By Sandhya Jeremiah || 23 August 2020
The basic unit of any organism is a Cell. But there are certain specific aspects that describe what makes an organism alive. An amalgamation of all the ideas of various Researchers has been done, to enlist Eight Aspect of Life. But with these characteristics as well, there isn’t any compulsion, that all living organisms have to necessarily abide by all these aspects to be called a living organism. These Characteristics are as follows :
We all know that an organism is formed out of cells, these cells divide and organize themselves to occupy more space (Growth). So for instance, the Cells in a human body gradually form Tissues and tissues make up the Organs of the bodily system. These organs function, in order to maintain a status-quo inside our bodies. All of this happens, precisely because of a well-coordinated organization of Cells at the root level. This is the same for both the Unicellular and the Multicellular organisms.
Reproduction implies, reproducing a new offspring or organism either Asexually (Involving a single individual) or Sexually (Involving two individuals). This results in the continuum of the species. A living organism mostly has the ability to create a new organism through Reproduction.
This aspect of life can be described through a very simple example. When we hear someone calling us, we respond either verbally or do some movement. Secondly, when our fingers touch a hot cup of coffee accidentally, we immediately pull it back because it is hot. Thus, in simple words, it means Responding to any given stimuli in a situation or any environment which is a part of the enlisted characteristics of life.
Whenever any living organism takes in energy or nutrients, through food, they tend to grow in size. This can be measured in terms of the height and weight of any individual. But Growth also involves the Growing of Cells. For example, We were born through one or a few cells, as we grew older the number of cells also grew through cell division, so now your body might consist of trillions of cells.
A living organism works with the help of a well-performing complex structure, through which chemical reaction takes place inside of our bodies. From Respiration to the Digestion of food, substances are converted into energy and are utilized by the body. All these processes involving all the Biochemical reactions in totality can be clubbed under the heading of Metabolism. It often includes Anabolism and Catabolism and is very crucial for the proper functioning of the living organism.
As the heading suggests, our life doesn’t remain constant, it keeps on changing with time. With this change, we are exposed to various stimuli and different environments. Adapting to these changing environments and stimuli is considered important as if an individual doesn’t adapt, the process of Evolution might get stuck or get affected adversely.
The population of any environment might see a significant change, be it an increase or a decrease in the size of the population. In both cases, Change is prevalent. This is simple words is Evolution. A significant factor in Evolution is Natural Selection, which lays emphasis upon certain hereditary traits that might help organisms to survive better, which might become common and might pass down to the further species. Such as the light brown shade of a predator, which might help them in camouflage and eventually help them find their prey.
Homeostasis refers to the total balance of the equilibrium or the stable maintenance of the equilibrium in a manner, that the status-quo is ensured. It involves the stability of the internal mechanism of the living organism while the external environment might keep on changing. The maintenance of our Body Temperature is a prime example of this.