Skip to Content
Use COVID-19 Alert Level 2 contact tracing form when on campus.
Doctor of Philosophy, (Physiology)
Study Completed: 2010
College of Sciences
Neurological development and the potential for conscious perception after birth: Comparison between species and implications for animal welfare
Ms Diesch investigated the onset of consciousness after birth in several species of animals. To this end, pain-specific electrical responses of the brain were examined in lightly anaesthetised young and the results interpreted in terms of brain and behavioural development. The findings suggest that in animals born with less mature brains (such as marsupials and rodents) consciousness is initially not present at birth and develops thereafter. In contrast, in animals born with mature brains (such as sheep and cattle) consciousness is present within minutes of birth but may be dulled for the first 12 hours by sedative hormones produced by the brain. The results of these studies have some novel implications for the maintenance of animal welfare standards in developmental research facilities and when dealing with newborn wildlife, companion animals and livestock.
Professor David Mellor
Professor Craig Johnson
Page authorised by Web Content Manager
Last updated on Tuesday 04 April 2017