9 May 2007

Do Crayfish Have Souls?

Dear Blue Lobster:

This morning I woke up and walked over to my tank to find my crayfish not moving attached to a plant. I used the net to pull him out and while he is moving occassionally, he is pretty still. Is he about to molt or has he passed on?

Thank you for your time.

Dear Gentle Sir:

Indeed, your cray has passed on, or as some in the profession called it, "crossed over." What hasn't been established at this time, however, is whether crustaceans have a soul to enjoy some sort of pleasant afterlife with. It is a long, ugly debate that is still currently raging within crustaceology circles today.

Most recently Pope John Paul II announced that animals do posses divine existence beyond this world. The sticky point, however, is that since the word "animal" as used by non-scientists usually only refers to amphibians and their descendants, do arthropods, and therefore crustaceans, possess divine essence?

Current research by crustaceologist Dr. Henry Philamore has further compounded the issue; he published a paper regarding strange electrical emissions from crayfish upon expiration which he claims to be evidence of a soul escaping the cray's body. Opponents to the theory claim it is only a maelstrom of electrical activity in the cray's nervous system before death and nothing more.

As the debate continues, pet owners can bet safely and treat their dead friend in the manner most comfortable to them. Some flush their crays down a toilet while others bury them in the back yard. One young girl actually made a biodegradable coffin from a shoebox complete with a tissue-paper tuxedo and tophat for her cray; the ceremony gave her the closure she needed and the coffin and its contents were decomposed completely within a year.

The choice between a flush or funeral is entirely up to the owner of the departed crustacean and their own personal religious or philosophical beliefs. I wish you well in this time of sorrow, gentle sir.