Lakhnapal obtained his PhD (1953) from Lucknow University specializing in palaeobotany, palaeoecology and palynology. He was Scientist, Assistant Director, Deputy Director, Distinguished Scientist (1984) and Emeritus Scientist (1984-88) all at Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, Lucknow.
Academic and Research Achievements: Lakhanpal has contributed mainly to the floristic composition, palaeoecology and phytogeography of the Tertiary Floras of India besides those of Central Africa and North-Western USA. His work has shown that the Indian Tertiary Floras can be divided into Palaeogene and Neogene sub-groups; that water is the main factor controlling plant distribution in the tropics; and that the temperate element entered the Himalayan flora during the Miocene. He discovered the guttiferous remains from the early Tertiary of Rajasthan, which indicated occurrence of rich vegetation in Western Rajasthan at that period. Report of Nipa Sahnii from the Tertiary of Assam pointed to the northward extension of the Bay of Bengal during the Miocene. The Rujada flore of West Central Oregon presented the first detailed discussion of the forests, which lived during Upper Oligocene time along the shores of Northwestern USA. He described a large number of Tertiary plants from the Deccan Intertrappean Series, Cuddalore Series on atmospheric pollen and on the Quaternary and Recent Palynology. Lakhanpal analyzed Tertiary floras of Indian and discussed their bearing on the historical geology of southeastern Asia and Northern Africa. He co-authored Catalogue of Indian Fossil Plants (1975).
Other Contributions: As Founder Member of the Society for Scientific Values, Lakhanpal is promoting integrity, objectivity and ethical values in the pursuit of science. He was Representative for South Asia for International Association for Angiosperm Palaeobotony (1974-78) and member of its executive committee (1981-84). Lakhanpal was Editor-Secretary/Chief Editor Palaeobotanist (1976-84); chief editor Geophytology (1971-73); Member, Editorial Board of Proceedings of the Indian National Science Academy (Pt B) (1984-86); Joint Editor Aspects and Appraisal of Indian Palaeobotany (1974).
Awards and Honours: Lakhanpal was a recipient of the XII International Botanical Congress Medallion (1975), Birbal Sahni Medal of Indian Botanical Society (1991) and J Sen Memorial Lecture (1983). He was a Fellow, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad and Indian Botanical Society. He was President of Palaeobotanical Society (1983).