. A flame can move, it can grow and it can reproduce more flames. Are flames alive?
Anything that possesses the characteristics of life is called an organism. An organism is anything that is living, for example, humans, dogs, cats, bacteria, trees etc..
In order to determine if something is living or nonliving, there is a checklist that you must go through. Living things satisfy all of the conditions of this checklist.
CHECKLIST for CHARACTERISTICS OF LIFE.
- Adjust to their surroundings
- Living things adapt and evolve
- Living thing are made of cells
Organization, which refers to an orderly structure present in all livings. This manifest in their ability to efficiently copy their genetic information and reproduce themselves.
Reproduction refers to the ability of the organism to make an offspring or a baby.
Growth refers to the ability of living things to accumulate living materials or get bigger.
Development refers to all of the changes in the life of the organism, which include growth, attaining maturity etc..
Adjust to their surroundings refers to the need of organisms to maintain a balance of internal environment. For example, when you go outside on a cold day, even though you're cold on the outside, your body stays the same temperature on the inside. As changes occur inside or outside of the organism, the organism is able to respond in ways that maintain this stability.
Living things adapt and evolve, this refers to any structural, behavioral, or internal processes that enables the organism to survive the changes in the environment.
Living things are made of cell(s) One way to determine if something is living is decide as to whether that thing is made of cells. Because this a characteristic that is only shared by living things, the presence of cell(s) is a definite indicator. We can find out if something has cells by looking at it under a microscope.
Are rocks living or nonliving?
- Are rocks made of cells?
- Do rocks have organization?
- Do rocks reproduce?
- Do rocks growth?
- Do rocks undergo development?
- Do rocks adjust to their surroundings?
- Do rocks adapt and evolve?
If the answer is no for one or more of these questions, then the answer is no; rock is not alive.
- Organism any living thing
- Biology the study of life
- Stimulus any condition in the environment that requires the organism to adjust, for example, when you are hot, you sweat, when you are cold, your body shivers etc..
- Response is a reaction to a stimulus, the sweating and the shivering are responses to the organism's environment.
- Species a group of organism that can mate to have babies and these babies are able to mate and make more babies
- Energy is the ability to work
- Evolution is the gradual build up of adaptation overtime.
- Homeostasis is internal processes that maintain stability inside an organism.
List one characteristic of living things that is not found in nonliving things.
- If you say cell(s), you are correct because only living things are made of cells.
- Give example of an organism
- List two fields study by biologists
- When you increase your physical activity, your heart rate increases. Identify the stimulus and the response.
- Are cat and dogs the same species? Explain.
- How do we get our energy?
- How is adaptation different from evolution?
- What do living things need?
Identify the following as living or nonliving:
- bacteria ________________
- plants _________________
- cats ___________________
- birds __________________
- volcano ________________
- sand ___________________
- fire ____________________
Do living things depend on nonliving things?
- The answer to this question is yes. Living things depend on temperature, the sun, oxygen and water etc.. for their survival.
WHAT NONLIVING THING IS MOST IMPORTANT TO HUMANS?