Victor G. Novokshonov



Only a year has passed since the great loss in palaeoentomology, the untimely death of Vladimir Zherikhin, a person of diverse and profound influence in the field and beyond. And another disaster comes now, another great loss, still more unexpected one. Young (under 37), talented, versatile, hardworking scientist of wide knowledge and long (for his age) list of publications, and a nice person, one of the most promising contemporaneous palaeoentomologists, Viktor Novokshonov has left us at a steep ascent of his scientific activity, when his life just start improving after heavy storms threatened both his private and university existence. These storms were the real cause of his untimely departure, with the immediate cause being aneurysm on the background of high blood pressure. In Perm he has left his parents and sister, his daughter Katya (Ekaterina, 12) and son Nikita (8), and his closest friend Larisa Zuzhgova, who was his main support during the last year of his life.

Viktor has been graduated from the Geological Faculty of the Perm State University in 1990 and taught there in 1990-1991. Since December 1991 through December 1993, he was the postgraduate student at the Palaeontological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, in Moscow, Russia. During those two years he completed the three-year-long course of the postgraduate education and defended the PhD thesis - a very rare case, at least in the Russian postgraduate system. Since 1994, Viktor taught historical geology and general biology at the Perm University until he was forced to leave it in 2002 and found an asylum at the Perm Regional Museum, unfortunately for only short time.

Since his undergraduate time, Viktor's main scientific interest was focused on insects in the famous Lower Permian (Kungurian) fossil site of Tshekarda (Chekarda), which is not far from the Perm City. While at the Palaeontological Institute RAS in Moscow, he started specialising in the scorpionfly order (Panorpida or Mecoptera) and prepared his Thesis "Early evolution of the scorpionflies", later extended into a book with the same title that was published in 1997. In that book he considered mainly Permian scorpionflies, but also roots of the extant families as well as the scorpionfly connections to the related orders, and particularly the origin and early evolution of the caddisfly order. All these topics have left favourites of his further researches resulted in many publications in Russian and other languages including respective chapters of the History of Insects.

At the same time, Viktor went on with his earlier passions, viz., collecting, inventory, and description of the Tshekarda insects, equally resulted in numerous publications including a review and annotated list of all insect taxa described from that locality (Novokshonov, 1998).

In addition to his research and general teaching practice at the Perm University, Viktor has devoted much of his efforts to raising further palaeoentomologists in his alma mater. Unfortunately, due to local resistance, this aspect of his activity was found not too much efficient at the Perm University itself. Nevertheless, one of his student, Daniil Aristov, is currently a promising postgraduate student at the Palaeontological Institute in Moscow.

Yet Viktor Novokshonov left us so early and unexpectedly, he is still alive, not only as a person in the memory of his friends, colleagues and students, but also as his living and developing ideas in their thoughts, discussions and research.

А.П. Расницын

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