Dr. Márton Rabi

Post-doctoral researcher

Room S505A
Sigwartstr. 10
72076 Tübingen

 +49 (0)7071 / 29-78930

Fields of interest

My research is specimen and organismic-based with a particular focus on Eocene terrestrial fossil-Lagerstätte localities including Geiseltal, Messel, and the Green River Formation of North America. I am interested in the physical and biological drivers of macroevolution and how these processes can inform conservation biology. My approach towards these questions are centred on systematics, divergence dating, and paleoecology with fossil reptiles and mammals as model clades.

Current projects

  • Resolving the phylogeny and biogeographic history of early Crocodylia through total evidence analysis and exceptionally preserved Eocene fossils. Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Projekt 417629144
  • Systematics, diversity history and paleobiogeography of Cenozoic turtles and crocodylians
  • Evolution of marine turtles 
  • Taxonomy of perissodactyl mammals from the Eocene Geiseltal fossil Lagerstätte



PhD in Geosciences (Palaeontology), University of Tübingen, Germany (Advisors: W. G. Joyce & H. Brocherens, New Insights into the Origin and Phylogeny of Cryptodiran Turtles Based on Key Fossil Taxa from the Mesozoic of Asia)
2003 – 2009

Diploma (M. S.), Geology, Department of Paleontology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary (Advisor: A. Galácz, Systematics and paleobiogeography of Late Cretaceous crocodyliforms from Iharkút, Hungary)

Work Experience

2011 – 2013 Graduate Researcher, Department of Geosciences, University of Tübingen


Graduate Researcher, Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Switzerland

2014 - 2015

Marie Curie-Train2Move research fellow, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Turin, Italy

2016 - 2020.04

VW Stiftung Postdoctoral research Fellow, Central Natural Science Collections, Martin-Luther University, Halle (Saale), Germany (2019-2020: partial to full parental leave)

2020 - recent

Research & lecturer (4 SWS), University of Tübingen, Department of Geosciences
2020 – recent Guest researcher, Central Natural Science Collections, Martin-Luther University, Halle (Saale), Germany




2021-recent ´Conservation paleobiology´ course for MSc students in geoecology at the University of Tübingen (2 SWS/semester)

2020-recent ´Erdgesichte´ course for BSc students in geology at the University of Tübingen (Paleozoic, Mesozoic, Cenozoic Earth history (2 SWS/semester)

2014-recent ‘Paleoecology of terrestrial ecosystems’ course for BSc and MSc students in geology and geoecology at University of Tübingen (Terrestrialization, Mass extinctions and recovery, Phaneorozoic history of terrestrial ecosystems, Methods in Paleoecology; 1-1.5 SWS/semester)

‘Terrestrial ecosystems’ course for Geology BSc students at the University of Tübingen (Paleobotany; 0.5 SWS)

2013-recent ‘Paleobiology’ course BSc and MSc students in geology and geoecology at University of Tübingen (Species concepts, Speciation, Macroevolution, Taxonomy, Phylogeny, Taphonomy classes plus seminars; 1.5 SWS/semester)

2016 ‘Paleobiology’ course for geology MSc and PhD students, University of Eötvös Loránd, Budapest, Hungary (Phylogenetics, 0.15 SWS)

Student Supervision

2022-recent Jeremias Göggler, MSc thesis supervision: Functional anatomy and stable isotopes to test the habitat of Eocene crocodilians from Geiseltal

2021-recent Felix Augustin, PhD co-supervision: Pleurodiran turtle phylogeny, University of Tübingen

2020-recent Gustavo Darlim, PhD co-supervision (DFG-funded): Tertiary diversification patterns and biogeographic history of crocodylians, University of Tübingen

2020-recent Jules Walter, PhD co-supervision (DFG and Universtiy of Torino): Diversification, phylogeny and body-size evolution of the extinct crocodylian Diplocynodon across the European greenhouse

2020-2021 Toth, Melitta (BSc, Eötvös Lorand University, Budapest) Shell-osteology of Foxemys trabanti (Late Cretaceous, Hungary) and the evolution of bothremydid turtles

2019-2022 Pavlo Otriazyi, PhD project co-supervision: Origin and evolution of seals in Europe, Zoological Institute of Ukraine, Kyjev

2018-2020 Tobias Massonne, PhD project co-supervision: Systematics of Paleogene Asian crocodylians

2018 Jules Walter, Erasmus Trainee fellow: Eocene Green River Formation crocodylians

2017 Simon Ring, BSc thesis: "Isotopic (O, C) investigation and body mass analysis of Eocene equids in Geiseltal: possible paleoenvironmental implications", University of Tübingen, Institute for Geosciences.

2016-2017 Tobias Massonne, MSc thesis: Eocene alligatoroid crocodilians from Vietnam, University of Tübingen, Institute for Geosciences.

2016 Letizia Ferro, visiting Erasmus+ postgraduate student from the Earth Sciences Department of the University of Turin (Late Cretaceous turtles from Romania)


2023-2025 Biogeographic history of European Paleogene salamanders : the fossil record to explain disjunct distribution of urodeles (Amphibia). Humboldt Foundation  –Dr. Loredana Macaluso, University of Turin, Italy. Role: project design, hosting of fellowship awardee


Massonne, T. , Darlim, G., Wings, O., Rabi, M. [ = equal contributions]. Osteology and global phylogeny of Hassiacosuchus haupti Weitzel, 1935 from the Eocene Messel and Geiseltal biotas reveal a single dispersal of semi-terrestrial Alligatorinae to Europe [final-stage manuscript; to be submitted to Journal of Systematic Palaeontology]

Rabi, M., Danilov, I.G., Sukhanov, V., Joyce, W.G. In review. Cranial anatomy of Hangaiemys hoburensis from the Early Cretaceous of Mongolia and phylogenetic relationships of stem-cryptodiran turtles. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Project-leader.

