Heterochrony: When Development Speeds Up or Slows Down

I’ve spoken of neoteny before in regards to domestic dogs- the concept that domestic dogs retain juvenile traits of their ancestral species, the gray wolf, into adulthood. These traits can include folded ears, shorter snouts, barking, more limited social behaviors, and a higher incidence of “puppyish” behaviors.

Photo on 2014-02-12 at 10.29 #2

For example, this dog is pestering me for attention right now.

But I think that while this concept isn’t new to those familiar with the evolution of the domestic dog, many people aren’t aware that there is an entire field of study devoted to examining the rates at which animals develop.

Let’s have a look!

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