Red-Nosed Reindeer Are Real

Provided you look at them via thermal imaging

They're not just a childhood dream anymore... (CBS/Landov)
RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER

As a young child growing into adulthood, you might have been disappointed to learn that reindeer do not, in fact, have bright red noses as depicted in so many Christmas tales. Well, rejoice, because it turns out that they do, provided you look at them through advanced thermal imaging.

Swedish researchers at Lund University made the discovery while studying the animals' body temperatures during feeding. Reindeer are covered in thick, insulating fur, except for their noses, which remain exposed to the cold.

This makes digging in the snow for food a challenge, so, scientists discovered, reindeer channel more blood to their noses, where they have a higher concentration of blood vessels. Not only does this keep their noses warm and functional, it makes them glow bright red on thermal scans.

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(© Ince et al, BMJ)

Courtesy of Lund University

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