Prof. (Rtd.) Dr. Muhammad Sharif Khan was born in 1939. He Graduated from University of the Punjab in 1960 and obtained M.Sc. in Zoology from Punjab University, Lahore in 1963. He was awarded a Gold Medal for standing first in the M.Sc. final examination. He started his carrier from Government T.I. College, Rabwah as Lecturer in 1963 and left that college after about 38 years after his retirement. He spent 38 years in this small town, and acclaimed international fame. He proved himself as the lone herpetologist of Pakistan.

Dr. Khan started working on herps of Pakistan when the knowledge about herps in Pakistan was about nil. When his first research article was published in 1965 in Biologia, Lahore which was based on his M.Sc. thesis "Development of Bufo melanostictus," Dr. Robert Mertens from Germany sent a letter to Dr. Khan correcting the name of the toad as Bufo stomaticus on which Dr. Khan and his supervisor had worked for about 2 years. This shows the level of knowledge about amphibians among the zoologists in Pakistan at that time.

Dr. Khan pioneered the study of herps in Pakistan. Dr. Khan has searched almost every corner of Pakistan for reptiles and amphibians and discovered 34 new species, which include 11 snakes, 15 lizards and 8 amphibians.

Prof. Khan has published about 200 research papers in different scientific journals of the world. He has also published 10 books on amphibians and reptiles of Pakistan in English, Urdu and German languages which included (i) A color guide to the amphibians and reptiles of Pakistan. Krieger Publishing Company, Melbourne, Florida 32902, USA, 2001 (ii) Die Schlangen Pakistans, Bucher-Kreth GmbH, Frankfurt, Germany, 2001, (iii) The Snakes of Pakistan, Bucher-Kreth GmbH, Frankfurt, Germany, 2001, (iv) Amphibians and reptiles of Pakistan, Urdu Science Board, 299-Upper Mall, Lahore, 2000 in Urdu, (v) Snakes of Pakistan, Urdu Science Board, 299-Upper Mall, Lahore pp. 299 (in Urdu) (vi) A field guide to the identification of Herps of Pakistan. Part-I: Amphibia. Biological Society of Pakistan, Lahore 1987, (vii) A field guide to the identification of Herps of Pakistan. Part-II: Chelonia, Biological Society of Pakistan, Lahore, 1990, (viii) venomous terrestrial snakes of Pakistan snake bite problem, In: Snakes of medical importance (Asia-pacific region), pp. 419-446, P. Gopalakrishnaconc and L.M. Chou (eds). National University of Singapore 1990, (ix) Amphibians, Lizards, Turtles and Snakes. Chapter 2 In: Wildlife of Pakistan, Urdu Science Board, 299-Upper Mall, Lahore 1991 (In Urdu), (x) Endangered species of reptiles of Pakistan and suggested conservation measures, pp. 42-45, In: Handbook published to mark second seminar on "Nature Conservation and Environmental Protection," 12 March 1991, Islamabad, Wildlife Conservation Foundation, Islamabad,

Dr. Khan has worked on different research projects with WWF-Pakistan and Pakistan Science Foundation. He has supervised a number of M.Sc theses. After his retirement, he donated all his collection to the Natural History Museum, Government College, Lahore, which includes a countless number of different species of amphibians and reptiles.

Dr. Khan has trained a number of young scientists which are forwarding his mission. Now Dr. Khan is spending a retired life in USA with his son. In recongnition of his contribution to the field of Herpetology Dr. Khan was awarded the Zoologist of the year award in 2002.


  • PROCEEDINGS OF PAKISTAN CONGRESS OF ZOOLOGY, Volume 22, 2002. Twenty Second Pakistan congress of Zoology, The Zoological Society of Pakistan, April 16 2002 to April 18, 2002.

Copyright 2004, Dr. Muhammad Sharif Khan
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