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Exploratour - Life on Earth

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This tour is a detailed look at life on Earth, and what we know about how it came to be. To proceed with the tour, just click on the forward indicator in the "football" at the top right portion of this page.

If you had to explain to someone what "life" is, what would you tell them? Do all living things move? Do they eat and breathe? Even though we all seem to know what is meant by saying something is "alive", it's not very easy to describe what "life" is.

The study of life is called "biology" and the people who study it are "biologists". They even have a tough time describing what life is! But after many years of studying living things, from the mold on your old tuna sandwich to monkeys in the rainforest, biologists have determined that all living things, do share some things in common:

1) Living things need energy
2) Living things grow and develop
3) Living things respond to their surroundings
4) Living things reproduce
5) Living things reproduce and pass their traits onto their offspring
6) Over time, living things evolve (change slowly) in response to their environment

We will discuss some of these things in the pages that follow.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA