Revealed: The mystery of Rudolph's nose

2012-12-18 12:04


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer's snout has been immortalised in movies, books and song.

But until now, no-one has offered a scientific explanation for the glow that allows the world's most famous antlered herbivore to guide Santa's sleigh through the night before Christmas.

In a study released on Monday, researchers in the Netherlands and Norway used a hand-held microscope to examine the nasal lining of five healthy humans, two reindeer and a sixth person with a non-cancerous nasal growth.

Reindeer noses have 25% more blood vessels than human noses, according to the tongue-in-cheek investigation, published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in its Christmas edition.

The tiny blood vessels provide plentiful oxygen-carrying cells and help control the body's temperature, showed their findings, which were backed by an infrared image of a reindeer after exercise.

"Rudolph's nose is red because it is richly supplied with red blood cells, comprises a highly dense micro-circulation, and is anatomically and physiologically adapted for reindeer to carry out their flying duties for Santa Claus," the paper observes.

Rudolph's round-the-world feat has been closely scrutinised by physicists.

In order to deliver presents to children in around 100 million homes where the Santa tradition is observed, he would have to travel at around 1 000km/per second, they estimate.

At such speeds, the reindeer, Santa and the sleigh would be vaporised by friction with the air, along with the gifts and any little elvish helpers who came along for the ride.

Rudolph would need to deploy an ion shield to protect them, or exploit loopholes in the space-time continuum so that they travelled between dimensions in order to deliver the presents on time.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    france
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Byrne: Israel Folau a 'freak'
LIVE: New Zealand 14-3 Tonga
England World Cup coaches barred
Lancaster comes out guns blazing

It is always easier to notice the faults in others rather than face our own. Focusing too much on the perfect and ideal more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.