We and the rest of the animals, as well as plants, fungi, bacteria, etc., are living beings. Thus, we can easily deduce that living beings are those who have life, that they are organisms capable of fulfilling life-related functions and can die.
Do you want to know more about what living things are exactly? In we explain what living beings are, their components and functions, the more details that help define what a living being is.
What a living being is
It seems like a question whose answer is very obvious. A living being is the one who has life, yes, but this implies a very extensive series of characteristics that differentiate it from inorganic or inanimate matter. In biological terms, a living being is an organism capable of nourishing, reproducing and relating: its three basic functions. Living beings are very complex, have a high degree of organization and are able to manipulate their environment for profit. Contrary to that of inanimate objects, they can die if they do not perform their vital functions.
Main components of living beings
Living beings are formed from living matter, which in turn consists of approximately 70 elements that are called bioelements. The study of the chemical composition of living beings is carried Bioquímicaout by Biochemistry.
These elements, once found in living matter, can be grouped together and formed very complex structures. The most abundant are the main or primary bioelements, which are found in all structures. Carbon is the most important and one of the most abundant; from the binding of its atoms with those of other bioelements result in varied combinations that provide physical and chemical properties to organic molecules. Other main elements are oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur.
Secondary bioelements are found to a lesser extent in the body of organisms. Some are indispensable such as potassium, magnesium, sodium, calcium, iron, iodine and fluoride, but others are not found in some living things. Finally, those bioelements whose proportion does not exceed 0.01 percent are called trace elements. Examples of these are boron, copper, cobalt and manganese.
Immediate or compound principles of living beings
They are the chemical combinations of bioelements and can be organic or inorganic.
- Water: is the most important compound found in organisms, as it can constitute more than 90 percent of its weight. The large set of functions it fulfils includes the dissolution and transport of substances, the support for the realization of most chemical reactions and the thermal regulation function. Water is the universal solvent.
- Mineral salts: are regularly dissolved in body fluids and are found in the form of cations and anions. They can also be found forming structures, these salts are called structural salts. Occasionally, mineral salts are found solidly in hard parts of organisms.
- Glúcids: They have traditionally been called carbs, but their correct name is glucolic. They are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and perform structural and energetic functions. They are classified as monosaccharides, disaccharides, polysaccharides and oligosaccharides. Common glucies are glucose, starch, glycogen and cellulose.
- Lipids: they are substances that lack the property of dissolving in water but can do so in other compounds such as ether, acetone and chloroform. They are mostly made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen; in some cases they may also be made up of phosphorus and nitrogen. The most important lipids are fats, waxes and steroids. Fats are the main energy reserves of the beings that constitute the Animalic kingdom, since in 1 gram of fat is stored twice as much energy as in 1 gram of glues.
- Proteins: they are the structural elements par excellence of organisms and are made up of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen. They have structural, immunological, hormonal, catalyst, contractile and transport functions in the body. Proteins are long chains of amino acids: 20 of these have the power to join each other and form very long chains so the number of proteins that can be formed is immense.
- Nucleic acids: they are nucleotide polymers, smaller substances, and are made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur and phosphorus. Nucleotides are formed by the union of a phosphoric acid, a pentosa and a nitrogen base. The nucleotide binding can form chains of RNA (ribbonucleic acid) or the famous DNA (Acid deoxyribonucleico), which exercise storage and genetic transmission functions.
- Vitamins: are essential compounds for the body of organisms, but in very small amounts. They are classified as fat-soluble vitamins and hydrosoluble vitamins, i.e. fat-soluble and water soluble, respectively. They perform various essential biochemical functions although their lack becomes in metabolic diseases or imbalances.
Systems, Senses and Functions of living beings.
- Respiratory system
- circulatory system
- Endocrine system
- Reproductive system
- Digestive system
- Immune system
- Nervous system
- Skeletal system
- Urinary system
- Muscle system
- Tegumentary system
Senses of living things
Functions of living beings
- Reproduction (sexual reproduction and asexual reproduction)