All living beings are made up of cells. A simple cell is the basic unit of structure of a living organism that can carry out a variety of functions for survival. Living cells are present in the living organism only and are non-existing in non-living species. Most of the organisms are either made up of one cell or more than one. This is the ground basis of The Cell Theory.  Cells are quite small, which cannot be seen by the naked eye and can only be witnessed under a microscope to reveal their minute detail structure.


In 1665, Robert Hooke discovered the composition of cork and named these compartments as “cells”. Antone Van Leuwenhoek was the first one who found one-celled living organisms like bacteria. Further, contributions encountered were of Robert Brown in 1830 that he observed a dark stained structure in the cell which he named Nucleus. 

Cells are divided into two categories: Unicellular and multicellular. Multicellular includes all plant and animal cells which are composed of cells. This was proved by Theodor Schwann and Matthias Schleiden. Schwann, a zoologist found that the animal body is formed of cells while Schleiden, a botanist claimed it for plants. Although, these have structures in common while certain are significant or the distinguishing features among plant and animal cells.

Similarities between Plant cell & Animal cell

  • Animal and Plant cells share similar origin and structure as both cells are eukaryotic and belong to domain “Eukarya”.
  • Both cells constitute multicellular organisms
  • Both cells contain membrane-bounded cellular organelles like nuclei, ER, mitochondria, Golgi bodies, etc.
  • Plant and animal cells contain a definite nucleus
  • Their overall shape and structure are surrounded by a cell membrane

Difference between Plant cell & Animal cell

  • Size– Plant cells are largely bigger as compared to that of an animal cell. Plant cells range in size 30-100 micrometers while animal cells are of 10-30 micrometers.
  • Shape- Animal cell is irregularly shaped or round while plant cells are mostly square or rectangular in structure. Animal cells are more flexible compared to plant cells
  • Cell Wall- Animal cell does not carry a protective wall around it. On the other hand, plant cell shape, and structure are maintained by a rigid cell wall over it. This wall consists of proteins and cellulose, providing protection and stature to plant cell bodies.
  • Plasma membrane– Both animal and plant cells possess a plasma membrane or the cell membrane. It is the outermost covering in animal cells whereas it is attached to an exterior cell wall in a plant cell.

Based on different Organelles

Both types of multicellular organisms have membrane-bounded organelles in them. Some are present in both while some are found in only one group. 

  • Nucleus– Both types of cells contain nucleus however the position of it varies in the cell. In a plant cell, the nucleus is present and lies at one side while in the case of animal cell it is present at the center of the cell. 
  • Lysosomes- Animal cells carry a larger amount of lysosomes organelle while plant cell also consists of them but the incidence is very rare. More often, in replacement of lysosomes, lytic vacuoles are found in plants performing the degradation.
  • Centrosomes– These are present in animal cells while being absent from the plant cells.
  • Vacuoles- Are present in both plant and animal cells. Vacuoles vary in number and position. In animals, they are small and numerous in quantities and are scattered all over the cell but in the plant cell, only one or two large vacuoles are present which lies at a specific position either the center or one side.
  • Plastids- Theses are major organelle present in each plant cell as plants are autotrophic organisms conducting photosynthesis through chlorophyll while animals being heterotrophic do not require plastids. 
  • Mitochondria– This organelle acts like a powerhouse of the cell, is found in both plant and animal cells but vary in number. Plants have less while animal cells contain multiple mitochondria.
  • Ribosomes– They are present in both animal and plant cells. They are the protein-making machinery of the cell. In plants, ribosomes are present in the attached form associated with the surface of rough endoplasmic reticulum mainly whereas a few numbers of are also entangled to mitochondria or chloroplasts, and some are scattered in the cytoplasm. While in the case of animal cells, are floating in the cytoplasm or cytosol and attached ribosomes to RER are also found
  • Centrioles– Are necessary for division to take place. Animal cells possess centrioles and cytoskeleton to form spindle fiber during mitosis in animal cells. But most of the plants do not contain centrioles and therefore, no division takes place in them, the only size of the cell enlarges.Plant cells vs Animal cells

Comparison of Plant and animal cell

Other Major Components

  • Essential Nutrients– Plant cells are autotrophs and therefore can synthesize its food like amino acids, vitamins, and co-enzymes necessary to perform various functions. In contrast to this, an animal is heterotrophs that rely on other organisms for food, are not capable of synthesizing its essential food requirements.
  • Cilia– these are the locomotory organs required by the organisms to show movement. Plant cells do not possess cilia and are static while the animal cell body is surrounded by either one or a bush of cilia aiding them in locomotion.
  • Growth– Plant and animal cells differ in their growth patterns. As plant cells increase in size by absorbing water from their surrounding into their centrally positioned vacuoles. Whereas, animal cells increase in numbers by division or multiplying their cells.
  • Mode of Nutrition– Plants are autotrophs and animals are heterotrophs
  • Energy– Plant store energy in the form of starch whereas animal cells contain energy in the form of complex carbohydrate and glycogen

Plant and Animal cellsExample of Plant and animal cells

Cytokinesis: Animal VS Plant cells

Cytokinesis is the division of cytoplasm in the cell, physical separation of cytosol compartments. This process is the second major stage for mitosis and occurs in both plant and animal cells. Cytokinesis is similar in almost all eukaryotes however; it differs somewhat in plant cells.

In animal cells: Animal cells lack cell walls and cytokinesis is initiated along with the onset of anaphase. Actin filaments present inside the plasma membrane forms a contractile ring at the metaphase plate that ejects a jerk at the equator to pull the cell inwards. This force results in a “fissure” called “Cleavage Furrow”.  This furrow gets deepen moving apart from the two membranes.

In-plant cells: For the division of daughter cells, in plants, the Golgi apparatus accumulates the co-enzymes, proteins, and structural molecules inside them, These Golgi bodies are transferred at metaphase plate during the stage of telophase forming a large vesicular structure “Phragmoplast”. Now, the vesicles break at this point and from the center continue moving towards the cell wall periphery forming a Cell plate. At the separation of a cell into two, enzymes utilize the glucose stored creating a new cell wall for each newly formed daughter cell. Later, this Golgi membrane becomes part of the plasma membrane of the new cell.

           CYTOKINESIS  IN ANIMAL CELL                      VS                             CYTOKINESIS IN  PLANT CELL