from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In biology, the inheritance of a characteristic at an earlier stage of individual development than that at which it first appeared; acceleration of development. According to the theory of tachygenesis, new characteristics are first acquired by adult organisms; are inherited at earlier and earlier periods in the lives of their descendants; and, finally, the older characteristics are crowded out and dropped from the beginning of the embryonic history, thus making room for the new characteristics which are continually being added on to the organism during its adult life.
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Thus Hyatt and others found that in Ammonites the first formed coils of the shell often reproduce the characters belonging to types known to be ancestral, and what is more they have demonstrated the actual occurrence of the phenomenon known as acceleration or tachygenesis, often postulated by speculative morphologists. [