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Oldfield Thomas

Oldfield Thomas
Painting by Walter Stoneman
Born February 21, 1858
Millbrook, Bedfordshire
Died June 16, 1929(1929-06-16) (aged 71)
Nationality British
Fields Zoology
Known for Mammalogy
Author abbrev. (zoology) Thomas

(Michael Rogers) Oldfield Thomas FRS FZS (February 21, 1858 – June 16, 1929) was a British zoologist.[1][2][3]

Thomas worked at the Natural History Museum on mammals, describing about 2,000 new species and subspecies for the first time. He was appointed to the Museum Secretary's office in 1876, transferring to the Zoological Department in 1878. In 1891 Thomas married Mary Kane, daughter of Sir Andrew Clark, heiress to a small fortune, which gave him the finances to hire mammal collectors and present their specimens to the museum. He also did field work himself in western Europe and South America. His wife shared his interest in natural history, and accompanied him on collecting trips.[2] In 1896 when William Henry Flower took control of the department he hired Richard Lydekker to rearrange the exhibitions,[4] allowing Thomas to concentrate on these new specimens.[5][6] Officially retired from the museum in 1923, he continued his work without interruption. He committed suicide by shooting himself with a handgun while sitting at his museum desk[7] in 1929, aged 71, about a year after the death of his wife, "a severe blow from which he never recovered".[2]


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  4. ^ The Natural History Museum at South Kensington, William T. Stearn ISBN 0-434-73600-7
  5. ^ Oldfield Thomas, Catalogue of the Marsupialia and Monotremata in the Collection of the British Museum (Natural History) Dept of Zoology (1888), Taylor and Francis, London full textCatalogue of the Marsupialia... retrieved 3/21/2007
  6. ^ Oldfield Thomas F. R. S., The History of the Collections Contained in the Natural History Departments of the British Museum Vol. II, Separate Historical accounts of the Historical Collections included in the Department of Zoology, I. Mammals,(1906) William Clowes and Sons Ltd. London. retrieved 3/21/2007 The History of the Collections..." full text
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