Painting by Walter Stoneman
|Born||Michael Rogers Oldfield Thomas
21 February 1858
Millbrook, Bedfordshire, England
|Died||16 June 1929(aged 71)|
|Institutions||Natural 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. 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. In 1896 when William Henry Flower took control of the department he hired Richard Lydekker to rearrange the exhibitions, allowing Thomas to concentrate on these new specimens. 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 in 1929, aged 71, about a year after the death of his wife, "a severe blow from which he never recovered".
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