Thursday, April 3, 2008

Neoteny and the Axolotl

Here we have an interesting creature called the Axolotl. It's a neotenic mole salamander. Neoteny is an interesting phenomenon, which involves a species in the course of it's evolution retaining it's embryonic or infantile characteristics into adulthood. Humans in our evolution from Apes do this to a large extent. Our brain growth takes place to a large extent after birth, while other apes have much more fully developed brains. Human beings are born with brains only 23% of their final adult size. Our brains grow well into our twenties. Apes such as chimpanzees, on the other hand have their brains growing for only about six years after birth. Since our survival depends on brain rather than brawn, this neotenous character helps us no end. Other neotenous characteristics also helped us enormously in our evolution. (For more details read Desmond Morris.) Anyway, this little fellow, the Axolotl is found in Mexico and is closely related to the Tiger Salamander. Axolotl larvae fail to undergo metamorphosis and hence remain aquatic and gilled. For more details check wikipedia. I just thought the axolotl was interesting, so I put him up here . Cheers! Enjoy!


Roshan George said...

Our brains grow well into our twenties

Do not agree. Mine stopped at the 23% stage.

Very interesting, indeed, and a good candidate for anthropomorphism

Daughter of the Night said...

Rubbish. Yours is still growing. Like a cauliflower. *grins*

Indeed. The axolotl is terribly cute, isn't he?