Since we have first heard about Santa Claus and his reindeer everyone has always assumed that the reindeer were male. But according to a zoologist from Canada, we've been wrong all this time.

The question of gender first began when a Twitter user from New York, Cat Reynolds tweeted her theory, calling them "A team of strong powerful, underrated women“.

Her antler theory, now supported by scientific fact, has proven quite popular in the Twittersphere garnering almost 700,000 likes so far.

Reindeer are members of the deer family. As such the males grow their antlers early on in the season. And just after mating season, those antlers will drop off. Because of this, during the winter months, you won't see a male with antlers.

Andrew Hebda, a zoologist from the Nova Scotia Museum has confirmed the facts of the case. While both male and Female reindeer do have antlers, it is only the females who have antlers during winter months.

Using their antlers to dig through the snow in search of food, pregnant females will then lose their antlers just before they are about to give birth.

As such all of the reindeer, Rudolph, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen must, therefore, all be female.

Even a blog from the Chicago Zoological Society has weighed in on the subject. While not confirming that Santa may only have had female reindeer, they do confirm that the nine flying reindeer must have been female.

They do speculate that Santa had some male reindeer at some point because female reindeer can’t produce flying reindeer offspring without a male counterpart. And while Santa may be immortal, reindeer are not, flying or otherwise.

Hebda has also proposed another option as well. He indicated that if any of them are male, they must have been neutered.

It is only neutered male reindeer who don't lose their antlers. While indicating that how Santa chose to raise his reindeer and whether this is a practice he would have followed is in question, he has indicated that this is simply yet another possibility.

Hebda was prepared to comment on the gender makeup of the team of flying reindeer, he was not, however, prepared to explain how they actually do fly. At the same time, he did indicate that leaving cookies and milk out for Santa, doesn't do much for the reindeer.

Carrots, a traditional choice for Santa’s reindeer, are also too rich for a reindeer’s diet. He suggests instead leaving out lichens, leafy greens, and dried mushrooms.