Are Rocks Alive? (The Answer Might Surprise You)

No, rocks are not alive (aka rocks are non-living).

Let us explain.


The Difference Between Living and Non-Living Things

It is important to understand how living vs non-living things are classified, sorted.

Scientifically, something that is considered living might not match up what a layperson considers to be living.

A living things scientifically is something that can move, grow, eat, and/or reproduce.

It doesn’t have to be able to do all those things, though some (like animals) do.

Something that used to move, grow, eat and/or reproduce that has since died is still considered “living” even though that thing is no longer in that state.

As an example, a cat is pretty obviously a living thing.

It can move, grow, eat, and reproduce.

However, once it dies, it no longer moves, grows, eats, or reproduces.

But scientifically, it is still considered a “living” thing.

Even though it is dead.

Other examples of items that can live and died are: insects, trees, grass, humans, bacteria, amoebas, penguins, golden retrievers, and mushrooms.

Contrast this with a non-living thing.

A non-living thing is something that cannot move, grow, eat, and/or reproduce.

Examples of non-living things include ice, fire, lightning, earthquakes, weather, temperature, water, air, glass, steel, and sunlight.

There is some argument to be made about whether petrified wood is living or non-living, but we take the position that it is non-living.

Where Do Rocks Fit? (Living vs Non-Living)

Now that we have a definition for living vs non-living, let’s look at rocks.

A rock is a solid mass of geological materials. (source) It can include minerals, inorganic non-mineral materials, other pieces of rocks, and more.

They are formed in many ways (igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic).

Though rocks are formed, they are not born.

Though they can get bigger, rocks do not grow.

They also don’t move, eat, or reproduce.

They don’t breathe, evolve, or need energy.

They don’t produce waste.

While rocks can be moved, they don’t do it on their own.

While rocks can be made bigger or smaller, or cut in half to make more than one rock, they don’t do it on their own.

For all these reasons, rocks are considered non-living things.

Do Rocks Have Living Cells?

Rocks are not made up of living cells like we humans and animals are.

Rocks are made up of many different kinds of substances (elements and compounds).

But these substances are not made up of cells.

Can Rocks Contain Living Matter (Like Cells)?

Sure, it happens all the time.

Rocks are frequently the “homes” for organisms which cling to its surface or nestle into its crevices.

In certain situations, living things (and their cells) can even be mixed in with and preserved inside rock.

But those cells don’t become part of the rock; they are just mixed in with it (like you might see with volcanic activity and fossils).

The rock is what it is regardless of the existence of the living matter.

Are Rocks Considered Dead Then? (Alive or Dead?)

Nope, rocks are not considered dead.

Dead happens to something that once lived.

Since rocks are never alive, they can never die.

Thus in the question of whether rocks are dead or alive, the answer is neither.

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