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Nature & Environment Study Explains Why Santa's Reindeer Rudolf Has a Red Nose

Study Explains Why Santa's Reindeer Rudolf Has a Red Nose

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First Posted: Dec 19, 2012 07:35 AM EST
Arctic Reindeer Eyes Change Color Along With Seasons
Arctic Reindeer Eyes Change Color Along With Seasons (Photo : BMJ-British Medical Journal)

The holiday season is in full swing and Christmas is incomplete without the classic song "Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer".

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Rudolf the red nosed reindeer,  the lead reindeer in Santa's sleigh,  was created in 1939 by a children's book author Robert May. Just in time for Christmas, researchers from Netherlands and Norway have tried to uncover the scientific reason behind Rudolph's red nose.

Reindeer's scientific name is Rangifer tarandus,  and it has a red nose because it is richly supplied with red blood vessels that protect it from freezing and it also regulates brain temperature.

According to the report, tiny blood cells play a major role in supplying oxygen, controlling inflammation and regulating temperature.

Based on this, the researchers analyzed whether Rudolf's red nose was due to the presence of highly thick and rich nasal microcirculation.

With the help of a microscope the researchers examined the noses of five healthy volunteers and two reindeers. They examined the individual blood vessels and also the flow of blood. They noticed that the reindeers' noses had 25 percent higher density of blood vessels compared to the volunteers, indicating that they carried a rich concentration of red blood cells. They also noticed a high density of mucous glands scattered throughout the reindeers' noses.

It is believed that the mucous glands maintain an optimal nasal climate during different weather conditions; they act as a barrier and are responsible for fluid transport.

Apart from this, the thermal imaging clearly indicated that reindeers do have red noses. When a reindeer was put on a treadmill, the temperature of its nose touched 75 degree Fahrenheit. This temperature is considered warm for reindeers.

Through this study the researchers clearly indicated that the role of the blood vessels was to regulate the body temperature.

Sciencedaily quoted one the researchers: "The microcirculation of the nasal mucosa in reindeer is richly vascularised and 25 denser denser than that in humans. These factors explain why the nose of Rudolph, the lead flying reindeer employed by Santa Claus to pull his sleigh, is red and well adapted to carrying out his duties in extreme temperatures."

Watch Video HERE .

The study was published in the Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal Website.

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