From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Evolution section[edit]

What follows the Universal Tree picture is a discussion of LUCA, the root of the tree of life, and the genetic code and doesn't really seem all that relevant to 'organism' to me. I do think a short paragraph about the origins of organisms might be appropriate with perhaps a link to history of life or tree or life or common descent or genetic code depending on what is said. But we should not just move this section elsewhere, because most of what is in this section is very controversial and some of it even conflicts with what is said in other parts of the article (for example, the universality of the code). I would say that LUCA is still the dominant paradigm in biology (for better or worse) and here it reads as though it is definitely refuted. There are many different ideas of LUCA. The cited article by Doolittle argues that there never was a single cell with a genome that had ancestral copies of every gene around today. This is not at all the same as saying there is no single cellular ancestor (which might still be true). Many (perhaps most?) still accept a single cellular LUCA (LGT doesn't obviously affect this - for example, Gogarten and others who accept massive LGT still talk about LUCA) and others (such as Woese) talk about LUCA as a population. A quick search shows a huge number of papers trying to determine the properties of LUCA, etc. As for the genetic code, the slight variability of the code has been used to argue that it must have evolved only once and not in parallel (identity might indicate it is the only possibility, but very similar but not identical indicates single source + evolution). Obviously some people like the author of this section think that is a bad argument, but that is interpretation, not encyclopedia fact. --Jdvelasc (talk) 20:06, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

I entirely agree, and notice that no-one has disagreed since this comment was written. The paragraph beginning "It is now clear that the genetic code is not the same in all living things ..." is referenced to one 1995 paper, and is not the consensus view; I can't find a single post-2005 paper which takes this view. So I am going to remove the entire paragraph. Peter coxhead (talk) 20:10, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
Is this a tree?

organ is a group of tissues —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:19, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

Here, I have deleted a paragaph that seems to regard a the existence of a LUCA as necessary to there being "Tree of Life", a vague term of unclear relevance; is inosculation permitted? Unless the phrase is given a clear sense, I discourage its use. The paragraph also denies the existence of homologies among viruses, but there are surely shared characteristics that are very like homologies. Peter Brown (talk) 20:41, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

An innovative approach to the definition of 'organism' and 'life'[edit]

At present the first line of the definition of the Wikipedia page about what is an 'organism' suggests the following: "In biology, an organism is any contiguous living system, such as a vertebrate, insect, plant or bacterium. All known types of organism are capable of some degree of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development and self-regulation (homeostasis)." One can now try using the philosophical demand that a proper definition should always be separating between cases that do or that don't fit the definition. Moreover, a concise definition should not know exceptions, which implies that it must be able to deal with 'difficult cases'. If one analyses some of the concepts in the present definition of an organism (cited above) we encounter words such as 'contiguous', 'living', 'all known types of organisms are capable of some degree of response to etc.' Now one needs a proper definition of what is 'contiguous' and whether any contiguous thing is an organism. The use of that such a thing must be a 'living system' does not seem to solve the problem, because one now needs a definition of what is 'living'. In the discussion section of wikipedia about the definition of life, I have suggested that a circularity arises if Wikipedia indicates that organisms are living systems, and that living is defined as a property of organisms. On the same talk page a solution was suggested which starts with defining the concept of the organism first. In order to define what is an organism, a ranking is used of the structural complexity of unitary systems. This ranking is based on an innovative interpretation of the classical 'scala naturae', a 'ladder for complexity'. This novel ladder has been called the operator hierarchy. Based on the operator hierarchy, all the types of unitary systems, called operators, can be ranked. Next, a choice is made to indicate specifically those types of particles on the complexityladder that are minimally as complex as the cellular type of organisation as 'organisms'. In this way, the bacterial type, the endosymbiont/eukaryotic cell type, the bacterial multicellular type, the eukarytic multicellular type, and the neural network type of organisation (and all future more complex types of operators) are called 'organisms'. Based on this approach, an entity is an organism because it shows the properties that come with a specific level of complexity on the 'ladder' of the operator hierarchy. This results in the following suggestions for definitions: A bacterial cell is an operator and an organism as long as it can in principle realise autopoiesis based on its cell membrane and autocatalytic set of chemicals. An endosymbiontic/eukaryote cell is an operator and an organism as long as it can in principle realise autopoiesis based on the interaction between the host cell and the endosymbiont. A bacterial or eukarytoic multicellular organisation is an operator and an organism as long as it realises autopoiesis based on the cooperation between cells as defined by plasma strands. A neural network system is an operator and an organism as long as its dynamics allow it to survive based on a sensory interface and second order neural interactions. Based on this viewpoint it is no longer problematic to include in the definition of organism also frozen/dessicased organisms (such as dried bacteria or seeds). And it is neither problematic to include infertile organisms because these show the structural properties for survival (which is considered a sufficient condition). Of course, reproduction is necessary for multiplication and may lead to evolution, but these derived aspects can be viewed as being not of primary importance for a definition of the organism. Moreover, the fact that not every organism reproduces debunks the assumption that reproduction is a necessary condition for an organism.

