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Scientific proof: Rudolph's nose really does glow

Thermographic film catches reindeer's nose glowing
Thermographic film catches reindeer's nose glowing
Devonia Smith

Whether Santa is white as Megyn Kelly claims or "black as hell" as Saturday Night Live's Santa confessed may be up to debate. However there is no controversy over whether a reindeer nose can glow. "Rudolph, with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight," is part of the classic Christmas tale children across the world love to sing.

Christmas scene with Santa and Rudolph
Alex Wong/Getty Images

According to a Fox News' sci-tech report on "The Geek Sheet," Dec. 16, parents can now read the ever popular, "Twas the night before Christmas," poem to their children and assure them "researchers in Sweden have caught the reindeer's glowing nose on camera." It's true, reindeer noses really, truly glow.

It happened at the Lund University, when scientists packed their thermographic camera along for a trip to the Zoo of Nordic Animals. Their mission: film the reindeer. The photo images they produced were astonishing. Not just Rudolph, but all reindeer noses glow red.

The scientific reason is because, unlike dogs who are infamous for their cold noses, reindeer have warm noses. It is necessary for blood to pump to their nose because in their natural environment, the blood supply keeps their noses from freezing.

Professor of Functional Zoology at Lund University Ronald Kröger further explained,"When reindeer are feeding, their mules are exposed to very low temperatures as they look for food under the snow." He added, "They need to maintain sensitivity in order to know what they're actually eating."

The warm blood rushes to the cold noses, and lo and behold, Rudolph's famous red nose materializes. The next tricky answer is how to respond when children ask if their own nose glows when they are out in the cold.

The easy answer is, "You don't hunt for your food under the snow." The real answer might be, "Maybe." Until someone photographs a human's cold nose with a thermographic camera, who knows?