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Living Things vs. Non-living Things: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 5, 2023
Living Things exhibit growth, reproduction, and metabolism, while Non-living Things lack these biological processes and characteristics.

Key Differences

Living Things are entities that possess the characteristics of life, including the ability to grow, reproduce, and respond to stimuli. These beings have a cellular structure and undergo metabolism, which is the set of life-sustaining chemical reactions within cells. Non-living Things, conversely, don't have cells, can't reproduce or grow, and don't exhibit metabolism.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 05, 2023
A significant distinction between Living Things and Non-living Things is their interaction with the environment. Living Things can respond to changes in their surroundings, adapting over time, and evolving as a species. Non-living Things, on the other hand, remain static and don't evolve or adapt in a biological sense.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 05, 2023
Another critical characteristic of Living Things is their ability to reproduce. This reproduction can be sexual, requiring two individuals, or asexual, where an organism can reproduce on its own. Non-living Things lack this capacity. For instance, while a plant (a living thing) can produce seeds that grow into new plants, a rock (a non-living thing) doesn't produce other rocks.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 05, 2023
Moreover, Living Things have a life span and eventually die, after which they decompose, returning essential nutrients to the environment. Non-living Things don't have a life span in the biological sense; they might undergo physical changes or degrade over time but don't "die" as living organisms do.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 05, 2023
Both Living Things and Non-living Things play crucial roles in the ecosystem. While Living Things are part of the biotic components, interacting and contributing to the food chain, Non-living Things form the abiotic elements, providing essential resources and conditions for life to thrive.
Harlon Moss
Oct 05, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Cellular Structure

Possess cells
Lack cells
Sumera Saeed
Oct 05, 2023

Metabolism

Exhibit metabolism
Don't exhibit metabolism
Sumera Saeed
Oct 05, 2023

Reproduction

Can reproduce
Can't reproduce
Sumera Saeed
Oct 05, 2023

Interaction with Environment

Respond to and adapt to changes
Remain static
Janet White
Oct 05, 2023

Life Span

Have a life span and die
Don't have a biological life span
Sara Rehman
Oct 05, 2023
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Living Things and Non-living Things Definitions

Living Things

Entities that can reproduce and introduce new individuals to their species.
Birds are living things that lay eggs, leading to the birth of chicks.
Huma Saeed
Oct 05, 2023

Non-living Things

Items that remain static and unchanging unless acted upon by external forces.
A stone, being a non-living thing, remains unchanged unless eroded or shaped.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 05, 2023

Living Things

Entities that have a life cycle, including birth and death.
Flowers are living things that bloom, reproduce, and eventually wither.
Sara Rehman
Oct 05, 2023

Non-living Things

Objects that lack the ability to grow, reproduce, or metabolize.
A chair is a non-living thing, static in its form and function.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 05, 2023

Living Things

Living Things possess the ability to grow and develop over time.
Trees are living things that grow taller and broader as they age.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 05, 2023

Non-living Things

Objects that don't have a biological life span or experience death.
A glass bottle, a non-living thing, doesn't age or die in a biological sense.
Sara Rehman
Oct 05, 2023

Living Things

Beings that can sense and react to changes in their environment.
Fish, being living things, swim away when they sense danger.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 05, 2023

Non-living Things

Entities that don't interact biologically with their environment.
A pen, a non-living thing, doesn't respond or adapt to environmental changes.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 05, 2023

Living Things

Organisms with cellular structures undergoing metabolism.
Humans, as living things, have trillions of cells that perform various functions.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 05, 2023

Non-living Things

Things that don't have cellular structures or life processes.
A metal nail, being a non-living thing, doesn't possess cells or life functions.
Huma Saeed
Oct 05, 2023

FAQs

What defines Living Things?

Living Things grow, reproduce, metabolize, and have cellular structures.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 05, 2023

Can Non-living Things change form over time?

Yes, Non-living Things can change physically due to external factors, but not biologically.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 05, 2023

What's the key cellular distinction between Living Things and Non-living Things?

Living Things possess cells, while Non-living Things do not.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 05, 2023

Do Non-living Things play a role in ecosystems?

Absolutely, Non-living Things, as abiotic factors, provide essential conditions and resources for Living Things.
Harlon Moss
Oct 05, 2023

How do Living Things get energy?

Living Things obtain energy from food, photosynthesis, or other organisms, depending on the species.
Sara Rehman
Oct 05, 2023

Can Non-living Things deteriorate over time?

Yes, Non-living Things can degrade or change due to physical or chemical processes, not biological aging.
Janet White
Oct 05, 2023

Are all animals and plants Living Things?

Yes, all animals and plants are categorized as Living Things.
Janet White
Oct 05, 2023

Can Non-living Things be created by Living Things?

Yes, for example, a beaver creates a dam, a Non-living Thing.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 05, 2023

Can Living Things become Non-living Things?

When Living Things die, their remains are non-living, though they once exhibited life processes.
Harlon Moss
Oct 05, 2023

Can both Living Things and Non-living Things impact the environment?

Yes, both can influence their surroundings in various ways, biologically or physically.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 05, 2023

Can Non-living Things grow or reproduce?

No, Non-living Things lack growth, reproduction, and metabolism.
Huma Saeed
Oct 05, 2023

Are viruses considered Living Things?

It's debated; viruses show some characteristics of Living Things when inside a host but lack others, like metabolism on their own.
Harlon Moss
Oct 05, 2023

Do Non-living Things have DNA?

No, DNA is a characteristic of Living Things, and Non-living Things don't possess it.
Harlon Moss
Oct 05, 2023

Can Living Things adapt to their environment?

Yes, Living Things can adapt and evolve in response to environmental changes.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 05, 2023

Is there any gray area between Living Things and Non-living Things?

Entities like viruses present a gray area, exhibiting both living and non-living characteristics.
Janet White
Oct 05, 2023

Are machines considered Living Things?

No, machines are Non-living Things, even if they exhibit movement or complex functions.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 05, 2023

Do Living Things always need oxygen?

Not always. While many Living Things need oxygen, some can live in anaerobic conditions.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 05, 2023

Can Non-living Things produce energy?

No, Non-living Things don't produce energy, but they can transfer or store it.
Harlon Moss
Oct 05, 2023

Do all Living Things require water?

While water is vital for most Living Things, some organisms can survive in extreme conditions with minimal water.
Janet White
Oct 05, 2023

Are synthetic life forms considered Living Things?

If they exhibit the characteristics of life, such as growth and reproduction, they're considered Living Things.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 05, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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