Shiva Balak Misra

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Shiva Balak Misra is an Indian geologist, writer, social worker.

Misra is credited for his discovery of Fractofusus misrai - a fossil revealing mystery about beginning of life on earth some 560 mn years ago, discovered by him in June 1967 during his MS Thesis work at Mistaken Point, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada now better known as Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve after his discovery[1] The discovery was named after him in 2007.[2][3][4][5][6][7] The location of his Misra's discovery his was named a UNESCO World Heritage destination in 2016.[8]

Misra is also well known for his contribution to the society.[9] Having grown up in hardship in a poor family in small village near Lucknow in Northern India, Misra had to walk 24 kilometers each day for schooling. As a child he had a dream to start a school in his village which he nurtured lifelong and after his Masters in Canada when he was at the peak of his career having made the famous fossil discovery he decided to give up the career in West and come to India and start a school in his village which he runs until today.

Misra's Discovery[edit]

In the summer of 1967, S.B.Misra an Indian graduate student (1966–69) from Memorial University of Newfoundland discovered a rich assemblage of imprints of soft bodied organisms on the surface of large rock slabs in the Conception Group of Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland at Mistaken Point.

These unusual impressions of previously unknown soft-bodied sea animals on the surfaces of Argillite (mudstone) included coelenterates and other metazoa of the Ediacaran. Misra made the discovery during the course of geological mapping of the previously unmapped area of southeastern part of the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland. Misra was the first to prepare and present a systematic geological map of the region,[10] to classify and describe the rock sequence of the area and to work out the depositional history of the rocks.

The discovery was reported in 1968 in a paper [11][12] in Nature. Misra described the Mistaken Point Fauna in detail in 1969, in a paper [13][14] published in the Bulletin of the Geological Society of America. He described the fossil assemblage into four groups namely:

  1. Spindle-shaped
  2. Leaf-shaped
  3. Round lobate
  4. Dendrite like
  5. Radiating

Misra's Journey back home[edit]

After completing his masters degree, Misra decided to return to India and run a school in his village.[9]

Misra grew up in small village near Lucknow in Northern India, and had to walk 24 kilometers each day for schooling as a kid. He had a dream to start a school in his village when he grew up and he nurtured this dream through[citation needed]. After his Masters in Canada having made the famous fossil discovery, he decided to give up the career in West and come to India and start a school in his village called [15] which he runs until today with help of his wife Nirmala Misra.[9]


Misra was awarded with the Laadli Media Award for writing on gender sensitivity in 2014. Misra was also recognized by Apeejay India Volunteer Award[16] in 2011.

Books Authored[edit]

Misra has authored two books

A book, "Dream Chasing, One Man's Remarkable, True Life Story."[17] He is chief-editor of Gaon Connection, an Indian rural newspaper, started in 2012, and based in village, Kunaura 160 km from Lucknow.[18][19]

A second book on Nature & Indian-ness (भारतीयता और पयार्वरण) was published earlier.

Later Life[edit]

Misra retired as Professor of Geology in late 1990s from Kumaun University and joined his wife Nirmala in managing the school. Now in his 70's, he resides in Lucknow with his wife Nirmala Misra. His elder son Neelesh Misra is a well known Indian journalist, author, radio storyteller, Bollywood scriptwriter, and lyricist. His younger son, Shailesh Misra, is a software professional.


  1. ^ "Mistaken Point Fauna - The Discovery". Mistaken Point Fauna - The Discovery. 
  2. ^ "Rare honour for Indian geologist" (18 Sep 2007). BBC News. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  3. ^ "Fossil fame chases Samaritan scientist - Priceless find named after Indian" (Sep 19, 2007). The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  4. ^ "Canada names fossil after Lucknow-based geologist" (Sep 19, 2007). The Times of India. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  5. ^ "Fossil discovery a challenging job: Misra" (Sep 21, 2007). The Hindu. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  6. ^ "40 yrs after his Canada find, UP geologist's name etched in fossil" (Sep 19, 2007). The Indian Express. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  7. ^ "Mistaken Point is a snapshot of life 565 million years ago". The Telegram. July 24, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Mistaken Point Site was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016". July 17, 2016. Retrieved 20 August 2016. 
  9. ^ a b c Pitroda, S.B. Misra ; as told to Neelesh Misra ; foreword by Sam (2011). Dream chasing : one man's remarkable, true life story : dream, hope, betrayal, grit, sacrifice, triumph. New Delhi: Roli Books. ISBN 8174368191. 
  10. ^ "Map of Avalon Peninsula". Shiva Balak Misra. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  11. ^ "Fossils found in pre-Cambrian Conception Group of Southeastern Newfoundland". S.B.Misra. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  12. ^ Anderson, M. M.; Misra, S. B. (16 November 1968). "Fossils found in the Pre-Cambrian Conception Group of South-eastern Newfoundland". Nature. 220 (5168): 680–681. doi:10.1038/220680a0. 
  13. ^ "Criteria for Recognizing Pre-Cambrian Fossils". S.B.Misra. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  14. ^ Anderson, M. M.; Misra, S. B. (6 September 1969). "Criteria for recognizing Pre-Cambrian Fossils". Nature. 223 (5210): 1076–1076. doi:10.1038/2231076b0. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  15. ^ "Bharatiya Gramina Vidyalaya". Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  16. ^ "Apeejay India Award". 
  17. ^ Misra S.B (2011). "Dream Chasing: One Man's Remarkable, True Life Story: : 9788174368195: Books". Roli Books. 
  18. ^ Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty (December 10, 2012). "Tapping the rural news space". The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-12-10. 
  19. ^ "Home". Gaon Connection. Retrieved 2012-12-10. 

External links[edit]