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Why are dogs so varied in appearance, demeanor, and size?

Dogs are the most varied species of mammal on earth. This has been achieved by altering the rates at which various parts of the body develop, both before and after birth, so that some dogs, Pekingese for example, are more similar to a fetal wolf than to an adult. This process, often referred to as neoteny, is not unique to dogs – for example, it also occurs in salamanders.

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