Birbal Sahni

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sahni, Birbal


Born Nov. 14, 1891, in Bhera; died Apr. 10, 1949, in Lucknow. Indian paleobotanist. Member of the Academy of Sciences of India (president in 1937–38 and 1942–44) and the Royal Society of London (from 1936).

Sahni graduated from Cambridge University in 1914. In 1921 he was made a professor at the University of Lucknow, where he founded a paleobotanical institute, which now bears his name. Sahni founded the Indian Paleobotanical Society in 1946.

Sahni’s major works were devoted to the fossil plants of eastern and southern Asia and to the phylogeny and systematics of the Pteridophyta and Gymnospermae. Of particular note were his discovery of the Pentoxylales group and his development of the concept of periodic revolutionary transformations in the history of organic life on earth.


Mahadevan, C. “Professor Birbal Sahni.” Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Sciences, 1950, vol. 31, no. 6.
Thomas, H. H. “Birbal Sahni.” Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society, 1950, vol. 7, no. 19.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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"We were extremely surprised to find Mediterranean ancestry at such a harsh geographical location," paleogeneticist Niraj Rai of Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences in Lucknow, India, said.
The first course pays homage to scientist and innovator Vikram Sarabhai; the second course honours professor Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, who won a Nobel Prize for physics; the third course is a tribute to teacher and researcher Birbal Sahni; and the final course is dedicated to Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose, known for his prominent experiments and laboratory work.
My favourite bit of information is about paleobotanists at the Birbal Sahni Institute, Lucknow, finding a 65- million- year old fossil of a mango leaf in the hills of Meghalaya.
The radiocarbon dates obtained from the Beta Analytic Inc., Miami, Florida and Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, Lucknow from all the sites under excavation is being considered as a major breakthrough in the archaeology of Northeast India.
The study was conducted by an international team of researchers, including Vandana Prasad of the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany in Lucknow, India, who studied the dinosaur coprolites, or fossilised dung.
The cells reproduce by "fusing," Ranjeet Kar, of the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany in Lucknow, said.