The Classification of Life Forms

Robert Howard Kroepel

Copyright © 2003

What is life?

What is nonlife?

Are there characteristics, features, that all life forms have that we could call generic life?

Are there characteristics that some life forms have that other life forms do not have that we could call specific life?

Characteristics of generic life:

1. Consumption of food.
2. Usage of energy.
3. Elimination of wastes.
4. Reproduction.

Specific characteristics of life:

1. A/Appearance. [Physical Characteristics]
2. B/Behavior. [Capability/Performance Characteristics]

Could we then classify life into (1) generic life, life forms which have all the characteristics of life, and (2) specific life, life forms which have all the generic characteristics as well as the specific AB characteristics?

For example, an individual human is thought to have generic life characteristics as well as AB-type specific life characteristics, by which each human life is said to be unique.

Cells are considered life forms. They have the generic life characteristics: they consume food, nutrients, sugar, they process energy, they eliminate wastes, and they reproduce.

Among the cells are gametes, the egg and sperm of mammals, and other life forms, which are, before the age of cloning, the only life forms capable of creating individual life forms and therefore the only life forms capable of going forward into the next generation. Each typical gamete has one-half the DNA and therefore the number of genes as found in the zygotes, which is the result of the fertilization and therefore conception process when two gametes, and egg and a sperm, fertilize each other and thereby conceive.

Gametes, subject to the mutation processes, including radiation, are thought to be unique and therefore specific life forms.

When gametes conceive, they produce zygotes, with the full complement of DNA/genes.

If all gametes were identical, then, assuming no environmental influences in the womb, the gametes from the same parents ought to produce the equivalent of identical offspring, the equivalent of identical twins/triplets/etc. All brothers should therefore have similar if not identical AB characteristics; all sisters likewise should have similar if not identical AB characteristics.

Of course, if there are significant environmental processes in the womb that could alter the biology and chemistry of the zygote, to cause mutations in the zygote, then that fact alone could account for differences of specific characteristics among the offspring of the same parents.

Is it possible that the gametes have specific characteristics which are nonsimilar to other gametes from the same individual that gametes qualify as specific life forms?

What are the odds that gametes are, therefore, specific life forms, each having unique AB characteristics, perhaps mutations, just as zygotes are specific life forms?

In my opinion, the odds are high that gametes are specific life forms, and are the reason which brothers or sister who are not identical twins more often than not do not have the same characteristics.

If gametes are specific life forms, each unique though not having the complete DNA/genes of a zygote, then we have the following classification of life:

1. Generic Life.
2. Specific Life: (A) Gametes; (B) Zygotes.

Are there practical advantages for classifying life forms as (1) generic and (2) specific; (A) gametes and (B) zygotes?

That is a question for scientists and politicians, among others, to answer.