Comparative Biologist | Vertebrate Palaeontologist


I am a comparative biologist and vertebrate palaeontologist interested in the use of digital tools to understand macroevolution of reptiles. I am currently the Scientific Coordinator of the µCT imaging joint-lab of the Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment and the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany.

My research focuses on the use of computational methods and tools, especially µ Computed Tomography (µCT), to explore macroevolutionary patterns, morphology and function of animals, chiefly reptiles. Most of my track record was built on turtles, a group with a long evolutionary history (>210 million years), a considerable extant diversity, and a highly modified body plan, characteristics that make them a very interesting model for macroevolutionary studies.

I have a double-degree Ph.D. from the University of Sao Paulo and the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, under the co-supervision of Profs. Max Langer and Madelaine Böhme. My thesis, entitled "Patterns of Morphological Evolution in the Skull of Turtles: Contributions from Digital Palaeontology, Neuroanatomy, and Biomechanics" has been awarded the Bernhard-Rensch Prize 2020 by the Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik, from Germany.

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Using micro-computed tomography, contrast-enhanced staining, and other digitalization techniques, I can virtually reconstruct the hard and soft-tissues in extant and extinct species. With the 3d virtual models a number of new questions and possibilities emerge, such as exploring the biomechanics of biological structures using Finite Element Analyses (FEA).



In order to understand evolution in the deep time I apply analytical techniques, such as geometric morphometrics, phylogenetic comparative analyses, and ancestral area reconstructions, to explore morphological disparity, species diversity, and biogeographical patterns in organisms.



The bases to explore evolutionary patterns are relationship trees. For that reason, part of my work is to describe new species and to construct phylogenetic hypotheses, using different time-calibrating methods, that can be employed in other analyses of reptiles.



22. Joyce WG, Anquetin J, Cadena E-A, Claude J, Danilov IG, Evers SW, Ferreira GS, Gentry AD, Georgalis GL, Lyson TR, Pérez-García A, Rabi M, Sterli J, Vitek NS, Parham JF. 2021. A nomenclature for fossil and living turtles using phylogenetically defined clade names. Swiss Journal of Palaeontology, doi: /10.1186/s13358-020-00211-x. Open Access

21. Aguiar JMRBV, Ferreira GS, Sanches PA, Bento JMS, Sazima M. 2021. What pollinators see does not match what they smell: absence of color-fragrance association in the deceptive orchid Ionopsis utricularioides. Phytochemistry, doi: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2020.112591. Access

20. Montefeltro FC, Lautenschlager S, Godoy PL, Ferreira GS, Butler RJ. 2020. A unique predator in a unique ecosystem: modelling the apex predator within a Late Cretaceous crocodyliform-dominated fauna from Brazil. Journal of Anatomy, doi: 10.1111/joa.13192. Access

19. Ferreira GS, Lautenschlager S, Evers SW, Pfaff C, Kriwet J, Raselli I, Werneburg I. 2020. Feeding biomechanics suggests progressive correlation of skull architecture and neck evolution in turtles. Scientific Reports, doi:10.1038/s41598-020-62179-5. Open Access

18. Hermanson G, Iori FV, Evers SW, Langer MC, Ferreira GS. 2020. A small podocnemidoid (Pleurodira, Pelomedusoides) from the Late Cretaceous of Brazil, and the innervation and carotid circulation of side‐necked turtles. Papers in Palaeontology, doi: 10.1002/spp2.1300. Access

17. Evers SW, Neenan JM, Ferreira GS, Werneburg I, Barrett PM, Benson RBJ. 2019. Neurovascular anatomy of the protostegid turtle Rhinochelys pulchriceps and comparisons of membranous and endosseous labyrinth shape in an extant turtle. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, doi: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlz063. Access

16. Langer MC, Martins NO, Manzig PC, Ferreira GS, Marsola JCA, Fortes E, Lima R, Sant’ana LCF, Vidal LS, Lorençato RHS, Ezcurra MD. 2019. A new desert-dwelling dinosaur (Theropoda, Noasaurinae) from the Cretaceous of south Brazil. Scientific Reports, doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45306-9. Open Access

