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

The Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (MfN) is an excellent and integrated research museum of the Leibniz Association with an international reputation and globally connected research infrastructure. MfN is active in three closely interlinked fields: collection-based research, collection development, and research-based public and educational outreach. Over the next ten years, the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin will build up a science campus for nature and society in the centre of Berlin as science hub, together with the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. New laboratories and workplaces for cutting-edge research will be established. One of the world's most comprehensive natural history collections with over 30 million objects will be housed in state of the art buildings as well as fully digitized. The implementation of the so-called Zukunftsplan (future plan), funded with a total of 660 million euros from the Federal Government and the State of Berlin, strongly relies on interdisciplinary national and international partners. Become part of our team

Position: Research assistant (PhD student) (f/m/d)
work schedule: 65% of the weekly working time (currently 25 hours and 37 minutes per week)
Duration: External funding, as soon as possibe, limited for a period of 36 months
Salary level:
E 13 TV-L
Code: 64/ 2022

Project description:

The locomotor system lies at the intersection of anatomy and physics, as the locomotor organs’ produced motion is governed by the laws of physics. In light of this, the locomotor system provides a crucial lens through which to understand how the laws of physics influence the evolution of morphological and ecological traits. This project investigates limb bone morphology in mammals, as mammals have notably evolved a diversity of limb specializations encompassing running, climbing, digging, swimming, hopping, gliding, and flying. The project specifically focuses on the mammalian lineages Carnivora and Caviomorpha, two lineages that include a high number of species, which is ideal for studies of trait evolution, and have both independently evolved specializations for running, climbing, digging, and swimming. Taking advantage of the lineages’ convergence in locomotor specializations, the project uses finite element modelling and morphometrics to investigate whether convergence in locomotor specialization entails convergence in both biomechanical function and morphology.


  • Collection work (selection of predator and rodent species and study of skeletal anatomy)
  • µCT work, including scanning, digital reconstruction, and segmentation
  • Biomechanical work, particularly finite element modeling
  • Data analysis in the R language
  • Publication of research results and presentation at professional conferences
  • Exchange of ideas with the collaborating partner and on-site visit if necessary


  • Completed scientific university studies in biology or paleontology (master degree)
  • Good knowledge in the field of mammals, phylogenetics, and biomechanics
  • In-depth expertise in mammalian anatomy
  • Experience with working in the anatomy lab and CT lab
  • Willingness to travel nationally and internationally
  • Very good command of written and spoken English
  • Interdisciplinary communication skills
  • Independent, self-reliant work as well as the ability to work in a team and reliability are required

    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 11.08.2022, preferably via our online application portal.
    For information on the application procedure, please contact

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