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Thu Dec 24, 2015, 09:07 AM

Texas A&M researcher says caribou more efficient than reindeer for pulling Santa's sleigh

Rudolph the red-nosed caribou just doesn't have the same ring to it.

But according to Perry Barboza, a professor in the department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M, Santa's eight tiny reindeer aren't actually reindeer at all. Instead, Barboza said, Dasher, Dancer and all the rest are likely reindeer's close cousins -- the caribou.

"Although Siberian reindeer may appear a suitable choice {for pulling Santa's sleigh,} North American caribou are leaner and longer-legged than reindeer during this time of year," Barboza said in a report published in the scientific journal, Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. "What has been reported in sightings as 'eight tiny reindeer' are therefore likely to be young caribou."

With more than 30 years of experience in wildlife nutrition, especially with large mammals, Barboza's expertise -- with the help of Rudolph's red nose -- sheds some light on the Christmas lore.

Read more: http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/texas-a-m-researcher-says-caribou-more-efficient-than-reindeer/article_988a3a7a-0868-5088-93d6-46ee8f47a38c.html

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