A Look at Rudolph’s Bright Red Nose (‘The New York Times’)


Prompted by a question from his 4-year-old daughter, Professor of Anthropology Nathaniel Dominy wrote a paper about the properties of reindeer eyes and how they might explain the advantage of a reindeer having a bright red nose like the famous Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, writes the Associated Press in a story published by The New York Times.

There’s a downside to the brightness of the nose, which is that it may cause the reindeer to use more than the average number of calories as it goes about its activities, such as pulling Santa’s sleigh, writes the AP. “One way to heat your body is to burn fuel. You do that by burning fat and calories. Children should be aware of Rudolph’s condition and leave high-calorie foods for him,” Dominy tells the AP.

Dominy’s paper was published in the journal Frontiers for Young Minds, according to the AP, which says the paper “adds to Dartmouth’s special connection to the classic Christmas story. Rudolph first appeared in a 1939 book written by advertising copywriter and Dartmouth alumnus Robert L. May to drive traffic to Montgomery Ward department stores. May later left Montgomery Ward to essentially manage the reindeer’s career, which really took off after his brother-in-law Johnny Marks wrote the song (made famous by Gene Autry in 1949), and the release of a stop-motion animated television special in 1964.”

Read the full story, published 12/22/15 by The New York Times.

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