More information about this innovative approach to defining what is an organism, and what is life, can be found on the following website: , notably on the page about organism and life: On these pages you may also find lists of recent publications about the definition of life and organisms, e.g. in Foundations of Science, Biological Reviews, and in European Review.

I hope the above suggestions will contribute to the Wikipedia website, by offering innovative thoughts about how one can define what is an organism and what is life. Kind regards dr.dr. Gerard Jagers op Akkerhuis (talk) 08:11, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

The beginning of organisms.[edit]

Organisms consist of two parts, one part is the body and the other is the mind. Bodies are dualities of matter and electromagnetism which organizes matter under direction of the laws of nature of the material space time. Mind is the duality of memory and the soul which remains in dynamic state within the limits of the memory in the immaterial space time. Both, the body and mind are subjected to motivation. Organisms form a dynamic spectrum of differentiation. The spectrum varies in one direction because more complicated organisms arise from simpler organisms. This means that there is a beginning to organisms. In the border between matter and live units, two elements are required for change. The two are motivation and the instruction for the kind of change. One of the characteristics of organisms is their short cycle of existence and frequent reproduction. Material units exist for a long time and they repeat after a very long interval of time. The reason for the difference is the motivation. Motivation from the perfect centre, which motivates matter, is located on the largest ring of the converging spiral and it acts slowly while electromagnetism, which motivates organisms, changes very fast because of its location in the centre of the spiral. The simplest organism consists of four molecules, each a unit of matter. Electromagnetism, which the four molecules contain within themselves, joins them into one unit. Each of the four molecules can unite with identical molecule because of identity of their electromagnetism. Using this method, two units of four molecules are created as one system. This causes change of polarization and repulsion instead of attraction. The two separate organisms of four molecules each are ready to repeat the cycle of changes. The plurality of such organisms grows as 2 to power of ‘n’ in (0<n<oo). The mind of this first organism is the static soul and memory is a group of the laws of nature directing changes. KK ( (talk) 15:53, 10 September 2011 (UTC))

Scope of definition[edit]

Is a human being considered to be only the sum of an interlocking set of molecules? This viewpoint would seem to exclude the supernatural component believed in by religious people.

Should we mention that some scientists, as well as other academics such as philosophers and theologians, dispute this?

Might we also mention that no one (so far) has been able to "assemble" molecules into a living unit? This might be relevant to the discussion of whether life is more than the sum of its (natural) parts.

Note: I am not advocating any particular point of view; I'm just asking whether other viewpoints are allowed mention in this article. --Uncle Ed (talk) 18:24, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

Anyone who has been around Wikipedia for a while should be familiar with the notion of due and undue weight. Mention of religious belief has no place in this article. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 19:04, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
So you're saying it's obvious that the scope of this article is limited by physical science? That doesn't make sense, because Outline of physical science refers to the study of "non-living systems, in contrast to the life sciences." Hence, my question.
I don't see what "undue weight" has to do with it. I'm trying to clarify for the readers what the scope of the article is. In my 10 years here, I've frequently found (and helped to correct) scoping problems. This looks like yet another one. Would you like to help me with it? --Uncle Ed (talk) 19:27, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
I am saying no such thing as "the scope of this article is limited by physical science." Setting up that straw man was something you just did on your own. Rhetorical shenanigans like that, along with your protestation that you are "just asking" leave me disinclined to engage you at all. Convince me of the depth of your knowledge in the life sciences, and I might change my mind, but for now I will go with "that which may be asserted without evidence may be dismissed without evidence." __ Just plain Bill (talk) 19:50, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

