Mini Wiki 4: The Animal Cell

Welcome to another mini wiki! The last three have been all about the genetics inside the cell, now I want to go a little bit further out by looking at the animal cell.

Lets start simply, what’s an animal cell?

Cells are often defined as the basic unit of all living things (Biology Online, 2008). An animal cell is defined as a eukaryotic cell in which all the organelles are contained in membranes (British Society for Cell Biology, undated).

Where can you find cells?animal-cell-structure1

 Living cells are quite literally everywhere. Unless the area has been made sterile (using high temperatures for example) then it will have cells on it. Living cells are also found in hot volcanic vents in the ocean floor and the very cold parts of the planet. Animals cells are found in every animal organism right down from amoeba (a singular celled organism) to more complex mammals and birds (British Society for Cell Biology, undated).

What are animal cells made of?

Animals cells are essentially sacks of cytoplasm, they are bordered by a cell membrane and within the cytoplasm you have organelles. The cell membrane keeps everything that the cell wants in inside and everything else out. The organelles all have their own function to keep the cell going and the cytoplasm is where the majority of the cells chemical processes take place.

Are all animal cells the same?

Essentially yes. They contain the same things and are made the same way but some might be specialised for a specific purpose. Examples of specialised animal cells include red blood cells, nerve cells and sperm (Revision, 2016).

How many cells are there in an entire human being?

This isn’t the easiest of questions to answer because you are constantly shedding cells and every human is of a different shape and size. Although roughly a good guess is at 37.2 trillion cells (Eveleth, 2013).

5 things you need to know about the animal cell!

  1. Cells are the basic unit of life.
  2. Living animals cells can be found almost everywhere.
  3. Cell membranes keep the contents of the cell together.
  4. Cell organelles all have their own purpose to keep the cell going
  5. Some animal cells are specialised to perform their own function.

Sources

Biology Online. (2008). Cell. Available: http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Cell. Last accessed 16/05/2016.

British Society for Cell Biology. (undated). What is a cell?. Available: http://bscb.org/learning-resources/softcell-e-learning/what-is-a-cell/. Last accessed 16/05/2016

British Society for Cell Biology. (undated). Where are cells found?. Available: http://bscb.org/learning-resources/softcell-e-learning/361-2/. Last accessed 16/05/2016

Eveleth, R. (2013). There are 37.2 Trillion Cells in Your Body Available: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/there-are-372-trillion-cells-in-your-body-4941473/?no-ist. Last accessed 16/05/2016.

Revision. (2016). Specialised Cells. Available: http://revisionworld.com/gcse-revision/biology/cell-activity/specialised-cells. Last accessed 16/05/2016.

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