Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Neoteny

1. the attainment of sexual maturity in the larval state.

2. retention of the features of an infantile or juvenile animal of one species in the adult form of a different species; pedomorphosis achieved when sexual maturation take place while the individual is still in a pre-adult stage of phenotypic development by prolonging the rate of somatic maturation. Certain features of late development, such as delayed tooth eruption in humans, when compared with similar stages in chimpanzees, are examples of neoteny in humans.

Cf. progenesis.

See proterogenesis.

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