If you're not saying it has that limit, then, does this mean you don't object if I mention the lack of that limit in the article? --Uncle Ed (talk) 19:53, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

Empty word games are unsatisfying. Better to get consensus here before putting it in the article. Bring reliable sources. and show some depth of understanding of biology. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 20:05, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Just Plain Bill - please distinguish between the 'beginning' and the further 'development' of living organisms. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:00, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Do you have a concrete suggestion for improving this article? This talk page is not a forum for discussing abiogenesis or evolution. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 15:36, 7 March 2012 (UTC)


It has been asked when Thomas Cavalier-Smith proposed the clade "Neomura". Perhaps it was already in 1987. For sure, in his paper Cavalier-Smith, T. 1987. The origin of eukaryote and archaebacterial cells. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 503: 17–54 he uses the term. However, I'm not sure if he used it in exactly the meaning required.--Smht% (talk) 19:31, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

Redirecting Life form?[edit]

In 2005 this article had a POVFORK at lifeform, but it in 2006 was (with other spelling variations) redirected here. In December 2010 a new article was created at Life form which has now been moved to List of life forms. I do not think we need a separate article for Life form any more than for Life on Earth. I have now redirected all the spelling variations on life form to this article. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 10:44, 26 February 2012 (UTC)


Protozoa are defined in wiki as

 "a diverse group of unicellular eukaryotic organisms".  

This doesn't seem to square with the definition of an organism given here:

 "all types of organisms are capable of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development"

I can't see that protozoa, for example, would fit within this definition in terms of the normal meaning of growth and development.

It is clear from that there are various definitions of the term organism, for instance some exclude viruses. In my opinion the article should refer to the various definitions and to the implications arising from each.

LookingGlass (talk) 20:57, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

What about dead organisms?[edit]

Does the definition ignore dead organisms by saying “contiguous living system”? Everything Is Numbers (talk) 11:49, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

No. Even dead organisms are still living systems. A rotting body is still alive with decay. Lova Falk talk 12:39, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
Oh. That's good to know. Though maybe I should point out that the word “living” there links to the article life, which reads, “Life ... is a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have ... from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased (death) or else because they ... are ... inanimate.” But I trust that this is not a big issue. Everything Is Numbers 21:27, 25 October 2012 (UTC)

Calling a dead organism a living system, may well represent a big issue in the present context, because it causes a lot of confusion. As a solution the following suggestions may help. A dead organism may with preference be called a 'corpse'. A corpse is no longer an organism, even though it still has the appearence of its former organismic organisation. A corpse lacks the properties by which it can be recognised as an organism. As was indicated above, in the chapter on "An innovative approach to defining 'organism' and 'life'", a new scientific framework exists, called the Operator Hierarchy, that uses a modern 'ladder of complexity'(the steps on the ladder are based on the combination of closed structural and functional topology). With this approach, subsequent types of organisation can be ranked according to complexity, in a strict way, from quarks to organisms with brains. Using this ranking as a basis, it becomes possible to define what systems are organisms. For this purpose one selects only the systems in the Operator Hierarchy from the level of the bacterial organisation and higher. In the past years, this way of defining the organism has been discussed in a range of scientific papers. More information about this methodology can be found here: This novel approach may offer to Wikipedia a pathway toward a solution of the long standing and difficult problem of how to define what is an 'organism'. And after one has defined what is an organism (or more specifically, what system types (plural) can be indicated as different types of organisms), one can proceed with using this information as a basis for a definition of life. Kind regards, Gerard Jagers op Akkerhuis (talk) 12:26, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

Was there a universal ancestor?[edit]

This section, as it stands today, is not in accord with the article about the Last universal ancestor (LUA). The text seems to be highly POV, specifically taking the viewpoint of the Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture. It seems that Intelligent Design requires that the LUA hypothesis fail. As it stands, this section promotes a pseudoscience. --Bejnar (talk) 23:07, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

After discussion at Talk:Last universal ancestor, I have changed this section to agree with the main article. --Bejnar (talk) 16:51, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified 3 external links on Organism. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

You may set the |checked=, on this template, to true or failed to let other editors know you reviewed the change. If you find any errors, please use the tools below to fix them or call an editor by setting |needhelp= to your help request.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 21:56, 12 June 2017 (UTC)