Research, field work & people


General research interests

  • Evolutionary morphology and palaeobiology of vertebrates
  • Development of soft and hard tissues of vertebrates (focus "integument")
  • Microanatomy and microstructural analysis of bone
  • Interaction of functional, phylogenetic, and structural aspects in vertebrates
  • (Palaeo-)Ecology of fossil and extant vertebrates
  • Evolution and Development in armor-bearing vertebrate groups (e.g. thyreophoran dinosaurs, turtles, crocodiles, placodont reptiles)

Scan data

Placodont Psephoderma alpinum skull in virtual cross-section

Turtle evolution

Giant tortoise at Zoo Zurich




Fieldwork in the badlands near Urumaco, Falcón State, Venezuela




Fieldwork and research visits

  • Beijing, China and provinces in southwestern China
  • Falcon state, Venezuela
  • Nevada, USA
  • Switzerland and southern Germany
  • South Africa



The exhibition 'Krokodil im Baum'/'Crocodile in a tree' was an outreach activity of our group aiming at transmitting the notion of evolutionary trees to understand biodiversity and its origin, using crocodylians as main subject. Prof. Marcelo Sánchez used crocodylians as previous research results published by Scheyer et al. (2013) as the scientific basis for an AGORA grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation. The realization of the exhibit was coordinated by Life Science Zurich.


Following the closure of the special exhibit in the Zoological Museum of the University of Zurich, a virtual tour though the exhibit was made to digitally preserve the exhibit as a source of information for scholars and the public. A German and an English version of the virtual tour are  available on the PIMUZ website.

Marine vertebrate apex predators during the Griesbachian to Smithian interval (left) and the Spathian to Anisian interval (right). From Scheyer et al., 2014 (PloS ONE)


Life reconstruction of Palaeopython helveticus sp. nov. and other faunal elements of the Dielsdorf palaeoenvironment during the late middle–late Eocene. From Georgalis and Scheyer, 2019 (Swiss J Geosci).
















Infographic to accompany the new study "Giant extinct caiman breaks constraint on the axial skeleton of extant crocodylians" just published in eLife (see Lab publications) for further information

Life reconstruction of the giant freshwater turtle Stupenendemys geographicus from the Miocene of the northern Neotropics. From Cadena et al. 2020 (Sci Adv).

[Most popular media release from UZH in 2020]











3D Reconstruction of Colobops noviportensis from the Triassic. In our study we re-interpreted the tiny skull as a rhynochcephalian (Lepidosauria), not a rhynchosaurian archosauromorph. From Scheyer et al. 2020 (R Soc Open Sci)


Lab Leader, lecturer




Visiting scientists



Technical staff





Doctoral students


Masters students



Volunteers/Research interns

  • Leon Nobs
  • Lukas Rothacher
  • Chiara Zanatta


Lab alumni



PhD-committees of the PI


Co-supervision of former MSc theses

  • Iris Ehrbar (UZH), Madeleine Geiger (UZH), Vivien Jaquier (UZH), Patricia Meier (ETHZ), Fiona Straehl (UZH), Olivier Strauss (UZH)


Co-supervision of former BSc theses

  • Moritz Reisser (ETHZ)
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