Generally, the organisms having some observable phenomena like symptoms of life, irritability, power of locomotion, nutrition, growth, birth and death and power of reproduction are called as living objects.
The specific characters essential to distinguish living and non living matters are as follows:
1. Locomotion and movement:
Living things: By the help of this special feature we can identify a living matter. The act of moving any part of the body without changing the place is called as Movement. Locomotion is caused by the change of place. In the cases of movement and locomotion there is some influence of internal and external stimulators. For example, movement of plants towards the light or the change of place (to locomote) to seek food materials. So, the attraction is due to light or food stuff. Movement and locomotion are the specific characters of organism. Without any movement or locomotion it is very much different for the organism to live. The movement of the body parts is very much essential in everyday life. Man can do the important works by the way of movement and locomotion like walking, eating, tooth-brushing, marketing, etc. Plants can collect water from the soil by moving its body parts. They also can place the leaves before light and do the photosynthesis. If we keep a tub with a plant in a dark room, we can see the movement of the branches of the plant towards the light. This happens because light is very much necessary for the living of plants. There are some unicellular plants which can locomote also. Besides movement, the act of locomotion is also seen in some animals. For example, unicellular animal Amoeba captures food by the way of slow locomotion. On the other hand, tiger hunt the deer by running very fast. Different animals can move their different body parts whenever necessary. For example – tail of cow, ear of dog, hands of man, wings of birds, fins of fishes etc.
Non-living things: Non-Living things lacks mobility and the body parts are not-movable. Thus, non Living things cannot change place and do not show any movement.
Living things: Living organism have the ability to respond to excite in changes of the environment. The excitement is made by the help of internal and external sensation or touch. There are some types of stimuli also like light and dark, hot and cold temperature, hit or blow etc. If intense light falls on our eyes we become excited and close our eyes as soon as possible. When mosquito bites we are also exited to and hit or kill the mosquito. We remove our hands when it touches any hot thing. All of these are the example of irritability. If we touch any snail in its moving condition, it encloses its whole body within the hard shell. On the other hand the centipede rolls its whole body when it comes in contact to our hands / touch. Like the animals we cannot easily visualize the responses of plants to stimuli. But when the leaflets of mimosa plant are subjected to sudden touch or shock of any kind, the leaf and its parts dropdown very rapidly. By all these ways the living organisms show irritability.
Non-living things: They do not have the power of irritability.
3. Nutrition and growth:
Living things: Food is always needed for the survival of organism. The living bodies can collect foods in different ways. By the digestion of collected food the organism can get nutrition. Growth is the result of nutrition. After getting birth a children grows in such way and ultimately becomes mature. The plants grow also in this process. But the plants have the capacity to make food by utilizing the sunlight, can get the nutrients and thus grow. The small plants after germinating from the seeds grow slowly and become mature. If the organisms cannot collect any food, the process of nutrition is affected and they become weak. Sometimes they also die. So, nutrition and growth are the two main features of living organisms.
Non-living things: Non Living things do not take food, and they do not have nutrition and growth. the digestive process of getting nutrients and energy from foom material is completely absent in non-living things.
Living things: Reproduction is also a very specific character of the living beings. By producing offspring the organism saves their generation. After the nutrition and growth the gonads – sex organs are being matured and then offspring are produced by means of reproduction. In the plants flower, fruits and seeds are produced. The future plant is hidden within the seed. Under favourable condition, new plants are developed from the seeds. Besides this, new plants are produced from the different organ / parts of the mother plant. For example, from the roots, leaves or stems by cutting. The animals reproduce by two ways in some cases: offspring are born from eggs and sometime directly from mother’s womb.
Non-living things: The non-living matters lack this reproductive power. They do have cannot reproduce and do not possess any generation of life cycle. So, no such non-living matter can be produced from any non-living matter.
By the help of above mentioned differences, we can clearly identify the living and non-living objects.