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Why animal cells have more variety in shape than plant cells?
Question Date: 2011-09-22
Answer 1:

Animal cells do have a little more variety because plant cells have rigid cell walls. This limits the shapes that they can have. Both plant cells and animal cells have flexible membranes, but these are inside walls in plant cells, sort of like a trash bag in a trash can. Animal cells just have the membrane.

If you look at pictures of cells in books, you might get the idea that there are not too many types. Often a book will show one or two cells that are supposed to represent all cells. This is like using one animal to represent all animals. You might choose an earthworm or a fly, even though salmon, sea anemones, sea gulls, and horses are all animals too.

Can you think of types of cells that animals have and plants do not? Here's a hint, what can animals do that plants cannot? How about types of cells that plants have, but animals do not?

Thanks for asking,

Answer 2:

Plant cells have cell walls around them, and animal cells don't have cell walls.The cell walls give plant cells their boxy shapes.

All cells have cell membranes, and the membranes are flexible. So animal cells can have various shapes, but plant cells only have the shapes of their cell walls. That's nice for plants, because it gives them the ability to grow up and out, where they can get lots of sunlight for making their food. And the animals' flexible cells give them the ability to move around to find food, but they don't grow as big and tall, with their flexible cells.

Bacteria have cell walls, too, and they mostly have similar shapes, usually like cylinders that are rounded at the ends.

Best wishes,

Answer 3:

Plant cells have cell walls, which form a three-dimensional grid of material that also functions in holding the plant up, since plants otherwise have no skeletons. This does put some limits on the shapes that plant cells can get into.

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