CCBYNC Open access
Research Christmas 2012: Research

Why Rudolph’s nose is red: observational study

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 17 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8311

Re: Why Rudolph’s nose is red: observational study

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

09 January 2013
Alfred Yarrow
retired public health physician
Jerusalem 96190