In my biology class, we have debates about certain things. We recently just reviewed the seven characteristics of a living thing. I decided to bring up the question in class. Alot of people really fired back and said the Earth isn’t alive. So I decided to use some logic and the seven characteristics to debunk the idea that Earth is just a lifeless ball of living things on it.
1) All living things are made up of cells
What are cells, the basic functional unit of life. Well, picture cells in our body, they are like people, animals, plants working together to keep the body going. Can’t we be the cells of the Earth. If not, cancer cells to those who know we are harming the planet.
2) All living things grow and develop.
Living things grow and develop by changing physical structure. The Earth does a similiar thing. The Earth contains magma that becomes new land when it comes into contact with water. Therefore, the Earth is growing, just in an abiotic way.
3) All living things reproduce.
This was a hard one. But I have come across new and wonderful things. Hybrids (Ligers) can’t reproduce. They’re alive, They have all the other characteristics of a living thing, but they’re sterile. If it applies to Hybrids, can’t it apply to the Earth.
4) All living things have a universal genetic code.
Once again, another tough situation. Though it sounds super sciene fiction or unrealistic, the Earth has a different form of “DNA”. DNA is the material in our cells that carry information. DNA also contains the information that carries out the daily actions of a cell. The Earth carries out it’s own actions that allow the Earth to change or alter it’s conditions. I may be wrong, but I do have another that that will back up this troublesome subject.
5) All living things respond to their enviroment.
The Earth responds to it’s environment by changing it’s condition. The multiple biotic and abiotic factors do in fact, respond to their environment. Example, if temperature drops too low, water freezes. If temperatures are too high, water evaporates.
6) All living things obtain and use energy.
We obtain energy by eating. Though the Earth may not eat, it does obtain energy from solar heat that enters the atmosphere. How the Earth uses it is the stimulation of the solar heat. The solar energy warms up the earth from cold conditions. This is similiar to the way we use food to energize our body.
7) All living things maintain a stable internal environment.
In our bodies, our metabolism breaks down material to provide energy. The Earth doesn’t neccessarily have it’s own metabolic system, but it does have a way to maintain it’s internal environment. Technically speaking, the atmosphere is considered the outer layer of the Earth as a whole. Therefore, inside the atmosphere, is it’s internal environment. Inside the atmosphere, the Earth has weather conditions that can change the environmental status. Example: Rain can rehydrate a dry area, restoring balance in the area.
Earlier, I have stated that I might have something to back up my claims. Recently, I have read about mammals. Animals are classified “Mammal” if they have certain characteristics, similiar to the way how scientists classify living things. Well, I have concluded that not all things completely follow the full characterization of things. Example: Mammals are characterized by specific things. Though I would like to claim that one characterization is that mammals give live birth. I would also like to state that the Platypus and Echidna are the only mammals that lay eggs. They are still considered mammals. I was told that in order to fully be a certain thing, one must fulfill all characteristics of that certain classification. Therefore, the Earth may indeed be a living thing, though it may be missing certain characteristics: such as reproducing and having a universal genetic code. I wish to see what you have to say.
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