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Our Earth, which was formed billions and trillions of years ago, has many things.

Our Earth, which was formed billions and trillions of years ago, has many things. For Example – The trees, the river, the mountains, the plants, the land, the rock, the birds, the animals, etc. These are all part of our surroundings. We come in contact with them in our day to day lives. These things around us are differentiated into two types.

Everything that has life is called a living thing and everything that does not possess life is called a non-living thing. There are many factors that differentiate living things from nonliving things. This differentiating factor is not necessarily activities like moving, running, eating but much more. As we know, there are many things on Earth which do not move, run or eat but they are living things. Plants, for example, are not mobile. They do not eat, but plants have a life. Bacteria that are not even visible to naked eyes is believed to be the first kind of living thing on Earth. So, what are living and nonliving things and how do we differentiate between them?

The characteristics listed below are shown by all living organisms. These characteristics make up a living thing. These factors show the presence of life in these things. All living organisms take birth, grow, reproduce, and ultimately die. This is the life cycle of every living thing on Earth.

And, inside the cell, various activities function as operating systems of various tasks. The generation of energy for instance mostly takes place by cellular respiration. It is the process of absorbing nutrients from food and then turning it into energy.

Non-living things do not live. They exist on Earth, right from the time, Earth has formed. They can’t eat, breathe, live, grow, reproduce, or die. They remain in nature as it is. Although, over the course of evolution, they get degraded from their original form. But they can’t die and cease to exist on Earth. Unlike living things, whose continuity depends on the number of factors. Non-Living things are not dependent on such processes.

Example- Mountain, car, ship, water, house, etc.

Non-living things do not have metabolic activities that go on inside them. They do not produce energy or use it to carry out any process. Hence, non-living things do not need to breathe and do not respire.

All living organisms have cells as the basic unit of life. Plants also have them. The presence of cells shows the presence of metabolic activities and various life processes. The plant needs food and eliminates wastes in the form of gases and water. Plants also show other life processes like reproduction, growth. Plants do not move from one to another directly but bent towards a light source to live. Hence, plants come under living things.

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All things which possess life are living things.

Non-living things do not possess life.

Non-living things do not have cells.

Living things carry out metabolic activities inside their bodies to generate energy.

Non-living things cannot generate energy and have no metabolic activities going inside their bodies.

Living things respire and respiration ensures continuity of life.

Non-living things do not need to respire.

They show locomotion or movement on their own.

They cannot move on their own unless moved by an external force.

Living things show growth from within.

Non-living things do not grow on their own.

Living things can reproduce and produce offspring of their own.

Non-living things cannot reproduce and neither can they produce their offspring. 

Living things die due to age, disease or cell death, organ failure, etc.

Non-living things never cease to exist unless they are destroyed by an external force.

Living things eliminate waste from their body through the process of excretion.

Non-living things, neither eat food nor produce waste. Therefore, they do not show the process of excretion.  

Living things respond to the stimulus from the surrounding. Which implies that living things are sensitive.

Non-living things do not have this characteristic. They do not fall on their own without external force or have senses and hence, they do not respond to stimulus.