Any member of the kingdom Animalia (see taxonomy), a group of many-celled organisms that differ from members of the two other many-celled kingdoms, the plants and the fungi (see fungus), in several ways. Animals have developed muscles, making them capable of spontaneous movement (see locomotion), more elaborate sensory and nervous systems, and greater levels of general complexity. Unlike plants, animals cannot manufacture their own food, and thus are adapted for securing and digesting food. In animals, the cell wall is either absent or composed of material different from that of the plant cell wall. Animals account for about three-quarters of living species. Some one-celled organisms display both plant and animal characteristics. See also algae, arthropod, bacteria, chordate, invertebrate, protist, protozoan, vertebrate.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on animal, visit Britannica.com.
Seen & Heard
What made you look up animal? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.