Plants, Animals, and Internal States

Animals are free thanks to their ability to carry a constant state within them, while plants must grow as their environment allows.

Folksonomies: evolution animals comparisons plants

Constant and Free Life

Constant, or free, life is the third form of life; it belongs to the most highly organized animals. In it, life is not suspended in any circumstance, it unrolls along a constant course, apparently indifferent to the variations in the cosmic environment, or to the changes in the material conditions that surround the animal. Organs, apparatus, and tissues function in an apparently uniform manner, without their activity undergoing those considerable variations exhibited by animals with an oscillating life. This because in reality the internal environment that envelops the organs, the tissues, and the elements of the tissues does not change; the variations in the atmosphere stop there, so that it is true to say that physical conditions of the environment are constant in the higher animals; it is enveloped in an invariable medium, which acts as an atmosphere of its own in the constantly changing cosmic environment. It is an organism that has placed itself in a hot-house. Thus the perpetual changes in the cosmic environment do not touch it; it is not chained to them, it is free and independent.


Mammals and other animals that maintain a constant environment within themselves are free of the changes to the world outside them.

Folksonomies: biology freedom life

Additional Support/Evidence

How Plants and Animals Survive in Their Environment

Plants and animals are separated by about 1.5 billion years of evolutionary history. They have evolved their multicellular organization independently but using the same initial tool kit the set of genes inherited from their common unicellular eucaryotic ancestor. Most of the contrasts in their developmental strategies spring from two basic peculiarities of plants. First, they get their energy from sunlight, not by ingesting other organisms. This dictates a body plan different from that of animals. Second, their cells are encased in semirigid cell walls and cemented together, preventing them from moving as animal cells do. This dictates a different set of mechanisms for shaping the body and different developmental processes to cope with a changeable environment.

Animal development is largely buffered against environmental changes, and the embryo generates the same genetically determined body structure unaffected by external conditions. The development of most plants, by contrast, is dramatically influenced by the environment. Because they cannot match themselves to their environment by moving from place to place, plants adapt instead by altering the course of their development. Their strategy is opportunistic. A given type of organ a leaf, a flower, or a root, say can be produced from the fertilized egg by many different paths according to environmental cues. A begonia leaf pegged to the ground may sprout a root; the root may throw up a shoot; the shoot, given sunlight, may grow leaves and flowers.


Animals spend energy to maintain an internally consistent state, while plants change their state in response to the environment.

Folksonomies: environment growth animals plants