In our day to day life, we come across a variety of things that we do not tend to notice. Our planet ‘Earth’, in which we live itself surrounded by plenty of varied ‘things’ or ‘species’. These “things” comprised of two basic types–“ Living” and “Non-living”.
Each of these types is entirely different from each other. Both of these have their own set of rules by which they categorised from each other. But If something obeys only a few rules, it just cannot fall into its category. So it needs to follow all the stated rules of that particular category. An animal or plant is still called a living thing even after it dies, which shows the strict categorisation of the two types of things.
Living things are alive, and they do exist in nature. They are made up of microscopic structures, i.e., cells. Once they grow, they start moving (locomotion). All living things breathe, eat, grow, move, reproduce and have senses too while non-living things do not eat, grow, breathe, move and reproduce and neither do they have senses. Let us have detailed knowledge about it.
Living things exist’ means that they have life in them. We are aware that plants are also living things. But there is a little bit of difference in its characteristics. They cannot move, walk, speak or react just the way we humans do. But they are still called living things only because they reproduce and take in food just like humans.
The main characteristics of living things:
Living things can reproduce, i.e., they produce new species of their kind through reproduction. All kinds of living things have their life spans, i.e.; the period between their birth till their death. Their life cycle involves – birth, growth, reproduction and death. Through this reproduction, genetic information passed from the parent to their young ones. And this is one of the essential features which differentiates it from the non-living things.
Living things can respire and breathe. Living organisms gain energy through respiration, i.e., cellular respiration. The cells of living organisms use this energy to perform various body functions. Their body uses this energy to produce water and carbon dioxide. Its a kind of chemical reaction. Gases also get transported through respiration.
Living things possess motion, i.e., they move. This kind of motion is called “locomotory motion”. And for this movement, they have a unique type of moving organs. Different living things have different types of locomotory organs. For example, human beings move through their legs; some animals use their hands and legs, some insects/worms move to make use of their longitudinal/circular muscles while plants respond to the movement of the sun.
Living things can even sense or feel the touch and respond to the stimuli accordingly. They also can detect the changes going on in the environment. Living things grow, and their growth takes place in different phases and stages. And in each phase, they develop new features, and they also start maturing.
Living things can consume their food according to their required nutrition. While animals can engulf the food and digest it, plants, on the other hand, are autotrophic, i.e., they make their food with the help of nature. And this digested food is then excreted through the process of ‘excretion’.
Examples of living things include plants, animals, micro-organisms and human beings(social-animal).
Non-living things do not live, i.e., they do not have any life. They do not have cells, and neither do they grow or show any movement (locomotion). Their significant difference in living things is that they do not reproduce. Non-living things do not possess any life span because they have no life in them. They cannot respire as they have no requirement of food or energy and therefore they do not excrete as well. Non-living things can be created or destroyed by any of the external forces.
The main characteristics of non-living things:
They are lifeless, i.e., No life exists for them. They do not show any kind of metabolic activities like living things. Non-living things do not have any shape or size of their own. They can take the form of any container in which they kept, or they can also be changed by the external forces of the environment. They grow when external materials are added to it, i.e., accretion. Non-living things never die as they never take birth. They are immortal. And this is a factor which differentiates it from living things.
While living things possess fundamental life processes like reproduction, nutrition, excretion, on the other hand, non-living things do not exhibit these.
Examples of nonliving things include rocks, water, rain, air, sunlight, etc.