Living and Non Living Things - Characteristics and Differences
Living and Non Living Things – Characteristics and Differences
Living things and Non Living things
We have so many things in our surroundings. Some things move, while some don’t. These things exist around us all across the world. So to have an understanding of these things, they have been classified into two types:
Living things – These are things that have a life.
Nonliving things – These are things that do not have a life.
Examples include the beautiful trees, the giant mountains, the tiny ants, the solid land, the sweet birds, and many more.
Several other criteria distinguish these two categories. These differentiating features are not necessarily actions such as moving, jogging, eating but rather much more.
A lot of things on this planet have life despite not having any movement or any eating habits. Plants do not eat, but they do have a life. Despite not being visible to the naked eye, Bacteria is considered the first type of living organism on Earth.
What are Living things?
All living organisms can breathe, consume, grow, reproduce and have senses. They comprise microscopic structures known as cells. Their ability to develop and move is known as locomotion.
Examples – Animals, birds, insects, human beings, etc.
Since they contain cells, they undergo a process called metabolism. Metabolism is of two types –
Anabolic Metabolism – In this process, simple molecules build up into larger, complex molecules.
Catabolic Metabolism – It focuses on the breakdown of larger molecules into smaller molecules.
Through reproduction, living organisms are capable of generating new life that is of their type. They have a finite life span and are thus not immortal.
Cellular Respiration allows living organisms to get energy, which cells use to execute their activities. They generate energy using food and expel waste from the body. Their life cycle is as follows: birth, growth, reproduction and death.
Characteristics of Living Things
Locomotion: Living organisms move because they have locomotory motion. Animals have locomotory organs, while plants move for photosynthesis.
For example – Earthworms use longitudinal and circular muscles to move across the soil surface. Plants move to capture sunlight for
Respiration: Respiration is a chemical reaction that takes place inside the cells to form energy from meals. It carries gases inside the body. Food is broken down during the digestive process to release energy. The body uses this energy to create water and CO2 as byproducts in humans.
Response to stimulus: Living organisms are sensitive. Therefore, they react to these changes or any stimuli and may detect changes in their surroundings.
Growth: They evolve and mature via many phases of development.
Reproduction: Reproduction is a process under which genetic information gets transferred from the parents to the off-springs.
Nutrition: Nutrition is needed for living organisms to survive. It entails absorbing and digesting food. Some living organisms are also That means they can use the energy of the sun to produce food (also called autotrophs).
Excretion: Excretion is the process through which digested food gets removed from the body.
What are Non-living things?
Nonliving things do not consume, grow, breathe, move, or reproduce. They do not possess life and are not alive. Therefore, they do not have senses. They lack cells, do not develop, and do not exhibit locomotion.
Nonliving things have no life span. Hence, they don’t respire and do not excrete since they do not require food for energy. They do not follow any life cycle. External forces build and destroy them as well.
Examples – Stone, pen, book, cycle, bottle, etc
Characteristics of Non-living Things
Lifeless: Non-living things have no life. They lack cells and protoplasm, both of which are required for life to exist.
Lack of protoplasm: Lack of protoplasm leads to results in no metabolic activities.
Indefinite size: Non-living things do not have a distinct and definite size of their own. Therefore, they take the shape of the substance in which they get confined. For example, liquids take on the figure of their container.
External influences cause changes in the conditions of non-living entities. For example, changes in the environment give shape to stones, rocks, and boulders.
Growth by accretion: Non-living things “grow” through accretion. It happens through the addition of materials externally. A snowball, for instance, may grow in size due to the accumulation of smaller units on its outer surface.
No life span: Non-living things don’t die because they lack cells with a definite lifespan. The ability to live forever is a distinguishing factor.
Life processes absent: Non-living entities lack fundamental life functions such as reproduction, nourishment, excretion, etc.
Difference between Living and Non-living things
The difference between living and non living things are listed below:
Non Living Things
They have a limited lifespan and are not immortal.
There is no lifespan in non-living things, and they are immortal.
Living things migrate from one location to another.
Non-living things cannot move on their own.
They respire and exchange gases within their cells.
They do not respire.
They are alive.
They do not have life.
They can give birth to their off-springs.
Reproduction does not occur in non-living things.
Living organisms need water, air and nourishment to survive.
Such requirements do not apply to living things.
These things are sensitive to stimuli and respond to them.
Non-living things are not responsive to stimuli and do not respond to them.
Metabolic reactions continuously take place.
In this case, there are no metabolic reactions.
They grow and develop.
They do not grow and develop.
Examples – Humans, animals, plants, insects
Examples – Rock, pen, buildings, gadgets
Some Frequently Asked Questions
Why are nonliving things unable to respire?
Non-living organisms do not have metabolic processes going on inside of them. They do neither generate energy nor do they consume it in any way. As a result, nonliving things do not require breathing and respiring.
Are plants living organisms?
Plants have cells, which are the fundamental unit of life in all living organisms. Cells indicate the presence of metabolic activity and different living processes. The plant requires nourishment and expels wastes in the form of water and gases. Plants exhibit other life activities as well, such as reproduction and growth. Plants can’t move from one place to another directly but are bent towards a light source to survive. As a result, plants get classified as living things.
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