Introduction to Living Things

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organism
A living thing
cell
Basic unit of life
unicellular
Made of a single cell
multicellular
Made up of more than one cell.
metabolism
All of the chemical reactions that occur within an organism
stimulus
A change in an organism's surroundings that causes the organism to react
response
A reaction to a stimulus.
development
The process of becoming more complex
asexual reproduction
A reproductive process that involves only one parent and produces offspring that are identical to the parent.
sexual reproduction
A reproductive process that involves two parents that combine their genetic material to produce a new organism, which differs from both parents
spontaneous generation
the mistaken idea that living things arise from nonliving sources
controlled experiment
An experiment in which only one variable is manipulated at a time.
autotroph
An organism that makes its own food
heterotroph
An organism that cannot make its own food, and thus must ingest other organisms.
homeostasis
Cells and systems maintain a constant internal balance
classification
The process of grouping things based on their similarities
taxonomy
Discipline of classifying organisms and assigning each organism a universally accepted name
binomial nomenclature
Classification system in which each species is assigned a two-part scientific name
genus
A classification grouping that consists of a number of similar, closely related species
species
A group of similar organisms that can breed and produce fertile offspring.
prokaryote
A unicellular organism that lacks a nucleus and membrane bound organelles
nucleus
A cell structure that contains nucleic acids, the chemical instructions that direct all the cell's activities.
eukaryote
A cell that contains a nucleus and membrane bound organelles
evolution
Change in a species over time
branching tree diagram
a diagram that shows probable evolutionary relationships among organisms
shared derived characteristic
A trait that the common ancestor of a group had, and passed on to its descendants.
convergent evolution
Process by which unrelated organisms independently evolve similarities when adapting to similar environments
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