Sushkin Petr Petrovich (1868-1928)
DR. PETER PETROVICH SUSHKIN,
elected as a Corresponding Fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union
in 1903 and an Honorary Fellow in 1918, died of pneumonia at Kislovodsk,
Caucasus, Russia, Sept. 17, 1928.
He was born at Tula, Russia, Feb. 8 (Jan. 27), 1868, was a student under
Professor Michael Menzbier in Moscow, and in 1899 became an assistant
in the Museun of Comparative Anatomy of the Imperial Russian University
in Moscow, where he received the degree of Doctor in 1903. He was
appointed on the staff of the Zoological Museum in Leningrad in 1898, a
position which he filled until his death, when he had completed 30 years'
He made several field trips to southeastern Russia and southwestern Siberia,
including two expeditions in 1894 and 1898 to observe birds during
spring and autumn migration on the Kirghiz Steppes immediately north of
the Caspian and Aral Seas, a desert region previously explored by Severtzow
Later he made an extended trip to the Altai Mountains in Central Asia and had
planned to return to that region when the outbreak of the Great War suspended
exploration of or severaly ears. At the time of his death he was on a field trip in
While not a voluminous writer, Doctor Sushkin published a number of
papers in English, German, and Russian. He was one of the best authorities
on Palaearctic birds and had the unique advantage of being personally
familiar with large areas in Russia and Siberia and also with conditions in
the United States, gained trough an extended trip in this country in 1925.
In addition to being an ornithologist, he was an all-round zoologist and
was deeply interested in Permian reptiles.
During his visit to America he spent much time in making drawings
which he executed with great skill, illustrating skulls and other osteological
details of birds.
Among the results of these studies was a recent paper showingt hat the English
Sparrow (Passer domesticus) is more nearly related to the Weaver Birds than
to the Finches.
Doctor Sushkin was one of the leading Russian zoologists.
He was a carefulo bserverw ith wide field experiencea, curatorw ith thorough
knowledge of museum material, and a student with wide acquaintance with
the literature of the subjectsin whichh e was interested. Besidesh olding
the position of head of the Department of Ornithology in the Museum of
the Academy of Sciencesin Leningrad, he was Presidento f the Commission
for the study of the Mongol, Tannu-Tuva and Burjar-Mongol Republics,
and Vice-President of the Commission for the study of the Quaternary.
His death is a serious loss to ornithology since, through his familiarity
with Palaearctic and Nearctic birds and their ecological conditions he was
peculiarly well qualified to correlate some of the closely related forms which
are represented both in Europe and in North America.--
T. S. P.