George Busk (1807-1886), British surgeon, zoologist and palaeontologist, son of Robert Busk, merchant of St Petersburg, was born in that city on the 12th of August 1807. He studied surgery in London, at both St Thomas's and St Bartholomew's hospitals, and was an excellent operator. He was appointed assistant-surgeon to the Greenwich hospital in 1832, and served as naval surgeon first in the Grampus, and afterwards for many years in the Dreadnought; during this period he made important observations on cholera and on scurvy. In 1855 he retired from service and settled in London, where he devoted himself mainly to the study of zoology and palaeontology. As early as 1842 he had assisted in editing the Microscopical Journal; and later he edited the Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science (1853-1868) and the Natural History Review (1861-1865). From 1856 to 1859 he was Hunterian professor of comparative anatomy and physiology in the Royal College of Surgeons, and he became president of the college in 1871. He was elected F.R.S. in 1850, and was an active member of the Linnean, Geological and other societies, and president of the Anthropological Institute (1873-1874); he received the Royal Society's Royal medal and the Geological Society's Wollaston and Lyell medals.
Early in life he became the leading authority on the Polyzoa; and later the vertebrate remains from caverns and river-deposits occupied his attention. He was a patient and cautious investigator, full of knowledge, and unaffectedly simple in character. He died in London on the 10th of August 1886.