Definition of neoteny in English:


Pronunciation /nēˈät(ə)nē/ /niˈɑt(ə)ni/


  • 1Zoology
    The retention of juvenile features in the adult animal.

    • ‘This is a classic example of an evolutionary phenomenon known as neoteny - the retention of larval or juvenile features in mature adults.’
    • ‘In fact Neo, as he has been named, suffers from a condition known as neoteny, where juvenile characteristics, like gills, are retained into adulthood.’
    • ‘Among early codiacrinids adaptive forms evolved initially through both neoteny and progenesis.’
    • ‘This combination of characters is best interpreted as evolution through neoteny.’
    • ‘Some species (for example, the axolotl) display neoteny - that is, the larval features persist into sexual maturity.’
    1. 1.1The sexual maturity of an animal while it is still in a mainly larval state, as in the axolotl.
      Also called pedogenesis
      ‘The acquisition of sexual maturity by an animal while still in the larval stage is a process that goes under the name neoteny.’
      Also called pedogenesis
      ‘Facultative neoteny also occurs in some species of true salamanders.’


Late 19th century from German Neotenie, from Greek neos ‘new’ (in the sense ‘juvenile’) + teinein ‘extend’.



/nēˈät(ə)nē/ /niˈɑt(ə)ni/