Oldfield Thomas

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

Oldfield Thomas

Portrait of Michael Rogers Oldfield Thomas - ZooKeys-255-103-g003-bottom right.jpeg
Painting by John Ernest Breun
Michael Rogers Oldfield Thomas

21 February 1858
Died16 June 1929(1929-06-16) (aged 71)
Known forMammalogy
Scientific career
InstitutionsNatural History Museum
Author abbrev. (zoology)Thomas


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.[4] 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,[5] allowing Thomas to concentrate on these new specimens.[6][7]

Thomas viewed his taxonomy efforts from the scope of British imperialism. "You and I in our scientific lives have seen the general knowledge of Mammals of the world wonderfully advanced – there are few or no blank areas anymore," he said in a letter to Gerrit Smith Miller Jr.[4]

Officially retired from the museum in 1923, he continued his work without interruption. Although popular rumours suggested he died by shooting himself with a handgun while sitting at his museum desk,[8] he actually died at home[9] in 1929, aged 71, about a year after the death of his wife, "a severe blow from which he never recovered".[2]

Taxonomic descriptionsEdit

Higher ranksEdit



  1. Admiralty flying fox
  2. Asian particolored bat
  3. Azores noctule
  4. Bare-tailed armored tree-rat
  5. Beatrix's bat
  6. Bibundi bat
  7. Birdlike noctule
  8. Bonthain rat
  9. Brooks's dyak fruit bat
  10. Buff-bellied fat-tailed mouse opossum
  11. Dark-brown serotine
  12. Dayak fruit bat
  13. Desert woodrat
  14. Egyptian pipistrelle
  15. Ethiopian hare
  16. Euryoryzomys macconnelli
  17. Forrest's pika
  18. Buller's pocket gopher
  19. Gerbillus allenbyi
  20. Gerbillus bonhotei
  21. Gerbillus eatoni
  22. Great evening bat
  23. Greater bamboo bat
  24. Greater Papuan pipistrelle
  25. Greater sheath-tailed bat
  26. Guadalcanal monkey-faced bat
  27. Hairy-footed flying squirrel
  28. Harpy fruit bat
  29. Hinde's lesser house bat
  30. Holochilus chacarius
  31. Hylomyscus aeta
  32. Indonesian mountain weasel
  33. Intermediate long-fingered bat
  34. Isabelle's ghost bat
  35. Junín red squirrel
  36. Korean hare
  37. Lagos serotine
  38. Large Luzon forest rat
  39. Lesser long-fingered bat
  40. Light-winged lesser house bat
  41. Long-tailed planigale
  42. Bengal slow loris
  43. Javan slow loris
  44. Luzon hairy-tailed rat
  45. Maclear's rat
  46. Goeldi's marmoset
  47. Melanomys robustulus
  48. Mindomys hammondi
  49. Miniopterus manavi
  50. Monito del monte
  51. Mount Popa pipistrelle
  52. Bare-tailed woolly mouse opossum
  53. White-bellied woolly mouse opossum
  54. Woolly mouse opossum
  55. Mouse-like hamster
  56. Neacomys guianae
  57. Neacomys spinosus
  58. Neacomys tenuipes
  59. Nectomys magdalenae
  60. Nephelomys auriventer
  61. Nephelomys caracolus
  62. Nephelomys childi
  63. Nephelomys levipes
  64. Nephelomys meridensis
  65. Nesoryzomys indefessus
  66. New Guinea long-eared bat
  67. Oecomys flavicans
  68. Oecomys mamorae
  69. Oecomys paricola
  70. Oecomys phaeotis
  71. Oecomys rex
  72. Oecomys roberti
  73. Oecomys superans
  74. Oligoryzomys arenalis
  75. Oligoryzomys victus
  76. Opossum rat
  77. Oreoryzomys balneator
  78. Oryzomys peninsulae
  79. Parahydromys asper
  80. Paruromys dominator
  81. Persian vole
  82. Pratt's roundleaf bat
  83. Proechimys roberti
  84. Pygmy fruit bat
  85. Sculptor squirrel
  86. Scutisorex somereni
  87. Southern common cuscus
  88. Sphaerias blanfordi
  89. Spinifex hopping mouse
  90. Strange big-eared brown bat
  91. Sturdee's pipistrelle
  92. Sulawesi giant rat
  93. Surat serotine
  94. Szechwan myotis
  95. Taiwan field mouse
  96. Thomas's yellow bat
  97. Tiny pipistrelle
  98. Velvety fruit-eating bat
  99. Inland broad-nosed bat
  100. White-bellied lesser house bat
  101. White-tipped tufted-tailed rat
  102. Woolly flying squirrel
  103. Woolly-headed spiny tree-rat
  104. Zygodontomys brunneus
  105. Zyzomys argurus

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Thomas, Oldfield". Who's Who. Vol. 59. A & C Black. 1907. p. 1737.
  2. ^ a b c Haddon, Alfred Cort (1929). "MR. M. R. Oldfield Thomas, F.R.S". Nature. 124 (3116): 101–102. Bibcode:1929Natur.124..101M. doi:10.1038/124101a0. ISSN 0028-0836.
  3. ^ Haddon, Albert Cort (9 May 1901). "M. R. Oldfield Thomas". Nature. 64 (1645): 37–38. doi:10.1038/064038a0. Archived from the original on 24 September 2020. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Between Science and Empire: Oldfield Thomas and Anglo-American Zoology". Smithsonian Institution Archives. 19 January 2016. Archived from the original on 24 June 2019. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  5. ^ The Natural History Museum at South Kensington, William T. Stearn ISBN 0-434-73600-7
  6. ^ 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 Catalogue of the Marsupialia... full text
  7. ^ 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 21 March 2007 The History of the Collections..." full text Archived 29 June 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Flannery, T. (6 November 2012). Among the Islands: Adventures in the Pacific. Grove/Atlantic, Incorporated. ISBN 978-0-8021-9404-6. OCLC 793838823. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  9. ^ Portch, Lorraine (18 November 2015). "Michael Rogers Oldfield Thomas – a resolved ending to a suicide mystery". London: Blogs from the Natural History Museum. Archived from the original on 4 February 2018. Retrieved 17 May 2017.

External linksEdit

Further readingEdit

  • The collected works of Oldfield Thomas[1]