George Shaw

George Shaw

Infobox Scientist
name = George Shaw
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caption = George Shaw
birth_date = December 10, 1751
birth_place = Bierton, Buckinghamshire
death_date = July 22, 1813
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nationality = English
ethnicity =
field = botany
work_institutions = Oxford University
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George Shaw (December 10, 1751 - July 22, 1813) was an English botanist and zoologist.

Shaw was born at Bierton, Buckinghamshire and was educated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, receiving his M.A. in 1772. He took up the profession of medical practitioner. In 1786 he became the assistant lecturer in botany at Oxford University. He was a co-founder of the Linnean Society in 1788, and became a fellow of the Royal Society in 1789.

In 1791 Shaw became assistant keeper of the natural history department at the British Museum, succeeding Edward Whitaker Gray as keeper in 1806. He found that most of the items donated to the museum by Hans Sloane were in very bad condition. Medical and anatomical material was sent to the museum at the Royal College of Surgeons, but many of the stuffed animals and birds had deteriorated and had to be burnt. The pay from the museum was so poor that Shaw had to spend much of his time writing, and thus neglected the upkeep of the collection. He was succeeded after his death by his assistant Charles Konig.

Shaw published one of the first English descriptions with scientific names of several of the common Australian animals in his "Zoology of New Holland" (1794). He was among the first scientists to examine a platypus and published the first scientific description of it in "The Naturalist's Miscellany" in 1799.

His other publications included:
*"Museum Leverianum", containing select specimens from the museum of the late Sir Ashton Lever (1792-6)
*"General Zoology, or Systematic Natural History" (16 vol.) (1809-1826) (volumes IX to XVI by James Francis Stephens)
*"The Naturalist's Miscellany: Or, Coloured Figures Of Natural Objects; Drawn and Described Immediately From Nature" (1789-1813) with Frederick Polydore Nodder (artist and engraver).

The standard botanical author abbreviation G.Shaw is applied to species he described.


*Mullens and Swann - "A Bibliography of British Ornithology" (1917)
*William T. Stearn - "The Natural History Museum at South Kensington" ISBN 0434736007

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