Biology is a natural science, a study that involves the physical world. The study specifically endeavors to understand life and the different aspects that it encompasses. It has deep roots in Greece leading to its name being coined from the Greek words “bios” and “logos”, which mean life and discourse respectively. This science has been significant for many years, mainly propelled by the need to understand human origin. Human beings have always been curious and determined to learn about themselves as well as their surroundings. Many theories were developed by philosophers in the early years on the origin of the earth and the organisms within it. During this period, life, as it is known now, was not well defined nor understood.
Life is a complex phenomenon that cannot be defined using one characteristic only. Some of the characteristics that are indicative of life include:
Every living organism on earth is obtained through the very vital process of reproduction. Organisms reproduce in many ways, but they all aim at enabling the continuity of a species. If living organisms in a particular species do not have the ability to multiply and produce viable offsprings, then the entire species becomes extinct. The recent death of the last male northern white rhino, for example, might be the end of the subspecies since there are only two remaining members, both of which are females. Reproduction is not necessary for an organism to exist, but it is essential for the survival of the species.
Growth and development
Once a new living organism is produced through reproduction, it undergoes the process of growth and development through which it is molded to become an independent organism capable of furthering the species. The organism undergoes visible changes in size and structure, which occur gradually.
Living organisms interact with their surroundings. It is, therefore, essential for them to be able to detect and respond to changes. Plants, for example, require light from the environment to survive. By observing the plants around us, it is clear that they grow towards the source of light present in their environment. Moving the source of light from its original position would cause a change in the direction of growth of the plant. A plant, therefore, has the ability to detect the light and react accordingly to any changes that occur. An event that causes a living organism to react is known as a stimulus. Response to stimuli is an essential characteristic of living organisms because it plays a significant role in survival.
For a living organism to be living, it needs to carry out different chemical reactions to sustain itself. These chemical reactions occur naturally within the cells of the organism. Human beings, for example, get energy from the food that they consume. The food undergoes different chemical processes in the body through which it is broken down to produce energy. The specific chemicals that are involved in the production of energy in the body are known as enzymes.
Life can be identified through its perfectly organized structure. The cell is the basic unit of life, thus every living organism has a cell in which different biological processes take place. Groups of cells form tissues and the tissues combine to form organs. Organs that function together form an organ system, which is contained in an organism. Some living organisms such as bacteria have only one cell while others, such as human beings, are made of multiple cells. Living organisms are also organized in their interactions whereby they form populations and communities among themselves. They also interact with the environment to form ecosystems.
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Many theories were developed by philosophers in the early years to explain the origin of the earth and the organisms within it. During this period, life, as it is known now, was not well defined nor understood. Through studying biology, life has been understood and a connection between human beings and other living things has been established. Biology is therefore an important science that gives individuals a useful understanding of life. In case of any difficulty experienced in this field, one can seek assistance for homework help in Biology from dedicated experts.