Salgame Ranganna Narayana Rao obtained MA (1922) from University of Madras. Thereafter, he worked as Lecturer, Geology Department, University of Mysore; Reader, Professor and Head of Geology Department, University of Lucknow; Honorary Assistant Director, Palaeobotanical Institute (now Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany), Lucknow; and Honorary Director, Department of Geology and Mining, Uttar Pradesh. His areas of specialization were: geology, palaeogeology, and palaeobotany.
Academic and Research Achievements: Rao investigated the Chamundi granite and associated rocks around Mysore. The micropalaeontological studies, he carried out, of the infra- and inter-trappean beds of the Deccan trap in the Rajahmundry area led to the discovery of many algal species including numerous Charophytes. On the basis of the evidence of these microfossils, he ascertained the age of Deccan traps. He discovered certain well-preserved Orbitoids in one of the limestones of the Ariyalur group near Chokanadapuram. The discovery of Orbitoids, which constitute an important group of foraminifers especially valuable in the study of Cretaceous stratigraphy, marked the starting point for further investigations in this area.
Other Contributions: Professor Rao built up an active school of micropalaeontological research with special reference to fossil algae and foraminifers, which were his own fields of specialization. He was Founder Member of the Palaeontological Society of India.
Awards and Honours: Professor Rao was elected Foundation Fellow of the Geological Society of India.