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Difference between Living Things and Non-Living Things

There are several things on this planet that are either living or non-living. We have various things on earth like mountains, oceans, beaches, etc. But all these things that nature has to offer are categorized into two significant kinds, i.e., living things and non-living things. Both these non-living and living things play an important role in environment. The basic difference between them is that living things grow, eat, reproduce, etc., while non-living things are not capable of such functions. But sometimes, non-living things have negative impacts on the environment because of the material they are made of. Living things like humans and animals are productive for the environment. Well, there are a lot of differences among these non-living and living things. But before that, it is essential to understand the fundamental meaning of such terms. So, let us discuss them in detail.

Difference between Living Things and Non-Living Things

Living Things

A living thing comprises of cells. They are called as organisms that can either be single-celled or multiple-celled. Living things have several qualities. For instance, responding to stimuli, reproducing, adapting to the environment, ability to move, etc., are some of the characteristics of living things. Living things/ organisms gain energy from the food they eat and sustain themselves. Now, these living organisms can either feed on the living beings or dead beings. For instance, carnivores like lions or tigers sometimes feed on dead animals like deer, etc. Plants, animals, and humans are biotic parts of the environment. Well, there are a lot of characteristics exhibited by living things. Living organisms have microscopic structures. All these creatures gain energy through cellular respiration. Through the process of cellular respiration, these organisms perform various functions. The cycle of a living organism goes like; birth, growing, reproduce, and death.

Non-Living Things

Non-living things are defined as things that can take any form, have the ability to manipulate/ influence, and impact one's life. Well, in biology, a non-living thing is defined as a thing without life. Examples of non-living things include rocks, buildings, weather, air, chair, etc. Non-living things are also called inanimate things. There are many characteristics of these non-living things. For instance, they cannot excrete, grow, eat, reproduce, adapt, etc. Basically, the non-living things cannot perform the functions which the living things are capable of performing. There is one more kind of non-living things, i.e., natural non-living things. Natural non-living things are defined as things that are founded in nature. Such things are not made by man. For instance, weather, sky, clouds, mountains, etc., are natural non-living things. Now, let us look at the contrasting points between them.

1. Living things are defined as organisms that have life. Non-living things are defined as things without life.
2. Living organisms can be single-celled or multiple-celled. Non-living things do not comprise of cells.
3. Living things perform various functions like growing, excreting, reproducing, moving, adapting, etc. No such function is fulfilled by non-living things.
4. Living things are also called organisms. Non-living things are called inanimate things.
5. They are biotic components of the environment. They are abiotic components.
6. Living things depend on food, air, and water for their sustenance. Non-living things do not need such things.
7. Living things are capable of responding to stimuli. Non-living things are neither sensitive nor are they, respondents, to stimuli.
8. Living things always undergo metabolic reactions. Non-living things do not undergo metabolic reactions.
9. Growth and development are visible in living organisms. For instance, a child growing into an adult. No growth or development is visible in non-living things.
10. Living things are mortal, i.e., they have a limited lifespan. Non-living things are immortal, i.e., they have an unlimited lifespan.
11. Living organisms have the ability to move. They can change positions. Non-living organisms do not possess such abilities.
12. Cellular respiration happens in living organisms. Cellular respiration does not happen in non-living organisms.
13. The exchange of gases and respiration takes place in such organisms. Exchange of gases or respiration does not occur in non-living things.
14. Examples:
  • Humans
  • Animals
  • Plants
  • Insects
  • Rocks
  • Buildings
  • Climate
  • Gadgets
  • Sky
  • Clouds

So, these are some of the contrasting points between living and non-living things. Both non-living and living things are essential parts of nature. Well, they possess many characteristics. So, let us take a look at them.

Characteristics of Living Organisms

  1. Living organisms are capable of moving. Locomotory organs are present in many animals like earthworms.
  2. Earthworms are capable of moving under the soil through these muscles.
  3. Respiration takes place in living organisms, i.e., the release of energy from the food they ate.
  4. The exchange of gases occurs in these organisms, i.e., breaking the food into smaller units so that the energy is released. This energy is utilized for producing water and carbon dioxide.
  5. Living things respond to the stimuli and are sensitive to touch.
  6. Living organisms grow and become mature. They develop through various phases of life.
  7. Living organisms reproduce. In this process, the genetic knowledge and information are transferred from the parent to the child.
  8. Living organisms fulfill their need for nutrition and digestion through food. Well, it is interesting to note that some of the living organisms are autotrophic, i.e., they are capable of using the sun's energy to make their food.
  9. Living things excrete, i.e., the digested food is extracted from the body through this process.

Characteristics of Non-Living Things

  1. Non-living things do not have a basis for living. They do have cells and are lifeless.
  2. Non-living things do not have protoplasm.
  3. Non-living things do not have a particular shape or size. For instance, liquid can take any form when poured into a container. Likewise, rocks also do not have a definite shape or size.
  4. Non-living things are immortal as they do not have cells. They do not grow or die. Thus, they are immortal.
  5. Functions like excretion, growth, reproduction, respiration cannot be performed by non-living things.

So, these are some of the features of non-living and living things. Well, both living and non-living things have specific importance in nature. These organisms and inanimate objects have certain contrasting points that have been mentioned above. Thus, both living and non-living things are essential parts of the earth.

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