At one time scientists believed that living things and non-living things were made of different material, accounting for the unique properties of living things. This idea is called vitalism and is no longer popular.
What does remain popular (in fact is still the dominant view) is a similar idea that things that experience the world (humans, frogs, mice) are different from things that don't experience the world (potatoes, rocks, snowflakes). But in order to believe there is a distinction between things that experience the world and things that don't, you either need to believe in dualism (the idea that spirit enables experience outside of the material world) or that experience and consciousness emerge from unconscious matter. Many increasingly find neither of these explanations satisfactory, which is why many, including prominent scientists and philosophers are now endorsing varieties of panpsychism.
Panpsychism is the idea that experience is a property of all matter, and that human consciousness is different in degree rather than kind from the rest of the universe.
Philosophers such as Galen Stawson and Thomas Nagel endorse varieties of panpsychism. Scientists are also beginning to support the idea, such as the neuroscientist Stefan Koch, who gives his reasons in this video.