Rotterdam researchers find out why Rudolph's nose is red
Wednesday 19 December 2012
Infra-red pictures show where a reindeer is hottest after exercise. Photo: Ince Can et al via BMJ
Santa Claus’ reindeer Rudolph has a red nose because of the way his body deals with cold temperatures, according to a team of researchers from Rotterdam’s Erasmus University and from Norway.
Professor Can Ince and the team discovered reindeer have a high number of blood vessels in their noses, which are important in temperature regulation when it gets very cold. This leads to their noses turning bright pink.
‘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.’ Ince and the co-authors wrote in their study. The research is published in the British Medical Journal and has implications for human health.
The study involved five healthy volunteers, and two adult reindeer from Tromsø, Norway, which is located near the North Pole.
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