Darlim, G., Lee, M. Walter, J., Rabi, M. (2022). The impact of molecular data and fossil calibrations on the age of Crocodylia. Biology Letters, 18(2), 20210603. Co-project leader.

Walter, J. , Darlim, G., Massonne, T., A. Aase, E., Frey, Rabi, M. (2022). On the origin of Caimaninae: insights from new fossils of Tsoabichi greenriverensis and a review of the evidence. Historical Biology, 34(4), 580-595. [ = equal contributions].

Press coverage: fossil-caimans-north-america-evolutionary.html

Villa, A., Wings, O., & Rabi, M. (2022). A new gecko (Squamata, Gekkota) from the Eocene of Geiseltal (Germany) implies long‐term persistence of European Sphaerodactylidae. Papers in Palaeontology, 8(3), e1434. Co-project leader.

Press coverage: www.sci-

Georgalis, G.L., Rabi, M. & Smith, K.T. (2021). Taxonomic revision of the snakes of the genera Palaeopython and Paleryx (Serpentes, Constrictores) from the Paleogene of Europe. Swiss Journal of Palaeontology, 1-140, 18.

Augustin, F. J., Csiki-Sava, Z. Matzke, A. T. Botfalvai, G., Rabi, M. (2021). A new latest Cretaceous pleurodiran turtle (Testudinata: Dortokidae) from the Haţeg Basin (Romania) documents end- Cretaceous faunal provinciality and indicates selective survival across the K-Pg extinction. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, 19(15), 1059-1081. Co-project leader. Press coverage:

Ring, S. J., Bocherens, H., Wings O., Rabi, M. (2020). Divergent mammalian body size in a stable Eocene greenhouse climate. Scientific Reports 10: 3987. Co-project leader.

Press coverage:

Massonne, T., Vasylian D., Böhme, M., Rabi, M. (2019). A new alligatoroid from the Eocene of Vietnam highlights an extinct Asian clade independent from extant Alligator sinensis. PeerJ 7, e7562. Co- project leader.

Rabi, M., Bastl, K., Botfalvai, G., Evanics, Z., Peigné, S. (2018). A new carnivoran fauna from the late Oligocene of Hungary. Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments. 98:509-521. Project leader.

Vlachos, E., Rabi, M. 2018. Total evidence analysis and body size evolution of extant and extinct tortoises (Testudines: Cryptodira: Pan-Testudinidae). Cladistics 34(6): 652-683. Co-project leader. Covered in SciShow online video channel with 6 million subscribers:

Brinkman, D.B.*, Rabi, M.*, Lijun, Z. (2017). Lower Cretaceous fossils from China shed light on the ancestral body plan of crown softshell turtles (Trionychidae, Cryptodira). Scientific Reports 7, 6719. Project leader.

Foth, C., Rabi, M., & Joyce, W. G. (2017). Skull shape variation in extant and extinct Testudinata and its relation to habitat and feeding ecology. Acta Zoologica (Stockholm). 98(3), 310-325.

Joyce, W. G*., Rabi, M*., Clark, J. M., & Xu, X. (2016). A toothed turtle from the Late Jurassic of China and the global biogeographic history of turtles. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 16(1), 236. Co-project leader.

Press coverage:

Zhou, C.-F. * & Rabi, M.* (2015). A sinemydid turtle from the Jehol Biota provides insights into the basal divergence of crown-turtles. Scientific Reports 5, 16299. Project leader. Press coverage: 03485.html

Rabi, M. & Sebők, N. (2015). A revised Eurogondwana model: Notosuchian crocodyliforms and other vertebrate taxa suggest the retention of episodic faunal links during most of the Cretaceous. Gondwana Research, 28: 1197-1211. Project leader.

Joyce, W. G., Anquetin, J., Cadena, E. A., Claude, J., Danilov, I. G., Evers, S. W., Rabi, M & Parham, J. F. (2021). A nomenclature for fossil and living turtles using phylogenetically defined clade names. Swiss Journal of Palaeontology, 140(1): 1–45.

Li, L., Zhou, C-F., Rabi, M. (2021). The skeletal anatomy of Manchurochelys manchoukuoensis (Pan- Cryptodira: Sinemydidae) from the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation. Historical Biology, 34(3), 538-554. Co-project leader.

Kocsis, L., Botfalvai, G., Qamarina, Q., Razak, H., Király, E., Lugli, F., Wings, O. & Rabi, M. (2021).

Geochemical analyses suggest stratigraphic origin and late Miocene age of reworked vertebrate remains from Penanjong Beach in Brunei Darussalam (Borneo). Historical Biology, 33(11): 2627– 2638.

Tschopp, E., Araújo, R., Brusatte, S. L., Hendrickx, C., Macaluso, L., Maidment, S. C., Rabi, M. & Williamson, T. (2020). Dinosaurs, But Not Only: Vertebrate Evolution in the Mesozoic. In Nature through Time (pp. 187-208). Springer, Cham.

In preparation

Walter, J., Delfino, M., Martin, J., Rabi, M. Reassessment of the global phylogeny of Diplocynodontinae and its implications for early crocodylian paleobiogeography and diversification.

Rabi, M., Delfino, Darlim, G., Ösi, A. A new species of Allodaposuchus from the Late Cretaceous of Hungary may represent an insular dwarf crocodilian.

Darlim, G. Suraprasit K., Rabi, M. Cranial osteology of a new bizarre Alligator from the Pleistocene of Thailand: implications for crocodylian extinctions in South-East Asia.