Madeleine Waite delves into the real science hidden behind Hollywood magic.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has historically been a symbol of holiday cheer, leading Santa's sleigh with his shiny nose, ever since his first appearance in the 1939 Christmas poem by Robert L May. The portrayal of Rudolph as male has been consistent in the cascade of films and media from 1964’s ‘The Story of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’ stop motion animation, frequently considered one of the greatest Christmas movies ever made, to the 1998 ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: The Movie’ cartoon.
But what if this beloved Christmas character, and his magical all-male herd, aren't exactly what we believed? To unravel the biological mysteries of Santa's reindeer and discover why they, including Rudolph, might actually be females, we must delve into the real science hidden behind Hollywood magic.
Hermey the elf and Rudolph, from the 1964 stop-motion. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons