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Sleigh, queen: Rudolph might be female

Wild Reindeer
Posted at 3:04 PM, Dec 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-24 16:20:22-05

COLLEGE STATION, TX — Well, it looks like "the most famous reindeer of them all", might just be a "leading" lady after all!

Dr. Alice Blue-McLendon, a Texas A&M University veterinary professor, notes how both female and male reindeer grow antlers, an quality exclusive to deer except them.

“So according to the legend, it’s very possible that Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer was a female,” she said. “For that matter, Prancer, Dancer and all of the rest of the reindeer could have been females.”

A director of the Winnie Carter Wildlife Center also, Dr. Blue-McLendon's deer expertise was used on the Texas A&M project to clone Dewey, the world's first cloned deer, back in 2003. She noted that there are over 30 different types of deer, and what are commonly called caribou in North America, are called reindeer in Europe and Scandinavia.

“Reindeer are also are the original ‘dress-in-layers’ animal because they have two coats — a coat of fur and a woolly type of undercoat of hairs to keep them warm,” said Blue-McLendon.

“In the early days of Alaska’s history, some mail routes were made with sleds pulled by reindeer, so it’s likely they even delivered some Christmas cards, too.” she added.