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Neoteny is a type of heterochrony where bodily development is slowed, but sexual development goes on at the same rate. This results in a sexually mature juvenile or larval form. A classic example is the Axolotl.

It has often been suggested that the human species is, at least to some extent, an example of neoteny. These features of adult humans are different from those of adult great apes, but more similar to those of juvenile apes:

These are some of the neotenous traits in humans: flattened face,[1] broadened face,[2] large brain,[1] hairless body,[1] hairless face,[3] small nose,[3] reduction of brow ridge,[1] small teeth,[1] small upper jaw (maxilla),[1] small lower jaw (mandible),[1] thinness of skull bones,[2] limbs proportionately short compared to torso length,[2] longer leg than arm length,[4] larger eyes,[5] and upright stance.[6][7]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Montagu A. 1989. Growing young. Bergin & Garvey: CT.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Gould S.J. 1977. Ontogeny and phylogeny. Cambridge: Belknap Press.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jean-Baptiste de Panafieu P. 2007. Evolution. Seven Stories Press.
  4. Maynard Smith J. 1958. The theory of evolution. Cambridge University Press.
  5. Zidbits. "Why Do Men Find Women With Larger Eyes Attractive?". Zidbits - Learn something new everyday!.
  6. Hetherington R. 2010. The climate connection: climate change and modern human evolution. Cambridge University Press.
  7. Henke W. 2007. Handbook of paleoanthropology, Volume 1. Springer, N.Y.