What exactly is an animal? What characteristics does it have? Knowing the ins and outs of what makes an organism an Animal Kingdom member is crucially important for any student of biology and any active learner. Chances are that some point in your academic career you will have a science test with questions that deal with information on animals. Don’t wing it. Review and use your resources to acquire more knowledge about things like vertebrates, amphibians, cnidarians and more.
Read the five main characteristics of an animal below. If anything, it will help you ace your next biology test.
Five Facts about Animals
- 1. Animals are multi-cellular. They are not single-celled organisms. They are also eukaryotes and are not prokaryotes like bacteria and archaea. This is absolutely vital that you understand this because it makes a huge difference in how the individual cells of the organism function. Animals have cells with specialized organelles.
- 2. Nearly all animals reproduce sexually by use of eggs and sperm. This is what humans, monkeys, alligators and birds do. There are a few animals that can reproduce asexually through various processes like budding or regeneration. For examples, sponges have the great skill of regeneration. This means they can grow back broken parts.
- 3. All animals have various parts with different jobs to do. These are called specialized parts. Think of yourself. What do the various parts of your body do? A heart’s job is much different than your intestines or your liver. Different areas have specialized functions.
- 4. Every single animal has the ability to move. Obviously, humans, birds, tigers and other things that we normally identify as being in this Kingdom possess the ability to move. But what about sponges? What about coral? These things are animals, but do they move? The answer is yes. Sponges, albeit rarely, do move. And so do coral.
- 5. Animals are known to be consumers. Every single one is a consumer. Consumers are organisms that feed on other life forms or matter. This means that they do not produce energy from sunlight in like plants. Animals get their energy by eating other animals or by eating plants. A lion gets its energy from the buffalo it eats. The buffalo gets its energy from the grass and plants it eats. And those plants use photosynthesis to obtain energy from the sun. Hence, humans and other members of this Kingdom do not get their energy first-hand from the sun.
Holt, Rinehart, and Winston (Holt Science and Technology). 1997. Life Science. Austin, Texas. Pp. 356-359.