Jump to content

largest animal cell?


Guest scientific!
 Share

Recommended Posts

Guest scientific!

hi everyone,

I'm doing a project for school and I need to know what the largest cell in an animal is (how big it is) and what animal it is in. Anyone got any ideas??

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry to disappoint, but I don't actually know. I know Amphiumas (a nearly-legless, eel-like amphibian of the southern US) have the largest erythrocytes, but not who has the largest *cell* period. Various egg-laying species might, possibly including the ostrich, and I've heard the tail neuron of a whale mentioed before in this context, but nothing definite.

 

Mokele

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A single neurone in a human can be over a metre long. It's probably a lot longer in an elephant, and even longer in a blue whale.

 

Are you sure you don't mean nerve, which is many cells. I didn't think neurons were that big.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Invidual neurons can be quite large. The common squid had a giant axon (often used in neuron research and where we know most everything from) so large it's actually visible to the naked eye (and this is a 12-15 inch squid), because greater diameter means faster transmission. This huge axon allows squids to jet backward with contractions of mantle before a predator can reach them.

 

Mokele

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you sure you don't mean nerve, which is many cells. I didn't think neurons were that big.

Nope, I mean neuron.

 

For example, the sensory path is a three neuron system (generally, but not always). So, you have a single neuron from the sense organ (say a touch receptor in the skin of the sole of your foot), this projects up and synapses in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord with an ascending spinothalamic neuron (another single neuron) which synapses in the thalamus with another projection neuron which extends from the thalamus to the appropriate area of the primary sensory cortex.

 

The first neuron, from the sense organ to the dorsal horn can be over a metre long. The second; the spinothalamic projection neuron, can be around 45cm long.

 

In any event, the term Nerve refers to a collection of nerve fibres (the axons of single neurons), bound together forming fascicles. Many fascicles are bound together to form nerves. So, a nerve is really just a bundle of bundles of individual axons. In general, neurons tend not to synapse within nerves, so the individual neurons (or axons) are, in general, as long as the nerve.

 

However, Mokele makes a good point. Long doesn't necessarily mean big. The squid giant axon is bloody huge by comparison to neurons in other species.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.