Science News

Why Rudolph may actually have a red nose…

Happy Christmas Eve!!

It’s no wonder Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer is the most famous member of Santa’s reindeers – on top of being a skilled flyer, as his name suggests, his nose glows bright red. This unusual variation on the normal reindeer is said to have all kinds of benefits, the most important of which being to guide Santa’s sleigh. So, even if the weather is bad, Santa is cleared for flight, thanks to the brightness of Rudolph’s nose.

Scientists at Lund University in Sweden have been using thermal imaging cameras to study the physiology (the workings) of animals, they have found that Rudolph’s red nose may have actually been based on fact. They discovered that animals noses glow bright orange when viewed with an infrared light, which is sensitive to heat. Scientists say that this is because they have 25% more blood vessels compared to human noses. This helps to keep their noses warm and sensitive as they rummage through the snow for food beneath. Extra blood flow to their noses and lips can cause a red flush that is visible with our own eyes, hence “Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer”

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