Everywhere you look, you are bound to find, almost always, something alive. But if most of the times you can easily make the distinction between plants and animals, what about bacteria? In which category do they go? We all know they are living organisms..but are they plants or animals?
In biology, living organisms are classified by relationships between species, and the science of classification is called Taxonomy. Modern taxonomic classifications are based on the similarities in the genetic material that define each organism.
Bacteria are organisms that have a single cell, and can be found practically everywhere, in any environment, not to mention your own body. In fact, you need bacteria in order to survive, as they are involved in all processes of your body. Moreover, the human body may hold ten times more bacterial cells than human cells. Bacteria are often associated with diseases, but in fact most of them perform functions essential for our survival, like digesting food for example.
Until the middle of the twentieth century, the accepted taxonomy (developed in the eighteen century by Carolus Linnacus, a Swedish botanist) divided the natural world into three categories: animal, vegetable and mineral In the mid-twentieth century, however, a new classification was developed, which divided living organisms into five kingdoms, based on the structure of their cells: animals, plants, bacteria and blue-green algae, and fungi.
However, as scientists learned more about microscopic organisms, a clear distinction between plants and animals seemed no longer possible. Moreover, as more is learned about DNA, an even smaller structure, some scientists have reached the conclusion that all classifications, not only plant/ animal, do not work at all.
And to answer the original question, are bacteria plants or animals, here ‘s a clarifying answer: bacteria are neither plants, nor animals. Every plant or animal cell has a nucleus, where it manufactures DNA, the genetic material. However, bacteria don ‘t have a nucleus, their DNA floats around inside the cell.
So no, bacteria are not plants, and are not animals. Bacteria are just bacteria. When you think of it, making a certain distinction between plants and animals does not seem hard at all. Especially if you think about regular ones, not carnivore plants or things like that. But in the end, it turns out that things are not quite so simple. You have a clear idea in your head about what plants are, you know what animals are, and then you have bacteria. Neither plants, nor animals.