research assistant (PhD student) (f/m/d)

Museum für Naturkunde - Leibniz Institute for Research on Evolution and Biodiversity (MfN), Berlin

Our Mission: Discovering and describing life and earth - with people, through dialogue.

The Museum für Naturkunde - Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science is an excellent and integrated research museum within the Leibniz Association. Its activities cover and tightly link the fields of collection-based research, development of collections and public engagement with science.

research assistant (PhD student) (f/m/d)

Work schedule: 75% of the weekly working time (currently 29 hours and 33 minutes per week)

Duration: External funding, Immediately/soon as possible for 34 month

Salary level: E 13 TV-L

Code: 77/2020

Project description:

Throughout Paleozoic and Mesozoic stem- and crown-tetrapods, the skull morphology is remarkably divergent and extreme skull modifications (characterized by a frequent losses of bony elements), are observed among the different groups. The extreme end to this trend is exemplified in modern lissamphibians, in which only 19 out of the original 43 dermal skull elements of their early tetrapod ancestors are retained. In the present project, the skull morphology of a broad selection of early tetrapod and lissamphibians that are adapted to different lifestyles will be investigated to detect how and specifically why dermal bones are lost repeatedly and if this pattern evolved convergently in the different lineages of early tetrapods.


  • Scientific research in the DFG funded project: “Evolutionary simplification of the dermatocranium in early tetrapods”
  • Morphological examination of the dermal skull bones of numerous early tetrapods and lissamphibians in terms of shape variation (geometric morphometrics)
  • Production of thin-sections of early tetrapods specimens (paleohistology)
  • Examination of the extension and location of the jaw muscles in early tetrapods
  • Publication of scientific results in peer-reviewed journals
  • Attending and participating in international conferences

The project associated with this position will fulfill the requirements of a doctoral degree.  


  • Master’s (or comparable) degree in Biology or Paleontology
  • Profound knowledge of early tetrapods and lissamphibians
  • Basic knowledge of morphological (geometric morphometrics) and/or histological (paleohistology) methods are desirable
  • Willingness to undertake national and international business trips
  • Very good English language skills (written and spoken)
  • Ability to work in a team, reliability and self-sufficiency

Special notes:

In support of equal rights applications from qualified women are particularly welcome. Handicapped individuals will be given preference in cases of identical qualifications.

We look forward to receiving your application with the usual documents (cover letter, curriculum vitae, certificates) by 30.10.2020, preferably via our online application portal.

For information on the application procedure, please contact recruiting(at)mfn.berlin.

Further informations:

Privacy Policy:

By sending your application, you provide us with your information for the purpose of processing your application by the Museum für Naturkunde. Your data will be kept strictly confidential at all times. Once we have received your application documents, they will be entered into our database. Your data will be stored on our server. In doing so, we observe the provisions of the data protection laws.

Information about the handling of applicant data at the MfN (in German) 


Privacy policy for the MfN website (in German)

Family Policy:

The Museum für Naturkunde has set itself the goal of promoting a work-life balance and has been awarded the certificate berufundfamilie audit of berufundfamilie gGmbH - an initiative of the Hertie Foundation.

Further information can be found under https://www.museumfuernaturkunde.berlin/en/uber-uns/jobs-und-karriere/arbeiten-am-museum-fur-naturkunde/reconciling-work-and-family-life-audit.