Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The retention of juvenile characteristics in the adults of a species, as among certain amphibians.
  • noun The attainment of sexual maturity and subsequent reproduction by an organism still in its larval stage.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In biology: The reversion of a phylum to a modified embryonic condition.
  • noun The retention by an organism of larval or juvenile characters beyond the time characteristic of other members of the group to which it belongs. This may be partial, as in the case of some toads and frogs, whose young pass the winter in the tadpole condition, or total, as in some salamanders that retain their external gills when adult. Also neotenia.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun biology The retention of juvenile characteristics in the adult.
  • noun biology The sexual maturity of an organism still in its larval stage.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an evolutionary trend to be born earlier so that development is cut off at an earlier stage and juvenile characteristics are retained in adults of the species

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[New Latin neotenia : neo– + Greek teinein, ten-, to extend; see tenesmus.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From German Neotenie, in turn from Ancient Greek νέος (neos, "young") and τείνειν (teinein, "tend to").

Examples

  • Humans, especially females, are likewise evolutionarily wired to respond in a nurturing way to faces that have a quality of neoteny, which is to say, the retention of infantile characteristics: large head, wide and prominent eyes, slightly helpless and winsome.

    For the Cheerleader in Everyone

  • It seems highly plausible that, as Australopithecus evolved through various intermediates to Homo sapiens, shortening the muzzle all along the way, it did so by the obvious route of retaining juvenile characteristics into adulthood the process called neoteny, mentioned in Chapter 2.

    THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH

  • It seems highly plausible that, as Australopithecus evolved through various intermediates to Homo sapiens, shortening the muzzle all along the way, it did so by the obvious route of retaining juvenile characteristics into adulthood the process called neoteny, mentioned in Chapter 2.

    THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH

  • What they found was quite consistent with the notion of neoteny, not only for body shape but for dog language.

    How to Speak Dog

  • The most important of these involves neoteny, which is the technical term describing the fact that certain juvenile features and behaviors are retained in the adult.

    How to Speak Dog

  • This condition, called neoteny, means it keeps its tadpole-like dorsal fin, which runs almost the length of its body, and its feathery external gills, which protrude from the back of its wide head.

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  • "Dinosaurs, like birds and many mammals, retain neoteny, that is, they retain their juvenile characteristics for a long period of growth," Horner said, "which is a strong indicator that they were very social animals, grouping in flocks or herds with long periods of parental care."

    PhysOrg.com - latest science and technology news stories

  • "Dinosaurs, like birds and many mammals, retain neoteny, that is, they retain their juvenile characteristics for a long period of growth," Horner said, "which is a strong indicator that they were very social animals, grouping in flocks or herds with long periods of parental care."

    PhysOrg.com - latest science and technology news stories

  • This condition, called neoteny, means it keeps its tadpole-like dorsal fin, which runs almost the length of its body, and its feathery external gills, which protrude from the back of its wide head.

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  • This condition, called neoteny, means it keeps its tadpole-like dorsal fin, which runs almost the length of its body, and its feathery external gills, which protrude from the back of its wide head.

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