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Author Topic: How is something as small as an Ant Alive?  (Read 4391 times)

Offline chrissylynn

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How is something as small as an Ant Alive?
« on: 22/10/2008 02:51:19 »
how does something as small as an ant possibly live? i mean if you squish one it seems it is only made of juice. So how can something that doesn't seem to have guts or organs be alive?

Mod edit - Formatted the subject as a question - please do this to help keep the forum tidy and easy to navigate - thanks!
« Last Edit: 28/10/2008 11:14:49 by BenV »


 

Offline RD

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Re: How is something as small as an Ant Alive?
« Reply #1 on: 22/10/2008 10:02:36 »
It depends what your definition of "alive" is ...

Quote
There is no universal definition of life. To define life in unequivocal terms is still a challenge for scientists.

Conventional definition: The concensus is that that life is a characteristic of organisms that exhibit all or most of the following phenomena:

1. Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, electrolyte concentration or sweating to reduce temperature.

2. Organization: Being composed of one or more cells, which are the basic units of life.

3. Metabolism: Consumption of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.

4. Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of synthesis than catabolism. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter. The particular species begins to multiply and expand as the evolution continues to flourish.

5. Adaptation: The ability to change over a period of time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the organism's heredity as well as the composition of metabolized substances, and external factors present.

6. Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses of higher animals. A response is often expressed by motion, for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun (Phototropism and chemotaxis).
 
Reproduction: The ability to produce new organisms. Reproduction can be the division of one cell to form two new cells. Usually the term is applied to the production of a new individual (either asexually, from a single parent organism, or sexually, from at least two differing parent organisms), although strictly speaking it also describes the production of new cells in the process of growth.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life

An ant colony is described as a superorganism.

PS
ants do have a digestive system, a.k.a. "guts".
« Last Edit: 22/10/2008 10:20:56 by RD »
 

Offline neilep

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Re: How is something as small as an Ant Alive?
« Reply #2 on: 23/10/2008 01:19:56 »
how does something as small as an ant possibly live? i mean if you squish one it seems it is only made of juice. So how can something that doesn't seem to have guts or organs be alive?

Hey Chrissylynn,

You're right !...An ant looks so small that you'd think how can it possibly exist  ?..but the fact that it's small (compared to us) does not mean it does not have internal organs. I imagine if a blue whale got out of the sea and go for a walk he/she might think  " how can those pesky humans live, they are so small ". The Blue whale is generally considered to be the largest animal that has ever lived. Even bigger than Dinosaurs !

Do you know what I mean ?

There are in fact living things far smaller than ants and they also have lots of internal organs...just a lot lot smaller ..You'd need a magnifying glass or a microscope to really see them properly .

Also, if you go up for a helicopter ride or to the top of a really tall building, we all look like little insects/ants too !
 

Offline chrissylynn

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Re: How is something as small as an Ant Alive?
« Reply #3 on: 25/10/2008 13:03:34 »
Thanks neilep that really helps put things into perspective. its kind of funny that seems like such an easy answer. but i guess some times when we start thinking about something so hard its sometimes hard to see the obvious.
 

Offline neilep

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Re: How is something as small as an Ant Alive?
« Reply #4 on: 25/10/2008 18:40:21 »
Thanks neilep that really helps put things into perspective. its kind of funny that seems like such an easy answer. but i guess some times when we start thinking about something so hard its sometimes hard to see the obvious.

Hugs the chrissylynn

You're welcome !  :)

You're right of course...sometimes the least obvious...is the most obvious !!  ;)
 

blakestyger

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Re: How is something as small as an Ant Alive?
« Reply #5 on: 26/10/2008 21:42:34 »
It depends what your definition of "alive" is ...

True. These conditions were formulated some time ago - mostly before the role of DNA was understood. This is a particular interest of mine:

http://blakestyger.livejournal.com/
 

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Re: How is something as small as an Ant Alive?
« Reply #5 on: 26/10/2008 21:42:34 »

 

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