News

The birds' beauty belies their often menacing and destructive nature 

Sloth mystery solved: How moths and algae shape this unusual creature's toilet habits

Why sloths descend from the safety of the trees once a week to go to the toilet has baffled scientists - but one specialist thinks he has the answer

Postcard from... Sydney

A 1952 illustration of the popular fairy tale

Why grandma, what a big family tree you have... Scientific research has been used to trace Little Red Riding Hood’s roots....

... and, as Nick Clark discovers, she has ancestors spanning Africa, Asia and Europe

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict breaks seven-month silence to deny covering up abuse by paedophile priests, and to denounce Richard Dawkins' work as 'science fiction'

The emeritus pope made the comments in a letter to prominent mathematician and atheist Piergiorgio Odifreddi

Book review: An Appetite For Wonder, By Richard Dawkins

An insight beyond the caricature

Revealed, the ugliest animal on earth: the humble Blobfish

Other contenders for the prize included the axolotl and the pig-nosed turtle

Book review: Four Fields, By Tim Dee

From the Fens to Chernobyl, this tour of turf shows the skills of a gifted, if sombre, naturalist

The Saturday Quiz answers

1. Pope Francis.

Portfolio: Richard Bailey

Tom Lehrer's spring isn't complete without poisoning them in the park; Dick Dastardly dratted and double-dratted himself to near-oblivion chasing one. For the rest of us, it's become all too easy to vilify them as "rats with wings".

Google's Doodle commemorates Julius Richard Petri

This will grow on you: Google Doodle celebrates 161st birthday of Julius Richard Petri - inventor of the Petri dish

Google is commemorating the achievements of the scientist Julius Richard Petri today with a Google Doodle that shows his invention - the Petri dish - in action.

Consumers are being cheated 7% of the time when they buy white fish, a study has found

Cheaper fish being passed off as cod and haddock

Consumers are being routinely cheated when they buy cod and haddock, a study has found.

The God Argument, By AC Grayling

Virtuous atheists may live well and do good – but can they give hope to the hopeless cases?

A deep-sea lobster of the genus Puerulus from the Indian Ocean which was recently discovered to be new to science. Extinction rates of animals and plants on Earth have been exaggerated, according to a team of researchers

Animal kingdom is smaller than we thought (but that’s good news)

New, lower estimate means every plant and animal could be catalogued by the year 2100

Page 3 Profile: Dr Peter Wothers, chemist

A stuffy academic?

Neil Lennon celebrates Celtic’s victory over Barcelona

Kevin Garside: Belief in fate and miracles belittles the coach's role

For the Higgs boson believers, and me, Celtic just got lucky against Barcelona

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Independent Travel
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona from £629pp
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Prices correct as of 12 December 2014
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum