Life Law and Legal Definition

Life is the state of being which begins with generation, birth, or germination, and ends with death or the state of an animal or plant in which all or any of its organs are capable of performing all or any of their functions.

The concept of life is difficult to define, and various definitions of life are exist. For example, scientists classify an organism as living if it meets of of the following criteria:

MOTION -- does it seem to move under its own power? Does it move with some discernible purpose? (Toward food, away from heat, etc)

REPRODUCTION -- does it have some way of making more of itself, either through sexual reproduction or by budding or fissioning in some way?

CONSUMPTION/METABOLISM -- does it eat or drink? Does it take in nutrients in one way or another in order to survive, grow, and eventually multiply?

GROWTH -- does the organism develop over time, increase in complexity, until it reaches a mature stage?

STIMULUS RESPONSE -- does the organism respond to external stimuli, i.e. has a nervous system of some sort to detect external conditions?

Scientists may also use other criteria, such as chemical uniqueness and possession of a genetic code. In 1944, the physicist Erwin Shrodinger defined living matter as that which "avoids the decay into equilibrium."