A New Study Claims That Crustaceans Do Feel Pain

Scientists from Queen’s University in Belfast discovered crabs try to avoid pain caused by electrical shocks.


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Robert Elwood and Barry Magee found that shore crabs scuttled away from shelters that administered electrical shocks. During the trials, 90 crabs were placed in a lit tank with two different dark shelters available for refuge. Crabs in one of the two shelters were shocked. After being removed from the tank and then put back in twice, and shocked again two more times, scientists documented the crabs avoided the shelter that had shocked them. Elwood noted that steering clear from the potential pain source took precedent over the crabs’ search for dark space—a testament to the fact that crustaceans, despite what was previously widely believed, do feel pain.

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