What Is the Function of a Typical Animal Cell?

Animal cells function in a variety of ways, depending on the type of cell they are, but common cells perform functions such as digestion, support and nerve transmission. There are a number of different types of cells in every animal, though most animals have similar types of cells. Cell function influences the shape, size and character of the cells in animal bodies.

Common types of cells that many animals have include nerve cells, bone cells, skin cells, stomach cells, liver cells, blood cells and hair cells. However, not all animals have all of the various cell types, as reptiles, for instance, do not have hair cells. However, cells that make blood, nerves and bones are nearly ubiquitous.

Cells have a variety of functions they perform. Red blood cells carry oxygen through the body. Nerve cells, also called neurons, transmit electric impulses from the brain to the rest of the body. Skin cells combine to form a protective barrier that protects the organism.

Animals also produce sex cells, called gametes. Gametes take the form of sperm or eggs, and they feature half of the genetic complement of the parents. When gametes combine, they form a unique individual with a full DNA strand.