Do you wonder what characteristics do we observe for differentiating between living and non-living things?
When you go to a park or playground, you see so many things like grass, trees, people, pet animals, soil, water puddle, stones etc. some of them are living things, whereas others are non-living things. But how do we decide which ones are living things and which ones are not? What characteristics do the living things have that differentiate them from non-living things?
All living things have 8 characteristics in common. If something does not have even one of these characteristics, they can be considered non-living things. These characteristics are:
1. Need for Food
Organisms need energy for doing all their work. They get this energy by eating food. Plants prepare their food in the presence of sunlight through photosynthesis, whereas animals get their food from plants and other animals.
2. Growth from young to adult
All living organisms start their life from their very small self. As time passes, they grow and become full sized when they become adults. Plants grow from seeds to full grown trees and animals like dogs grow from being puppies to an adult dog.
Every organism needs air to breathe. Animals and plants both breathe in oxygen and throw out carbon dioxide. Plants also breathe in carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and give out oxygen during the process.
4. Response to stimuli
Stimulus is any change in the surroundings that make an organism to respond to them. There are different kinds of stimulus and organisms respond to them differently.
When put in a dark room with light coming from a hole in the side, plants bend their stem towards the light source. The light in this case is the stimulus and the movement of plants is the response.
Stimulus for animals, can be more easily observed because of the more rapid movements that animals do. They run away from heat and fires and move forwards when they see or smell tasty food. Heat, fire, sight and smell are all examples of stimuli, to which animals respond.
All the food that the organisms eat cannot be digested by their bodies. They absorb all the nutrients from food and throw out the rest. This process of throwing out the wastes from bodies is called excretion.
Excretion process is common in all animals. However, in plants, they produce wastes in the form of various secretions or store their wastes in a harmless way.
All types of organisms give birth little organisms. This is called reproduction. Chicken eggs are produced by chicken, dogs give birth to puppies and plants produce seeds. All of them grow into bigger organisms and reproduce more organisms.
All living things show movement. Animals can move in all kind of different ways. However, plants are rooted to the ground. They do not show much movement. However, food and water stored in plants move through their bodies. Opening and closing of flowers and leaves due to stimulus is another form of movement in plants.
Since all organisms grow continuously in their lives, after a certain age, all living organisms die. This is a fact that all organisms see in their lives. They reproduce so that their kind can survive for a long period of time, since death comes in every generation of organisms.
You saw all the many characteristics that living organisms possess. Can you compare them to non-living things and see the difference in these characteristics? Now you can answer all the questions about living beings from the chapter “The Living organisms- Characteristics and Habitats” from class 6 NCERT science textbook. With SeekoG, you can learn more of such concepts in no time at all. You can also book 1:1 tuition for specific concepts if you find them difficult to understand.