Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 53

neoteny - Neoteny in evolution, Neoteny in humans, Animal kingdom, Neoteny and progenesis

juvenile characters adult

A relative slowing down of bodily (somatic) development, so that sexual maturity is attained in an organism while retaining some juvenile characters. In an evolutionary perspective, this gives rise to descendants that retain as adults juvenile features of their ancestors. An example is the Mexican axolotl, a newt which becomes sexually mature before metamorphosing into the adult, so that it retains juvenile characters, such as external gills, even as an adult.

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