Living things are similar in that they rely on many of the same processes to stay alive, yet are different in the ways that these processes are carried out. Nonliving things lack certain features of living organisms, such as the ability to maintain a cellular organization, carry out metabolic processes while maintaining internal stability (homeostasis), and pass on hereditary information through reproduction.
In most biological respects, humans are like other living organisms. For instance, they are made up of cells like those of other animals, have much the same chemical composition, have organ systems and physical characteristics like many others, reproduce in a similar way, carry the same kind of genetic information system, and are part of a food web.
The components of living systems, from a single cell to an ecosystem, interact to maintain balance. Different organisms have different regulatory mechanisms that function to maintain the level of organization necessary for life. Diversity is evident and important at all levels of organization—from a single cell to a multicellular organism to an ecosystem.
-from the Regents Living Environment Core Curriculum
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