The Five Characteristics of Life

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The five Characteristics of Life

1. Cells 2. Obtain and Use Energy 3. Reproduction 4. Respond to the Environment 5. Adapt/Evolve


1. Cell- A basic unit of structure and function. Example- Bone cells 2. Multicellular- Consisting of more than one cell Examples- Humans, Lions, etc. 3. Unicellular- Consisting of one cell Examples: Bacteria, Archaea, etc.

Levels of Organization

1.Cells- Basic units of structure and function in living things. Examples- Skin cells, Bone cells, etc. 2.Tissues- Gathering of cells in new organisms. Examples- Nerve and Muscle tissues 3. Organs- A group of tissues that perform a specific job. Examples- Heart, Roots/Stems. 4. Organ System- A group of organs that get together to do a particular task. Examples- Muscular System, Cardiovascular System, Skeletal System. 5. Organism- An individual living that can react and reproduce. Examples- Bacteria, Humans, etc.


1. Sexual Reproduction- The production of living organisms to make a new organism. 2. Asexual Reproduction- The process of which single organisms can reproduce without aid of another. 3. The ability to produce to new organisms of the same type


The study of how biological life could arise from one inorganic matter.


The production of living organisms from another living thing.

Obtain and Use Energy

Metabolism- Sum of all of the chemical reactions of the body.


The process involving a sequence of chemical reactions that constructs or synthesizes molecules from smaller units. Example- Photosynthesis


Breakdown of complex substances. Examples- Proteins to Amino Acids, breaking down of glucose to ATP, etc.


An organism that can make its own food. e.g. plants, bacteria and algae.


An organism that obtains food by eating other organisms. e.g. lions, fish, tigers, humans etc.

Respond to the environment

Irritability- the ability to react fast or slow.


Anything in the environment that causes organism to react. e.g. light, temperature, odor, sound, gravity, heat, water, and pressure.


How an organism reacts to its change.


The organism’s ability to regulate its internal conditions.

Adapt and evolve

Adaptation- An inherited trait that would help the organism’s ability to reproduce and survive.


The process of change. A genetic change in a species over a long time frame. e.g. The black beetles vs. the white beetles. Wolves with thick fur vs. wolves with thin fur.

Natural selection

Survival of the fittest (The organisms that have the best traits will be more likely to survive.)

The diagram of life

1. Birth/G&D 2. Maturity(able to reproduce) 3. Decline 4. Death

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