I have decided to page the “What is Life” series. I have updated some information and rearranged some stuff. It also has some new, cool pictures and, not to mention the easy way you can share it with your friends.

Not too long ago, we studied the characteristics of life in my biology class. It was all quite interesting and worthy of sharing with the entire world.

First of all, we have to figure out what characteristics make something living or not. We cannot just say everything on the planet is alive. No, we have to have some kind of distinction between living and non-living. So, scientists tried to figure this out; they went through a lot of questions and eventually came up with the following.

Characteristics of life (in no particular order):

  • Stimulus response
  • Homeostasis
  • Adaptation
  • Reproduction
  • Energy – harvesting and using it
  • Growth
  • Organization/made up of cells

Just remember them as the Lively 7. Or



Everything that is alive has to respond to changes. This is called a “stimulus response”; life needs this. One kind of response would take form in plants’ leaves turning to capture more sunlight for photosynthesis.

Stimulus response is usually made by movement or chemical changes and can keep a steady balance in a healthy environment.

But, this response isn’t just a meaningless juncture of movement or changes, no; this response requires something unique but still can not define life by itself.

If you had water, which is not alive, and you tried to make it respond to stimulus . . . it would do it. For example, let’s say our water is peacefully running down a river. Then, suddenly, a boulder falls from a nearby slope and jams up the river. Now, is the water going to stop flowing? Is it going to say, “oh well, I can’t respond to stimulus so I cannot move forward?” No!

This water will eventually make its way around or above the rock. This required a response to stimulus. Now, the water isn’t alive, but things that are alive require stimulus. Response to stimulus is just one aspect of life, you need all seven, remember?

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