Dr. Gabriela Sobral

Profilbild Gabriela Sobral




0711 / 8936-179
0711 / 8936-100

Research Profile

I am a vertebrate palaeontologist interested in vertebrate anatomy, evolution, and development of reptiles.

My research aims to understand the correlation between organismic-level features and higher-level evolutionary processes, for which I focus on the morphological architecture of the braincase within a phylogenetically- and ecologically-informed framework using 3D modelling techniques. I have experience with CT scans of fossils and extant vertebrate material, including iodine-stained samples (DICE-CT), as well as with phylogenetic and comparative methods.

I am currently working on the origin and early diversification of diapsid reptiles, encompassing inner ear and endocast shape analysis, taxonomy and systematics, and evolutionary rates of mostly, but not limited to archosauromophs and lepidosauromorphs.



  • Sobral G. 2023. The holotype of the basal archosauromorph Prolacerta broomi revisited. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 68:393–413. DOI: 10.4202/app.01067.2023


  • Sobral G. The paleoneurology of early reptiles. 2022. In: Dozo MT, Paulina-Carabajal A, Macrini TE, Walsh S (eds). Paleoneurology of Amniotes – New Directions in the Study of Fossil Endocasts, pp. 9 – 27. Springer, Cham. ISBN 978-3-031-13982-6. DOI: /10.1007/978-3-031-13983-3_2


  • Sobral G, Sues H-D, Schoch RR. 2021. A new diapsid with a unique tooth structure from the Middle Triassic (Ladinian) of Germany. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2021.1929268
  • Martínez RN, Simoes TR, Sobral G, Apesteguía S. 2021. A Triassic stem lepidosaur illuminates the early evolution of lizard-like reptiles. Nature 597, 235–238. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03834-3
  • Schoch RR, Sobral G. 2021. A new species of Sclerocephalus with a fully ossified endocranium gives insight into braincase evolution in temnospondyls. Journal of Palaeontology. DOI: 10.1017/jpa.2021.51
  • Bronzati M, Benson RBJ, […] Sobral G […] Nesbitt SJ. 2021. Deep evolutionary diversification of semicircular canals in archosaurs. Current Biology 31:1-10. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2021.03.086
  • Buchmann R, Holgado B, Sobral G, Avilla LS, Rodrigues T. 2021. Quantitative assessment of the vertebral pneumaticity of a pterosaur using micro-CT scanning. Scientific Reports 11, 18718. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-97856-6
  • Slobodian V, Rizzato PP, Sobral G. 2021. Vertebrates (Chordata). In: Vonk J, Shackelford T (eds). Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior, 28 pp. Springer, Cham.  DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1426-1


  • Sobral G, Simões TR, Schoch RR. 2020. A tiny new Middle Triassic stem-lepidosauromorph from Germany: implications for the early evolution of lepidosauromorphs and the Vellberg fauna. Scientific Reports, 10:2273. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-58883-x
  • Sookias RB, Dilkes D, Sobral G, Arcucci AB, Bhullar, B-AS, Werneburg I. 2020. The craniomandibular anatomy of the early archosauriform Euparkeria capensis and the dawn of the archosaur skull. Royal Society Open Science 7:200116. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.200116
  • Sues H-D, Schoch RR, Sobral G, Irmis R. 2020. A new archosauriform reptile with distinctive teeth from the Middle Triassic (Ladinian) of Germany. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2020.1764968


  • Sobral G, Müller J. 2019. The braincase of Mesosuchus browni (Reptilia, Archosauromorpha) with information on the inner ear and description of a pneumatic sinus. PeerJ 7:e6798 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.6798


  • Müller J, Bickelmann C, Sobral G. The Evolution and fossil history of sensory perception in amniote vertebrates. Annual Reviews of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 46:495 – 519. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-earth-082517-010120


