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PhD: Small or Simple: Brain Evolution in Insular Large Mammals

Project Title

Small or Simple: Brain Evolution in Insular Large Mammals


Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU)

Supervisors and Institutions

Dr. Roberto Rozzi (Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg; Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin)

Funding Status

Funding is in place for this project

Project Description

Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the project “Small or simple: generality and causality of brain size reduction and simplification of cortical folding in insular large mammals” aims to investigate ecogeographic patterns of brain size variation and changes in the degree of cortical folding in insular large mammals by integrating data on fossil and living species. More specifically, the project concentrates on Artiodactyla, one of the most diversified and widespread clades of mammals, and involves the application of computed tomography, geometric morphometrics, and a combination of statistics and machine learning methods. The project represents a collaboration between the Natural Sciences Collections (ZNS) of MLU and the Museum of Natural History Berlin (MfN). The advertised position will be based in Berlin, but it will involve occasional travel to ZNS and other European museums and institutions for data collection.

Requirements: Completed university education (Master’s degree) in palaeontology / zoology / biology or an allied field. • Knowledge of the evolution, biology, and morphology of artiodactyls, including their brain anatomy. • Experience working with palaeontological / zoological collections. • Experience with comparative morphology and anatomical description of fossils. • Experience with the “R” statistical software environment. • Very good English language skills. • Excellent communication skills. • Ability to work independently as well as to contribute to a working group environment. • Additional qualities may include prior experience with geometric morphometrics and a scientific publication record.

Please submit your full application (in electronic form as single pdf file named with your surname) with registration number: 3-10807/23-D in the subject line until 30/11/2023 to Dr. Roberto Rozzi, E-mail: Applications should consist of (I) a cover letter, (II) a recent curriculum vitae, (III) academic degrees and certificates, and (IV) name and contact information for three references. The position is for 3 years and is fully funded. Start date: 01/03/2024. For further information, please contact Roberto Rozzi:

Contact Name

Roberto Rozzi

Contact Email

Link to More Information

Closing Date

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Expiry Date

Friday, December 1, 2023
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