One of the most basic questions that Biology answers is “What is life?“. How do we know if something is alive?
‘Life’ is the name or label used to separate things that are ‘animate’ from inanimate natural objects such as rocks and water and inanimate man-made objects like houses and windmills.
To explore this, let’s look at some examples of living and non-living things.
What are some living things?
The crawling baby, the barking dog, the apple tree, the chirping bird, the fish in the pond, and the beetle on the flower are all living – all of these share the characteristics or properties that define what life is.
Bacteria, algae and fungi are very different from the living things described above but possesses all the characteristics and are therefore also living things.
Can you make a list of what all the above have in common?
What are some non-living things?
The ‘artificial’ or man-made non-living things (a book, a car, a are clear to us, but what of the ones that occur in nature? Fire has some of these characteristics but not all – so it is not a living thing. Water flowing in a river, wood logs cut from a living tree, mountains, sunlight and wind are all non-living things.
Can you begin to guess what these characteristics are? Hint – there is a list….
So what are the characteristics of life? Click below to learn about them!