How can you tell a plant cell from an animal cell?    

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gsenviro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Plant and animal cells are both eukaryotic but have certain significant differences that can be used to tell them apart. A plant cell has a cellulose membrane, called a cell wall, that separates it from the environment. Animal cells lack a cell wall, instead having a plasma membrane serve as the border between the cell and the environment. Plant cells are capable of making their own food and have chloroplasts, something which animal cells lack (as they are incapable of making their own food). A plant cell has a large central vacuole, while the animal cells have a number of much smaller vacuoles. Animal cells contain lysosomes, which are absent from plant cells. Animal cells have irregular shapes, unlike plant cells which have a fixed shape.

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