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Neoteny  (Latin: Neotenia) [ Biology ]
Adjective: Neotenic

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  The neoteny  (or neotenic development) is a term in biology that refers to the situation where an organism retains or prolongs throughout its life somatic characteristic which are typical of a juvenile or immature stage.  

Neoteny is a type of paedomorphosis which leads to a retardation of somatic development relative to the normal onset of sexual mature features, the juvenile or pre-adult physical characteristics persist into adulthood, resulting in sexually mature individuals with juvenile features.

The word itself is derived from the Latin neotenia, which is a composition of the prefix neo- meaning "young" and the Greek teinein meaning to extend.

Neotenic (Adjective) [ Biology ]

      Of or relating to or characterized by neoteny

Reaching sexual maturity while retaining juvenile characteristics; resulting in a permanent, sexually mature organism with juvenile or pre-adult features. The rate of growth of somatic (non-reproductive) parts of the body is slowed whereas development of reproductive organs proceeds normally.

A neotenic cactus (Turbinicarpus valdezianus).
This plant retain
 throughout its life the juvenile feathery spines typical of the young seedlings of most species of Turbinicarpus also in old sexual mature plants. 





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