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neoteny


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The retention of the juvenile body form, or particular features of it, in a mature animal. For example, the axolotl, a salamander, retains the gills of the larva in the adult. Neoteny is thought to have been an important mechanism in the evolution of certain groups, such as humans, who are believed to have developed from the juvenile forms of apes. See also heterochrony.

Subjects: Biological Sciences.


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