  • Sobral G, Sookias RB, Bhullar B-AS, Smith R, Butler RJ, Müller J. 2016. New information on the braincase and inner ear of Euparkeria capensis Broom: implications for diapsid and archosaur evolution. Royal Society Open Science 3: 160072. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160072
  • Sobral G, Müller J. 2016. Archosaurs and their kin: the ruling reptiles. In: Clack JA, Ray RR & Popper AN (eds). Evolution of the vertebrate ear – evidence from the fossil record. Springer Handbook of Auditory Research, volume 59, pp. 285 – 326. Springer International Publishing AG, Switzerland. ISSN 0947-2657, eISSN 2197-1897. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-46661-3_10
  • Sobral G, Reisz RR, Scheyer T, Neenan J, Müller J. 2016. Basal reptilians, marine diapsids, and turtles: the flowering of reptile diversity. In: Clack JA, Ray RR & Popper AN (eds). Evolution of the vertebrate ear – evidence from the fossil record. Springer Handbook of Auditory Research, volume 59, pp. 207 – 243. Springer International Publishing AG, Switzerland. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-46661-3_8


  • Sobral G, Sues HD, Müller J. 2015. Anatomy of the enigmatic reptile Elachistosuchus huenei Janensch, 1949 (Reptilia: Diapsida) from the Upper Triassic of Germany and its relevance for the origin of Sauria. PLoS ONE 10(9): e0135114. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135114
  • Butler RJ, Ezcurra MD, Montefeltro FC, Samathi A, Sobral G. 2015. A new species of basal rhynchosaur (Diapsida: Archosauromorpha) from the early Middle Triassic of South Africa, and the origin and early evolution of Rhynchosauria. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 174:571 – 588. DOI: 10.1111/zoj.12246


  • Witzmann F, Rothschild BM, Hampe O, Sobral G, Gubin YM, Asbach P. 2014. Congenital malformations of the vertebral column in ancient amphibians. Anatomia, Histologia, Embryologia, 43: 90 – 102. DOI: 10.1111/ahe.12050


  • Tsuji LA, Sobral G, Müller J. 2013. Ruhuhueria reiszi, a new procolophonoid reptile from the Triassic Ruhuhu basin of Tanzania. Comptes Rendus PalevolDOI: 10.1016/j.crpv.2013.08.002


  • Sobral G, Hipsley CA, Müller J. 2012. Braincase redescription of Dysalotosaurus lettowvorbecki (Dinosauria, Ornithopoda) based on Computed Tomography. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 32:1090 – 1102. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2012.693554

Curriculum Vitae

Work Experience


  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Staatlisches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart (SMNS), Germany; Project: Origin and early radiation of Neodiapsida.


  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Staatlisches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart (SMNS), Germany; Project: New reptiles of the Middle Triassic of Germany. PI: Dr. Rainer Schoch


  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo (MZ-USP), Brasilien; Project: Development of the braincase in crocodylians.


  • Associate Professor, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC), Brasilien; Courses: Vertebrate Zoology (Biology); Introduction to Zoology (Aquiculture)



  • PhD in Biology (Palaeontology) at the Humboldt–Universität zu Berlin (HUB) and Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (MfN), Germany. Thesis title: "The Evolutionary Origin of Impedance-matching Hearing in Archosauria."


  • Masters in Comparative Biology at the Universidade de São Paulo (USP), Brazil. Dissertation title: "Comparative Analysis of Total Evidence and Taxonomic Congruence in the Study of Two Groups of Fossil Reptiles."


  • Bachelor Degree in Biology (Zoology) at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and Museu Nacional do Rio de Janeiro (MNRJ), Brazil. Monograph title: "Construction of a supertree for Coelurosauria (Dinosauria, Theropoda) by the method of Matrix Representation with Parsimony – MRP."

Professional Service

2023 – Present

  • Handling Editor, Palaeontologia Electronica

2018 – 2021

  • Panel Chair, Colbert Prize for Best Student Poster, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology

Grants & Awards



  • Taylor & Francis Award for Best Student Article in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology



  • SYNTHESIS (European Union)


  • Aid for Participation in Scientific Meeting, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (Brazil)


  • Doris O. and Samuel P. Welles Research Fun, University of California Museum of Paleontology (USA)
  • Postgraduate Travel Fund, The Palaeontological Association (UK)


  • SYNTHESIS (European Union)
  • The Jackson School of Geosciences Student Member Travel Gran, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (USA)

Scientific Communication and Public Outreach

2016 – Present

  • Dragões de Garagem (Podcast in Portuguese), Production Team