|MadSci Network: General Biology|
Dear Daniel, That is a very good question. I think that the best way to answer it is to think about how organisms are classified as being animal or plant. Scientists like to put things into neat little boxes, discreet groups, such as being animals or plants. Most of the time this works very well but, as you say yourself, sometimes things do not fit into these categories. There are even arguments in science about how to classify things as living or not. Viruses are like living things in some ways because they reproduce but they can also be like chemicals, crystallizing. Many tiny types of organisms such as plankton move around like animals but can photosynthesize like plants. My answer to what is something that is neither a plant nor an animal is that it is probably both and that there is a gradient between these two extremes. Being a plant is at one end and being an animal is at the other end but it is possible to be somewhere in between both. I hope that this answers your question. Thanks for a very good question, Yvonne
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