Words of Wisdom:

"Love is like a rose" - Barno

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  • Date Submitted: 09/02/2013 12:06 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 64.1 
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What is biology? Simply put, it is the study of life -- life in all of its grandeur. From the very small algae to the very large elephant, life has a certain wonder about it. With that in mind, how do we know if something is living? Is a virus alive or dead? What are the characteristics of life? These are all very important questions with equally important answers.

Characteristics of Life

Living things include both the visible world of animals and plants, as well as the invisible world of bacteria. On a basic level, we can say that life is ordered. Organisms have an enormously complex organization. We're all familiar with the intricate systems of the basic unit of life, the cell.

Life can also "work." No, not the daily employment variety, but living creatures can take in energy from the environment. This energy, in the form of food, is transformed to maintain metabolic processes and for survival.

Life grows and develops. This means more than just getting larger in size. Living organisms also have the ability to rebuild and repair themselves when injured.

Life can reproduce. Have you ever seen dirt reproduce? I don't think so. Life can only come from other living creatures.

Life can respond. Think about the last time you accidentally stubbed your toe. Almost instantly, you flinched back in pain. Life is characterized by this response to stimuli.

Finally, life can adapt and respond to the demands placed on it by the environment. There are three basic types of adaptations that can occur in higher organisms.

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