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The 8 Characteristics of Living Things

The 8 Characteristics of Living Things Overall in science there are 8 characteristics that can be used to determine whether something is living or non-living. Living things are made of cells, have levels of organization, grow & develop, maintain homeostasis, process by metabolism, respond to stimuli, reproduce & evolve over time. Yes those are the eight characteristics of a living thing.

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The first characteristic is that all living things are made of one or more cells. For instance living things are all multi-cellular, WE HUMANS, are multi-cellular. On the other hand though bacteria are unicellular but it’s also living.

Multi-cellular organisms are made of many cells. The cell is the basic unit of life. The second characteristic is all living things display organization. Different parts of a cell are organized to do different jobs. Different parts of a body are organized to do different jobs also. The levels of organization in biological systems begin with atoms and molecules and increase in complexity. The next characteristic is all living things grow & develop. We humans are born as babies & grow into adults. Our body grows and changes, so do plants! They grow from root, to stem into big plants.

The cells get bigger and organisms develop, become more complex and gain new characteristics over their life span. The fourth characteristic is all living things respond to stimuli, they react to environmental changes. The reaction to a stimulus is a response. Organisms can sense stimuli in their environment and react appropriately. If an organism is unable to respond to harm it might not live long enough to reproduce. For example when you go to the doctor and they tap you on your knee, they are trying to test your reflexes. The fifth characteristic is that all living things reproduce.

Humans have kids and babies, then they reproduce and it goes on again forever! Animals mate and have their children too. Reproduction is important because it makes your species go on. All living organisms have ways to reproduce weather asexually or sexually to produce an offspring. The sixth characteristic is that all living things take in ENERGY! We do that by eating, when you’re hungry in class and all you think about it food it’s because you’re hungry & you NEED to eat. Plants produce their food by using sunlight and photosynthesis. All living things break down food to make energy for themselves.

Because good gives you protein & the good stuff you need for your body! Energy is required for ALL life processes. Almost done! The seventh one is that all living things maintain homeostasis. Now you’re probably thinking what’s that? Homeostasis is all the things organisms do to regulate their internal conditions and stay alive. For example you perspire (sweat) to cool off. Perspiring and eating are examples of maintain homeostasis. If an organism doesn’t maintain homeostasis they die. Like amoebas maintain homeostasis by moving towards food and away from danger.

Finally, the last one is living things can adapt to the ever changing environmental conditions, in other words they can EVOLVE. Which simply mean we & other living things can change, weather it’s over a 100 years or a 1,000. Populations of species of organisms change over time over many generations. At time goes on they adapt more and more to the environment. Conclusion time, I listed all the eight characteristics. And they are all important when classifying if something is living or not. But yet we humans do all those things & plants and animals. We are all living and we need to maintain homeostasis!