Q:

In what sense are protists primitive?

A:

One way in which protists are considered primitive is that they are mostly unicellular, and the ones that are multicellular do not organize their cells into specialized tissues. However, protists have been evolving just as long as other life on Earth and are not necessarily primitive beings.

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Full Answer

Scientists originally thought protists were the most primitive organisms alive, and their forms had remained stable throughout the billions of years life has existed on Earth. It is now known that the similarities between protists are actually superficial, and they are actually many different groups of creatures that have been changing and adapting for billions of years. Some protists are derived from more complex ancestors. Therefore, their seemingly primitive organization may not be representative of what truly primitive life forms are like.

Protists are defined not in terms of their supposed primitiveness but according to an inability to place them comfortably within the plant, animal or fungal kingdoms. Many scientists do not recognize the category at all as biologically valid, because protists are so diverse and have multiple origins.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why are protists important to humans?

    A:

    Various protist species are important to humans because they are the primary producers at the base of the food pyramid, turning the energy from the sun into a form that can be passed from organism to organism up the food pyramid. Protists also stabilize the ion levels of water, which allows seaweed and fish, both of which are important food sources for humans, to thrive.

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  • Q:

    How do protists reproduce?

    A:

    Protists are a diverse group of organisms, and they reproduce in a number of different ways, including asexual binary fission, multiple fission, fragmentation and several forms of sexual reproduction. Many protists can reproduce either sexually or asexually depending on environmental conditions.

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  • Q:

    Where do protists live?

    A:

    Protists live in lakes, rivers, oceans, ponds and wet sediments. Since they are microscopic organisms, they can live in just about any part of the world that has traces of water to support their life.

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  • Q:

    What do all protists have in common?

    A:

    All protists are eukaryotic, meaning they feature a cellular structure with nuclei to contain their genetic material. Also called protozoans, which means "first animals," all protists prefer a moist environment and are found where there is perpetually moist soil or in freshwater and saltwater bodies of water.

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