What Are Some Similarities and Differences Between Living and Nonliving Things?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 2, 2020 8:01:13 AM ET

Some similarities shared between living and nonliving things are they are composed of matter and conform to the laws of physics. There are many differences between the two groups, including lifespan, energy requirements, adaptation and response to stimuli.

While both living and nonliving things are comprised of matter, living things are made of cells and have organized systems within their biological makeup to carry out necessary functions such as reproduction and excretion of waste products. These systems are not present in nonliving things.

Living things have a lifespan that usually includes birth, growth, reproduction and death. Animals reproduce by giving birth or laying eggs. Plants reproduce through the process of pollination and the production of seeds, while bacteria reproduce by binary fission. No systems of reproduction are present in nonliving things.

Additionally, nonliving objects do not die and only cease to exist when worn down over time by their environment or destroyed by an external force. Nonliving things have no energy requirements, but all living organisms obtain and use energy for necessary functions. Living things respond and have the ability to adapt to their environments. Adaptation can take place through natural selection or learned behavior changes. Nonliving things never display any adaptation.