Researchers in the Netherlands and Norway have discovered that reindeer noses have 25pc more blood vessels than human noses.
The tongue-in-cheek investigation, published by the 'British Medical Journal' in its Christmas edition used a hand-held microscope to examine the nasal lining of five healthy humans, two reindeer and a sixth person with a non-cancerous nasal growth.
It is the first time a scientific explanation has been offered for the glow that allows the world's most famous antlered herbivore to guide Santa's sleigh through the night before Christmas.
"Rudolph's nose is red because it is richly supplied with red blood cells, comprises a highly dense microcirculation, and is anatomically and physiologically adapted for reindeer to carry out their flying duties for Santa Claus," the paper observes. (© Daily Telegraph, London)