Commentary Type

Invited Commentary


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


“Sentience” means the capacity to feel, and feelings are private affairs. Sentience is hence extremely difficult to quantify in nonhuman animals. We have no direct means of determining whether an animal is sentient. Thus we rely on a series of indirect measures or criteria which collectively provide some level of confidence about the probability that an animal is sentient. Crump et al. propose a modified framework based on 8 criteria for estimating the likelihood of sentience in a target taxon. Whereas I very much like their proposed framework, I would suggest a couple of amendments that may improve it further: a weighting for each criterion and the addition of a “data insufficient” category (to differentiate lack of evidence from evidence of lack).

Creative Commons License

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

Author Biography

Culum Brown, Professor of vertebrate evolution at Macquarie University, is Co-Editor of Fish Cognition and Behavior and Editor of the Journal of Fish Biology. He studies behavioural ecology of fishes with a special interest in cognition, personality and laterality. Website