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Andrew Crump, Heather Browning, Alex Schnell, Charlotte Burn, and Jonathan Birch, Sentience in decapod crustaceans: A general framework and review of the evidence


Strong points of the target article by Crump et al. are that it offers clear criteria for judging whether decapods are sentient, an effective semi-quantitative grading system for this purpose, and an astute, critical review of the literature. It concludes plausibly that major subgroups of decapods are sentient. A minor problem is that it includes classical, Pavlovian learning as a marker of sentience along with the more valid marker of complex (e.g., operant) learning. Another minor problem is that it does not distinguish results that are negative because of likely absence of sentience from results that are negative because they have not yet been gathered. Future studies should explore how decapods are sentient with so few neurons in their nervous system (

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Author Biography

Jon Mallatt, Clinical Associate Professor, WWAMI Medical Education Program, University of Idaho, does research on the origin of the major animal groups, especially vertebrates, and the evolution and nature of consciousness. Website

Todd E. Feinberg, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai does research on how the neurobiology of the brain creates consciousness and the individual’s sense of identity. Website