What are the characteristics of living things and non-living things?
“Seeing is believing”; this is not true, at least not always. The statement does have enough exceptions. The living and non-living things are the best instances. Some objects do possess that elusive thing called life although they might not show the evident signs of life like a human. A tree would probably not react the same way a human would when you hit it or it might not walk around. Since the signs of life displayed by them are least observable does not make them any less alive or non-living. For easy differentiation between living things and non-living things, scientists have come up with traits or characteristics that are unique to them.
The criterion for classification is necessary to avoid the wrong grouping. Hence science developed a basis for classification. Anything that is or has ever been alive is considered as living beings (humans, trees, dogs, etc). This even includes a dead body. While things which have never been alive (stone, mountain, watch, etc) are considered as non-living. Scientists have six criteria for defining something as a living thing.
- Living beings are made of cells.
- Living beings obtain and use energy.
- Living beings grow and develop.
- Living beings reproduce.
- Living beings respond to their environment or stimuli.
- Living beings adapt to their environment.
If something obeys just one or few of the rules, it cannot be categorized as a living thing. It has to stringently follow all the given rules. For example, an icicle, although it grows (increase it mass or length) it is still a non-living thing since it cannot reproduce, or respond to stimuli. Non-living things do not follow any life processes as in living beings. Living beings use the non-living things to carry out their life processes.
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