- B.S. in Biology (with honors), Calvin College, 2005
- Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, 2011
- Calvin University, Associate Professor of Biology (2019–present)
- Calvin College, Assistant Professor of Biology (2012–2019)
- Olivet Nazarene University, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences (2011–2012)
I grew up in central Illinois and graduated from Calvin in 2005. I moved on to the University of Michigan, where I earned a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology in 2011. After spending a year as a professor at Olivet Nazarene University, I returned to Calvin and joined the Department of Biology in 2012. Outside of academia, I enjoy German tabletop games, science fiction (especially Star Wars), super heroes, rooting for the St. Louis Cardinals and Michigan Wolverines, and exploring nature with my wife and two sons.
I am interested in comparative anatomy, functional morphology, vertebrate paleontology, and the evolutionary history of mammals (especially aquatic mammals). I mostly teach courses courses related to anatomy and physiology, but I have also co-led off-campus courses in Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, and New Zealand.
I am also deeply interested in the relationship between science and Christian faith. I have been a speaker for the BioLogos Foundation since 2016 and frequently speak at churches and schools about evolutionary science and Christianity. In addition, I have been a Scholarship and Christianity in Oxford (SCIO) visiting scholar in science and religion and a participant in SCIO's Bridging the Two Cultures of Science and the Humanities II program.
Research and scholarship
In the past, I have worked on fossil horses and pinnipeds, but most of my research has focused on fossil cetaceans. For my doctoral work, I studied an enigmatic group of fossil whales from the middle Eocene of Pakistan called remingtonocetids. My research focused on their postcranial skeleton and utilized multivariate statistical analyses and three-dimensional multibody dynamic models to test hypotheses of vertebral function. In 2009, I spent two months on a paleontological dig in Egypt, where I helped to excavate the skeletons of fossil whales at Wadi Al-Hitan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Egypt's western desert. I routinely work in research collections at museums, where I study the anatomies of modern mammals to aid in the interpretation of fossil forms.
My current research focuses on the transition from foot-powered to tail-powered swimming in the earliest fossil cetaceans. I am also working on an interdisciplinary project exploring the theological ramifications of pre-human animal death and suffering that are a part of the evolutionary process.
R.M. Bebej, C. Curia. 2020. Book review: Jesus Loves You and Evolution Is True: Why Youth Ministry Needs Science by Sara Sybesma Tolsma and Jason Lief. Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 72: 185–186.
R.M. Bebej. 2019. Book review: The Rhinoceros and the Megatherium: An Essay in Natural History by Juan Pimentel. Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 71: 57-58.
R.M. Bebej. 2018. Book review: The Rise of Marine Mammals: 50 Million Years of Evolution by Annalisa Berta. Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 70: 275-276.
R.M. Bebej, K.M. Smith. 2018. Lumbar mobility in archaeocetes (Mammalia: Cetacea) and the evolution of aquatic locomotion in the earliest whales. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 182: 695-721. DOI: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlx058
P.D. Gingerich, K. Heissig, R.M. Bebej, W. von Koenigswald. 2017. Astragali of Pakicetidae and other early-to-middle Eocene archaeocetes (Mammalia, Cetacea) of Pakistan: locomotion and habitat in the initial stages of whale evolution. Paläontologische Zeitschrift 91: 601-627. DOI: 10.1007/s12542-017-0362-8
R.M. Bebej. 2017. Book review: Cetacean Paleobiology by Felix G. Marx, Olivier Lambert, and Mark D. Uhen. Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 69: 113-114.
R.M. Bebej, I.S. Zalmout, A.A. Abed El-Aziz, M.S.M. Antar, P.D. Gingerich. 2015. First remingtonocetid archaeocete (Mammalia, Cetacea) from the middle Eocene of Egypt with implications for locomotion and biogeography in early cetacean evolution. Journal of Paleontology 89: 882-893. DOI: 10.1017/jpa.2015.57
R.M. Bebej. 2013. Book review: Evolution and Belief: Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist by Robert J. Asher. Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 65: 56-58.
R.M. Bebej, M. ul-Haq, I.S. Zalmout, and P.D. Gingerich. 2012. Morphology and function of the vertebral column in Remingtonocetus domandaensis (Mammalia, Cetacea) from the middle Eocene Domanda Formation of Pakistan. Journal of Mammalian Evolution 19: 77-104. DOI: 10.1007/s10914-011-9184-8
A.R. Wood, R.M. Bebej, C.L. Manz, D.L. Begun, and P.D. Gingerich. 2011. Postcranial functional morphology of Hyracotherium (Equidae, Perissodactyla) and locomotion in the earliest horses. Journal of Mammalian Evolution 18: 1-32. DOI: 10.1007/s10914-010-9145-7
R.M. Bebej. 2009. Swimming mode inferred from skeletal proportions in the fossil pinnipeds Enaliarctos and Allodesmus (Mammalia, Carnivora). Journal of Mammalian Evolution 16: 77-97. DOI: 10.1007/s10914-008-9099-1
- 2020 Calvin University Advising and Mentoring Award
- 2017 Calvin College Professor of the Year (presented by Calvin College K4L: Student Alumni Association)
- Off-campus programs:
- Student organizations:
Learn more about Calvin's excellent faculty and learning environment by scheduling a campus visit.Visit »
- Course code: