(Last Updated on : 04/11/2014)
Developments in zoology came under a serious consideration by British administration, when English educated class tried to explore the further boundaries of India, leading to expert opinions. Education was not a mandatory system in India and zoology was even more unfamiliar to everybody. Scientific experiments led to firm belief that India possessed several specimens, yet to be determined. Zoological developments solely in the form of trial of error thus led to historical findings.
During the 1790s, Patrick Russell (1727-1805) emerged as a pioneer herpetologist in India. From his study of poisonous and harmless snakes came his Account of Indian Serpents, collected on the Coast of Coromandel
(1796-1807). He also studied fishes and prepared Descriptions and Figures of Two Hundred Fishes collected at Vizagapatam on the Coast of Coromandel
In the time period of 1820 to 1843, while serving as Assistant Resident and Resident in Nepal, Brian Houghton Hodgson (1800-1894) gathered a substantial collection of mammals and birds from which he prepared numerous papers for the Asiatic Society
of Bengal. Hodgson was to discover thirty-nine new kinds and species of Himalayan mammals and one hundred and fifty new ornithological species. He distributed from his life's work thousands of bird, animal and reptile specimens to museums in Great Britain, Europe, America and India.
Zoological developments in British India were governed solely on scholarly attempts. Great pain was put in to make Indian scientifically advanced in the world scenario. In 1822, Francis Buchanan (1762-1838) produced a zoological study entitled, An Account of the Fishes found in the river Ganges and its branches
Within the period of 1835-68, Thomas Claverhill Jerdon (1811-1872) while a member of the Indian Medical Service, collected and studied numerous vertebrate specimens. These formed the basis of his publications: Catalogue of the Birds of the Peninsula of India
, (1839), Illustrations of Indian Ornithology
(1843), Mammals of India
(1854), Birds of India
(1862-64) and The Game Birds and Waterfowl of India
The times within 1841 to 1862, witnessed Edward Blyth (1810-1873) gain notoriety and respect as the founder of the Indian school of field zoologists. He was employed as the Curator of the Asiatic Society
Museum in Calcutta. He gathered information of Indian birds and mammals from which emerged The Catalogues of Birds
(1849) and Catalogue of Mammalia
(1863). Blyth also made approximately forty contributions about his findings on reptiles, birds and mammals to the Journal of the Asiatic Society
. Developments in zoology under British hands led to the listing of several scholarly treatises, with numerous expeditions for identifications of flora and fauna.