Remember when that precocious eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote that now iconic letter to the editor of New York's Sun back in 1897? And how quickly she received a response. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial of all time.
However, whether or not Church convinced Virginia that Jolly Ole Saint Nick really did exist . . . perhaps Virginia was asking the wrong question? Perhaps, she should have queried about the gender of those reindeer?
Santa Scientists Uncover the Real Sex!
That’s right! Us believers in Santa Claus may have gotten it wrong all these years. According to Edinburgh University professors Gerald Lincoln and David Baird uncovered a little-known fact — namely, that Santa’s flying escorts were of the female variety, not male. Why? Because only female reindeer still have antlers by the time the holiday season rolls around. The males of the species shed their impressive headgear before mid-December! The females get to keep theirs.
“Male reindeer actually cast their antlers before Christmas, so they don’t have any antlers at Christmastime,” says Lincoln. “They have their mating season in autumn, when they use their antlers to fight, but once it finishes they cast them … I just wanted to remind people that it is never quite so straightforward.”
Females Withstand Colder Weather too!
Females have another edge over males. According to LiveScience, in preparation for winter, female reindeer build up nearly 50 percent body fat. That added weight gives them a couple extra inches of thick fat on their hindquarters, which helps keep them warm in temperatures as low as -45 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, their mates typically weigh in around 5 percent body fat, as they deplete the majority of their energy reserves during the previous mating season. This supports the female versus male theory since females would be able to withstand working in those arduous cold temps of the North Pole.
However there is a Fly in the Ointment
Now, this theory is not to say, there couldn’t have been a way for males to lead Santa’s infamous transport. Apparently, if a male reindeer is sadly castrated, he will no longer cast his antlers. There seems to be a direct connection between a males antlers and his sex organs. Perhaps that has something to do with the origin of the slang term "horny."
Nonetheless, in losing their manhood, males get to keep their hood ornaments. But in so doing, they start behaving more like a females and could be mistaken for such, when they head up Santa's team.
“Rudolph [for instance] could be a castrated male," notes Lincoln.
Female Tweeter thinks NOT!
Not inclined to buy into Lincoln’s theory, a female tweeter by the name of Cat Reynolds is of the belief that Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and yes, even Rudolph, are ALL ladies. And, with a tweet that’s racked up over 207K retweets, methinks, I’m inclined to believe her.
Primary Source: Santa's Reindeer Are Actually All Female