I want to make a question but I dont know which title to give it to be clear and I'm not sure if I will be able to explain it clearly in the body in the first try, so I was wondering if people can help redacting the question here.

The question I want to make it's if there is any term in Biology which differenciates a specialized cell from other life forms.

For example, If I say life form, am I refering to living organisms and specialized cells? If I say living organism, am I refering to any life forms and specialized cells? If I say living creature or being (which is taken as synonymous of life in several dictionaries), am I refering to any life forms and specialized cells?

Is there any term in Biology (life form, living organism, living creature, being or another which does not include specialized cells?).

How can I write/tag this question for it to be clear?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Unicellular species are unspecialized in the sense that they don't feature tissues. Honestly, I seriously don't know what you're after :) Good to stop by in meta first! $\endgroup$ – AliceD Aug 1 '18 at 20:25

This depends on what you're after, but I might try writing your question as follows:

Title: living organism vs. living cell

Question: I understand that all living things are made of one or more cells (if you do understand that, and you might say where you learned that), but how do I refer to a specific cell that is an active part of a living multicellular organism? Is it alive? Is there a different term that I should use?

It's a tricky question, and hard to articulate, because there is an intractable question beyond the terminology (what exactly makes something alive). You may get answers that focus more on this side of the question.

I could see some argument for the answer to be closed as primarily opinion based if it is focused on whether single fully differentiated cells of a multicellular organism are alive. The question about, for example whether a mature red blood cell is alive does not have a clear answer, and seems to me to be similar to the question about whether a postmenopausal woman or an infertile man with Kleinfelter syndrome are alive.

If you focus on the terminology, you might get some off topic close votes, since it may be more about language than biology.

I think I'd answer this question, though, rather than vote to close it myself, but lets see what everyone else has to say.

  • $\begingroup$ It's sort of an interesting case for the difference in scientific English use of the words "live" versus "alive" - are live cells alive? We frankly don't use the word "alive" much in biology, as far as I can tell, "live" is much safer. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Aug 3 '18 at 22:03
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause I use "alive" about as frequently as "live" when referring to human patients, as distinct from dead. On reflection, though, I'm more likely to refer to tissue as "live" or "viable". $\endgroup$ – De Novo Aug 3 '18 at 22:07

"Thallus" and "Thalloid" are two terms used for multicellular lower-plants with very little or no specialisation from other cells (little or no tissue-differentiation). I don't yet know similar term for animals.

Please specify to me some examples of what you are thinking/ mentally-picturising/ trying to describe as "organism without specialised cell"; I'll try to redact a question for you.


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