Why Rudolph’s nose is red: observational studyBMJ 2012; 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e8311 (Published 17 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8311
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Considering the extensive interest of this topic by the scientific community I felt compelled to respond. The authors provide compelling evidence that elevated microvasculature contributes to the rubicund hue of Rudolph's nose. Although this is probably a contributing factor, it cannot fully explain the anatomical variation of this Rangifer because it does not address the observed luminescence. Moreover, it does not explain why the noses of other Rangifers do not display the trait. Further investigation of this pressing question is called for.
Competing interests: No competing interests
The paper on nasal vascularisation as an explanation of Rudolf`s nasal characterisation cannot be correct. It assumes, nay asserts, that Rudolf was as other reindeer whereas, as every five year old child knows, this was not the case. It was because he was different that all of the other reindeer jeered and taunted him and refused his company in thair leisure pursuits.
My own theory is that Rudolf was a unique example of mammalian bioluminescence (of the nose). This is a well known phenomenon in the animal kingdom from the protozoa ,e.g, through glow worms to vertebrates (fish), though not heretofore described in mammals.
An alternative theory is that he, early in life, developed a rhinophyma. Do deer, especially male deer have access to alcohol and stagger about? Is that why they are called stags?
But personally I favour the theory of congenital bioluminescence. From his name one can assume the condition was innate. Why else would his parents have called him Rudolf (Olf or Olaf the Red, like Eric the Red ca 1000 AD and Danny the Red 1968)?
Competing interests: veracity
Dr Yarrow asks if Rudolf or Rudolph has access to alcohol. A Rudolf of my acquaintance assured me that his religion bars him from pubs. He further informed me that his intestinal tract is well-endowed with yeasts and he manages to eat sufficient blue berries and the like, to produce endogenously, enough ethanol to keep him happy.
Competing interests: None