University of Exeter scientists have discovered that it is unlikely that Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer was bullied because of his nose colour, as reindeer lack the colour-detecting cells that allow their eyes to see the colour red.

 

With the same reasoning applying for the colour orange, the research, conducted by Exeter MSc student Maria Watson and Penryn’s Professor Martin Stevens, also means that reindeer would not be able to see the colour of carrots, as “reindeer can’t see red light or tell the difference between red, orange and green”.

 

“It is unlikely that Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer was bullied because of his nose colour”.

 

Whilst reindeer lack these crucial colour-detecting cells, they do, however, have ultraviolet vision, which is used, as Professor Stevens explained, “to see lichen hidden in the snow in the arctic, and potentially even spot white wolves or other predators because fur absorbs UV light whereas snow reflects UV light.” The newly-discovered visual abilities of reindeer were explained at Falmouth’s annual Science of Christmas event.

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