Life - Death

Death

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.

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Famous quotes containing the word death:

    As deaths have accumulated I have begun to think of life and death as a set of balance scales. When one is young, the scale is heavily tipped toward the living. With the first death, the first consciousness of death, the counter scale begins to fall. Death by death, the scales shift weight until what was unthinkable becomes merely a matter of gravity and the fall into death becomes an easy step.
    Alison Hawthorne Deming (b. 1946)

    If thee thy brittle beauty so deceives,
    Know then the thing that swells thee is thy bane;
    For the same beauty doth, in bloody leaves.
    The sentence of thy early death contain.
    Sir Richard Fanshawe (1608–1666)

    And death i think is no parenthesis
    —E.E. (Edward Estlin)