What is Life?

Life, as we know, exists only on planet earth. Life distinguishes itself from other physical entities through biological processes such as reproduction and metabolism. Today, life is abundant, and able to thrive in almost every conceivable environment. So how would one define life?

Definition of Life

Currently, there is no consensus on the definition of life. The most popular definitions build around the fact that life involves: homeostasis; is composed of cells; has a definite lifecycle; can grow; showcases metabolism; responds to stimuli; adapt to environment, reproduce and evolve. These characteristics are now known as life-processes.

Most definitions of life are descriptive. This is because life is technically a process rather than a substance. It becomes even more convoluted due to the lack of knowledge of the characteristics of organisms, if any, that may have developed in planets outside earth.

Life can also be defined from a physics perspective – where living organisms are considered as thermodynamic systems with an organised molecular structure that is capable of reproduction as well as evolution.

Frequently Asked Questions on What is Life

What are the characteristics of life?

Life shows the following characteristics: homeostasis; is composed of cells; has a definite lifecycle; can grow; showcases metabolism; responds to stimuli; adapt to environment, reproduce and evolve.

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