Poor Rudolph — he’s had to put up with all of those clown nose jokes over the years.
It turns out that scientists have determined that reindeer have more abundant blood vessels in their noses than humans. The British Medical Journal reports that a team of scientists and researchers used a hand-held video microscope to observe the nasal capillaries of reindeer as they ran on a treadmill. No joke!
The capillaries in reindeer noses are 25% thicker than those in human noses. Those capillaries are critical for heating and cooling, delivering oxygen, and humidifying inhaled air so the hardworking reindeer noses don’t freeze.
The mystery of Rudolph’s red nose is a mystery no longer. The explanation: reindeer have a large number of red blood cells that flow through small nasal vessels – which make reindeer noses glow. Go Rudolph!