15. Ferreira GS, Werneburg I. 2019. Evolution, diversity, and development of the craniocervical system in turtles with special reference to jaw musculature. In Heads, Jaws and Muscles: Evolution, development, anatomical diversity and function, Eds. J. Ziermann, R. R. Diaz Jr, R. Diogo (Heidelberg, Springer) doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-93560-7_8

14. Marsola JCA, Ferreira GS, Langer MC, Button DJ, Butler RBJ. 2018. Increases in sampling support the Southern Gondwanan hypothesis for the origin of dinosaurs. Palaeontology, doi: 10.1111/pala.12411. Access

13. Ferreira GS, Bandyopadhyay S, Joyce WG. 2018. A taxonomic reassessment of Piramys auffenbergi, a neglected turtle from the late Miocene of Piram Island, Gujarat, India. PeerJ, doi: 10.7717/peerj.5938. Open Access

12. Carbonaro FA, Langer MC, Nihei SS, Ferreira GS, Ghilardi RP. 2018. Inferring ancestral range reconstruction based on trilobite records: a study-case on Metacryphaeus (Phacopida, Calmoniidae). Scientific Reports, doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-33517-5. Open Access

11. Ferreira GS, Bronzati M, Langer MC, Sterli J. 2018. Phylogeny, biogeography and diversification patterns of side-necked turtles (Testudines: Pleurodira). Royal Society Open Science, doi: 10.1098/rsos.171773. Open Access

10. Godoy PL, Ferreira GS, Dassie ECG, Hsiou AS, Castro ACMC. 2018. Formação continuada no ensino de Paleontologia, pelo exemplo do projeto “Oficina de Paleontologia: os fósseis dentro da sala de aula”. Revista Cultura e Extensão USP, doi: 10.11606/issn.2316-9060.v17isupl.p11-19. Access

09. Godoy PL, Ferreira GS, Montefeltro F, Vila Nova B, Butler R, Langer MC. 2018. Evidence for heterochrony in the cranial evolution of fossil crocodyliforms. Palaeontology, doi: 10.1111/pala.12354. Access

08. Lautenschlager S*, Ferreira GS*, Werneburg I. 2018. Sensory evolution and ecology of early turtles revealed by digital endocranial reconstructions. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, doi: 10.3389/fevo.2018.00007. Open Access

07. Ferreira GS, Iori FV, Hermanson G, Langer MC. 2018. New turtle remains from the Late Cretaceous of Monte Alto-SP, Brazil, including cranial osteology, neuroanatomy and phylogenetic position of a new taxon. Paläontologische Zeitschrift, doi: 10.1007/s12542-017-0397-x. Access

06. Hermanson G, Ferreira GS, Langer MC. 2016. The largest Cretaceous podocnemidoid turtle (Pleurodira) revealed by an isolated plate from the Bauru Basin, south-central Brazil. Historical Biology, doi: 10.1080/08912963.2016.1248434. Access

05. Ferreira GS. 2017. Turtlers, monsters and the revised evolutionary theory. Evolution & Development,

doi: 10.1111/ede.12226. Access

04. Ferreira GS. 2016. Abordagens convergentes, novidades evolutivas e a origem da carapaça das tartarugas. Revista da Biologia, doi: 10.7594/revbio.16.01.01. Open Access

03. Ferreira GS, Rincón, AD, Solórzano, A, Langer MC. 2016. Review of the fossil matamata turtles: earliest well-dated record and hypotheses on the origin of their present geographical distribution. The Science of Nature, doi: 10.1007/s00114-016-1355-2. Access

02. Ferreira GS, Rincón, AD, Solórzano, A, Langer MC. 2015. The last marine pelomedusoids (Testudines: Pleurodira): a new species of Bairdemys and the paleoecology of Stereogenyina. PeerJ, doi: 10.7717/peerj.1063. Open Access

01. Ferreira GS, Langer MC. 2013. A pelomedusoid (Testudines, Pleurodira) plastron from the Lower Cretaceous of Alagoas, Brazil. Cretaceous Research, doi: 10.1016/j.cretres.2013.10.001. Access



Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution

& Palaeoenvironment (SHEP Tübingen) at

the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

Hölderlinstrasse 12, room S308e

D-72074 Tübingen, Germany

+49 7071 29 77594

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©2020 por Gabriel S. Ferreira. Orgulhosamente criado com

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