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Making biominerals: Nature's recipe is old, evolved more than once

In recent years, scientists have teased out many of the secrets of biomineralization, the process by which sea urchins grow spines, mollusks build their shells and corals make their skeletons, not to mention how mammals and ...

Mission to Jupiter's icy moon confirmed

An icy ocean world in our solar system that could tell us more about the potential for life on other worlds is coming into focus with confirmation of the Europa Clipper mission's next phase. The decision allows the mission ...

Research bias may leave some primates at risk

Recent primate research has had a heavy focus on a few charismatic species and nationally protected parks and forests, leaving some lesser known primates and their habitats at risk, according researchers at The University ...

Fluorescent glow may reveal hidden life in the cosmos

Astronomers have uncovered a new way of searching for life in the cosmos. Harsh ultraviolet radiation flares from red suns, once thought to destroy surface life on planets, might help uncover hidden biospheres. Their radiation ...

Making the case for managing the ocean's twilight zone

Sustainable management of open-ocean marine life should extend to the ocean midwater, argue MBARI President and CEO Chris Scholin and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution President and Director Mark Abbott in a column published ...

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Life

Life on Earth:

Life (cf. biota) is a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have self-sustaining biological processes ("alive," "living"), from those which do not —either because such functions have ceased (death), or else because they lack such functions and are classified as "inanimate."

In biology, the science that studies living organisms, "life" is the condition which distinguishes active organisms from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, functional activity and the continual change preceding death. A diverse array of living organisms (life forms) can be found in the biosphere on Earth, and properties common to these organisms—plants, animals, fungi, protists, archaea, and bacteria — are a carbon- and water-based cellular form with complex organization and heritable genetic information. Living organisms undergo metabolism, maintain homeostasis, possess a capacity to grow, respond to stimuli, reproduce and, through natural selection, adapt to their environment in successive generations. More complex living organisms can communicate through various means.

In philosophy and religion, the conception and nature of life varies, and offer interpretations in the frameworks of existence and consciousness, and touch on many other related issues, such as, ontology, value, life stance, purpose, conceptions of God, the soul and the afterlife.

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