Oldfield Thomas

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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

Michael Rogers Oldfield Thomas FRS FZS (21 February 1858 – 16 June 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.[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 descriptions[edit]

Higher ranks[edit]



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

See also[edit]


  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 links[edit]