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Patrick Arnold
Postdoctoral Researcher
Evolutionary Adaptive Genomics Group
Institute for Biochemistry and Biology
University of Potsdam
Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24-25, Haus 29, R 2.56
14476 Potsdam
email: patrickarnolduni-potsdamde
phone: (049) (0331) 977-5437
Google Scholar Profile
Researchgate Profile

PhD in Zoology, 2018. University of Jena/Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
MSc in Evolutionary Biology, 2014. University of Jena
BSc in Biology, 2012. University of Jena

Research Interests
I am generally interested in the evolution of vertebrates using approaches from genomics, comparative morphology, paleontology and phylogenetic/evolutionary modelling. My research mainly covers three subjects:

  1. Evolution and paleobiology of Afrotheria, a major group of placental mammals that radiated on the African continent during the late Creataceous. The deep divergence, high disparity but low diversity of extant species challenges the reconstruction of the afrotherian evolutionary history. I apply genomic and phylogenetic approaches but also modelling of paleontological data to answer this question. My particular focus is on the sengis/elephant shrews (Macroscelidea) as a model for early Afrotherians.
  2. Evolution of the mammalian axial skeleton with focus on the cervical spine. As (almost) all mammals have only seven cervical vertebrae, the mammalian neck is a gripping subject for the understanding of evolutionary constraints. I applied methods from comparative morphology (geometric morphometrics, anatomical network analysis) to the mammalian neck but now extent my research with genomic and paleontological approaches to understand the fixation to seven cervical vertebrae and the subsequent diversification of neck disparity/function across therian mammals.
  3. Limb bone adaptation and locomotion in tetrapods. As limb bones are the main actuators of tetrapod locomotion they are expected to show adaptation to different gaits and stances, locomotor ecologies, and body size. I am interested in limb range of motion, trabecular architecture, limb bone allometry in mammals and reptiles but also in the inference of locomotor capabilities and biomechanics in fossils.

I have experience in teaching courses in general and systematic zoology, human anatomy, comparative morphology, evolutionary biology of vertebrates, and methods in evolutionary biology.


  • Arnold, P (2023). Wilhelm Peters‘ mysterious ‘Macroscelides intufi’ from Mozambique. Afrotherian Conservation, 18, 4-7
  • Hagemann, J., Hofreiter, M., Bibi, F., Holroyd, P., & Arnold, P. (2023). Is it inappropriate to ask for your age? Evaluating parameter impact on tree dating in a challenging clade (Macroscelidea). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 183, 107756.
  • Arnold, P., Hagemann, J., Gilissen, E., & Hofreiter, M. (2022). Otter shrew mitogenomes (Afrotheria, Potamogalidae) reconstructed from historical museum skins. Mitochondrial DNA Part B, 7(9), 1699-1701.
  • Arnold, P., & Rutschmann, S. (2022). UCE sequencing-derived mitogenomes reveal the timing of mitochondrial replacement in Malagasy shrew tenrecs (Afrosoricida, Tenrecidae, Microgale). Mammalian Biology, 102(2), 531-536.
  • Arnold, P. (2021). Evolution of the mammalian neck from developmental, morpho-functional, and paleontological perspectives. Journal of Mammalian Evolution, 28(2), 173-183.
  • Arnold P (2019). A short history of scientific illustrations of sengis. Afrotherian Conservation, 12, 14-17
  • Wölfer J, Arnold P, Nyakatura JA (2019). Effects of scaling and locomotor ecology suggests a complex evolution of the scapular morphology in sciuromorph rodents. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 127(2), 175-196
  • Wölfer J, Amson E, Arnold P, Botton-Divet L, Fabre AC, van Heteren AH, Nyakatura JA (2019). Femoral morphology of sciuromorph rodents in light of scaling and locomotor ecology. Journal of Anatomy, 234(6), 731-747
  • Nyakatura JA, Melo K, Horvat T, Karakasiliotis K, Allen VR, Andikfar A, Andrada E, Arnold P, Lauströer J, Hutchinson JR, Fischer MS, Ijspeert AJ (2019). Reverse engineering the locomotion of a stem amniote. Nature 565, 351-355.
  • Böhmer C, Amson E, Arnold P, van Heteren AH & Nyakatura JA (2018). Mammalian Hox code and morphological modularity: homeotic transformations explain departure from the mammalian 'rule of seven' cervical vertebrae in sloths. BMC Evolutionary Biology 18, 84
  • Mielke M, Amson E, Arnold P, van Heteren AH, Wölfer J, Nyakatura JA (2018). Trabecular architecture in sciuromorph femoral head: Relation to body size and locomotor lifestyle. Zoological Letters 4, 10
  • Arnold P, Esteve-Altava B, Fischer MS (2017). Musculoskeletal networks reveal topological disparity in mammalian neck evolution. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 17(1), 251
  • Stark H, Fichtner M, Arnold P, Hesse B, Mischewski I, Fischer MS (2017). Methoden zur Quantifizierung kollagenhaltiger Strukturen. In: Dienstbühl I, Stadeler M, Scholle HC (eds). 23. Erfurter Tage – Prävention von arbeitsbedingten Gesundheitsgefahren und Erkrankungen. Edition: 23, Verlag Bussert & Stadeler, 2017, pp.299-303
  • Amson E, Arnold P, van Heteren AH, Canoville A, Nyakatura JA (2017). Trabecular architecture in the forelimb epiphyses of extant xenarthrans (Mammalia). Frontiers in Zoology, 14(1), 52.
  • Arnold P, Amson E, Fischer MS (2017). Differential scaling patterns of vertebrae and the evolution of neck length in mammals. Evolution, 71(6), 1587-1599
  • Arnold P, Forterre F, Lang J, Fischer MS (2016). Morphological disparity, conservatism, and integration in the canine lower cervical spine: Insights into mammalian neck function and regionalization. Mammalian Biology-Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde, 81(2), 153-162.
  • Arnold P, Fischer MS, Nyakatura JA (2014). Soft tissue influence on ex vivo mobility in the hip of Iguana: comparison to in vivo movement and its bearing on joint motion of fossil sprawling tetrapods. Journal of Anatomy, 225(1), 31-41