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When does a fetus become a person?

WB Thomas Thomas.William at HOSPITAL.VET.UTK.EDU
Tue Feb 18 12:58:42 EST 1997

Daniel Pouzzner <douzzer.mit.edu> wrote:
>Neurobiologically, a fetus becomes a person at about 9 months
>post-natal, or 18 months after conception.  This is because the need
>for the woman to be capable of efficient locomotion precludes
>enlargement of the cervix to a large enough diameter to permit
>complete maturation of the child's brain in the uterus; among
>placental mammals this species-wide premature birth situation is
>unique, I believe.
I'm probably mis-understanding this statement, but are you saying
that human beings are unique in that their brains continue to
mature after birth?

Many carnivores are born with brains that are at least as "immature",
compared to people. Consider the blind, deaf, non-ambulatory newborn
puppy whose brain will udergo extensive development in the first 6
weeks of life. Of course, other mammals, such as many herbivores, are
neurologically quite precocious at birth--a definite advantage if
you may be someones next lunch
WB Thomas

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