Death is the permanent termination of all vital functions or life processes in an organism or cell. It can occur as a result of an accident, medical conditions, biological interaction, malnutrition, poisoning, senescence, or suicide. After death, the remains of an organism re-enter the biogeochemical cycle. Organisms may be consumed by a predator or a scavenger and leftover organic material may then be further decomposed by detritivores, organisms that recycle detritus, returning it to the environment for reuse in the food chain.
One of the challenges in defining death is in distinguishing it from life. Death would seem to refer to either the moment life ends, or when the state that follows life begins. However, determining when death has occurred requires drawing precise conceptual boundaries between life and death. This is problematic, however, because there is little consensus over how to define life. The nature of death has for millennia been a central concern of the world's religious traditions and of philosophical inquiry. Many religions maintain faith in either a kind of afterlife or reincarnation for the soul, or resurrection of the body at a later date.
Extinction is the process by which a group of taxa or species dies out, reducing biodiversity. The moment of extinction is generally considered the death of the last individual of that species. Because a species' potential range may be very large, determining this moment is difficult, and is usually done retrospectively after a period of apparent absence. Species become extinct when they are no longer able to survive in changing habitat or against superior competition. In Earth's history, over 99% of all the species that have ever lived have gone extinct; however, mass extinctions may have accelerated evolution by providing opportunities for new groups of organisms to diversify.
Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of animals, plants, and other organisms from the remote past. The totality of fossils, both discovered and undiscovered, and their placement in fossil-containing rock formations and sedimentary layers (strata) is known as the fossil record. A preserved specimen is called a fossil if it is older than the arbitrary date of 10,000 years ago. Hence, fossils range in age from the youngest at the start of the Holocene Epoch to the oldest from the Archaean Eon, up to 3.4 billion years old.
Read more about this topic: Life
Other articles related to "death":
... Snowden's death embodies Yossarian's desire to evade death by seeing Snowden's entrails spilling over the plane, he feels that "Man was matter, that was Snowden's secret ... perhaps because he was traumatized and depressed by Snowden's death ...
... On April 25, a response to Komarov's death by his fellow cosmonauts was published in Pravda "For the forerunners it is always more difficult ... module that were identified by the cosmonaut corps and that Komarov's death should teach the establishment to be more rigorous in its testing and evaluation of "all ... His flight and his death will teach us courage." In May 1967, Gagarin and Leonov criticised Mishin's "poor knowledge of the Soyuz spacecraft and the details ...
... The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350 ... Although there were several competing theories as to the etiology of the Black Death, recent analysis of DNA from victims in northern and southern ... The Black Death is thought to have started in China or central Asia, before spreading west ...
... has been claimed that the Vatican altered some of the details of the discovery of the death to avoid possible unseemliness in that he was discovered by Sister Vincenza, a nun ... with inconsistent statements made following the Pope's death, led to a number of conspiracy theories concerning it ...
... suggested that a mistranslation of the Latin atra mors (terrible, or black, death) had occurred in Scandinavia when he described the catastrophe in 1832 in his publication "Der ... year, and with the cholera epidemic happening at that time, "The Black Death in the 14th century" gained widespread attention and the terms Schwarzer Tod and Black Death became more ...
Famous quotes containing the word death:
“Beauty is a precious trace that eternity causes to appear to us and that it takes away from us. A manifestation of eternity, and a sign of death as well.”
—Eugène Ionesco (b. 1912)
“Life contracts and death is expected,
As in a season of autumn.
The soldier falls.”
—Wallace Stevens (18791955)
“Men are fools that wish to die!
Is t not fine to dance and sing
When the bells of death do ring?”
—Unknown. Hey Nonny No! (L. 24)