neoteny :

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nee o tuh nee

  • n  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

  • Our fondness for neoteny is both obvious most people find other people with youthful features to be attractive and unsettling.
  • Our species wouldn't survive if we weren't suckers for what's called neoteny--features like large eyes, an oversize head and a gumdrop nose that signal babyness.

  • Jack Horner in Science Daily (press release)
    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...

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