Q:

What is a living thing?

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Quick Answer

Living things are biological structures that respond to changes in the environment or within their own entities. This includes animals, plants, fungi and the single-celled organisms known as bacteria. Living things have complex biochemical organizations that allow them to process substances and utilize energy in order to respond to changes around them.

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What is a living thing?
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Full Answer

According to New Mexico Tech, all living things display the seven characteristics of life. The first of these is that they are comprised of cells. Single-celled organisms have only one cell that completes all of the necessary tasks of life, while multicellular organisms have many specialized cells. Living things are also complexly organized, both on the molecular and cellular level. In multicellular organisms, cells are organized into tissues, and tissues are organized into organs.

In order to be considered a living thing, a structure must take in energy and use it not only to respond to the environment, but also to grow and maintain itself. Living things grow in several ways; cells divide to form new cells, cells become larger, and an organism increases in size as its number of cells increases. The sixth characteristic of life is the ability to reproduce, and the seventh is the ability to adapt to the environment. Though individual organisms may not satisfy these final two characteristics, groups of similar organisms must in order to be considered "living things."

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the key differences between living and nonliving organisms?

    A:

    The main difference between living and non-living things is that a living organism is or was once alive, whereas a non-living thing has never been alive. Non-living is not the same as being dead because non-living things were never alive and therefore cannot die.

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  • Q:

    What do all living things need?

    A:

    All living things require a source of energy, nutrients, water, space to grow and reproduce, and a relatively stable environment that allows homeostasis. Many organisms also require oxygen, but this is not a universal requirement, and oxygen is actually deadly to certain organisms. Indeed, beyond these basic categories of needs, the requirements of organisms vary vastly from species to species.

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    What are some of the differences between living things and non living things?

    A:

    Some of the characteristics of living things are the ability to reproduce, active response and adaptation to the surrounding environment, cell composition and growth and development. Life forms have to exhibit all the characteristics to be considered a life form; spontaneous generation from chemical reactions is not an example of a life form.

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  • Q:

    What does "fungi" mean?

    A:

    Fungi refers to any member of the animal kingdom Fungi; these organisms are heterotrophs that feed on things already present in their environment. Fungi is the plural form of the word fungus.

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