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What is an organism?

A:

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An organism is a living entity composed of many interrelated components that work together to achieve a common goal. Organisms come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and lifestyles, but they all share some similar traits. All organisms require food and excrete waste, grow, reproduce and, ultimately, die.

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Animals are the most obvious types of organisms. Animals are the most mobile and active of the organisms, and they include such species as humans, sharks and ants. Each has evolved survive in their particular niche.

Plants are one of the largest groups of organisms, and they form an important part of the food chain. Plants are called “the producers” of the living world, as they harness sunlight and turn it into a form of chemical energy. Called photosynthesis, this process enables the entire food chain to function.

Bacteria are some of the most numerous organisms, as they live on virtually every surface on planet Earth. Bacteria are very simple organisms, and their direct ancestors may have been some of the earliest forms of life. Many bacteria are beneficial and necessary for life, while others can be very harmful. Other types of organisms include protozoa, algae and fungi. Scientists disagree over whether viruses are organisms.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are physical and behavioral adaptations?

    A:

    An adaptation is defined by National Geographic as a genetic change in the structure or habits of an organism to allow it to survive, protect itself and reproduce in its environment. Physical adaptations, such as plants that develop thick stems to store water in deserts, manifest in the structure of the organism, while behavioral adaptations, such as animals that migrate to raise offspring, appear as a social trait.

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  • Q:

    What is a non-living organism?

    A:

    A non-living organism is defined as an organism that lacks, or has stopped showing, signs of life. Non-living organisms are inanimate and have stopped displaying capabilities for growth, reproduction, respiration, metabolism and movement. These organisms also lack the ability to respond to stimuli and adapt to their environment. Non-living organisms do not require energy to continue in existence.

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  • Q:

    What is mosaic evolution?

    A:

    Mosaic evolution occurs when the gene alleles of an organism or species evolve at different rates. Marks of mosaic evolution include the development of features within a species or organism at different times.

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  • Q:

    What is an acquired trait?

    A:

    An acquired trait is a physical characteristic of an organism that is not passed down to offspring genetically. It is not coded in the organism's DNA and is a product of the environment's influence on the organism.

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