August Dehnel

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August Dehnel s. Michała[1] (June 25, 1903, Warsaw – November 22, 1962, Warsaw) was a Polish zoologist, Ph.D. (1926), professor. [2] Until 1949 he signed his popular science and embryology works with the name Gustaw Dehnel.[3]

Denhel is credited with discovering that the braincase of shrews shrinks significantly over the winter and expands again in the spring.[4] This fact has come to be known as the Dehnel phenomenon.[5] It affects not only the brain, but also other major organs such as the liver and kidneys. This factor explains why such small animals can survive harsh winters with associated reduction in food availability. The phenomenon may be responsible for the preservation of certain rare populations such as the Suisun Shrew. For this discovery, reported in his habilitation thesis (1949) at the University of Warsaw, he received the State Award.[2]


  • 1960: "Maleńki ssak o dużej przyszłości" (popular science, about shrews)
  • 1949: "Zamki na wodzie" (popular science, about beavers)
  • 1947: "Najpospolitsze gryzonie i ich zwalczanie" ("Cost Common Rodents and the Fight against Them") (with E. Kaminski)
  • 1939: "O sztuce układania ptaków drapieżnych do łowów" ("About the Art of Upbringing of Birds of Prey for Hunting")



  1. ^ a b [1]
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Dehnel August, prof. nadzw. (1903-1962)" (article mirror)
  3. ^ Zdzislaw Pucek, "August Dehnel", Przegląd Zoologiczny, 1963, vil. VII, no.4 (retrieved November 16, 2017)
  4. ^ Poland: a handbook. Warsaw: Interpress Publishers. p. 358. 
  5. ^ "Small-minded? Shrews shrink their skulls to survive winter, study shows", Nicola Davis, The Guardian, October 23, 2017