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The Schmooze

RBG Fans, Say Hello to Ruth Bader Gins-bug

Alright, folks: you love her on the bench, you love her on the internet, and now you get to love her as she affectionately decapitates the male with whom she’s just mated. Yes, that’s right, there is now an official Ruth Bader Ginsburg praying mantis, and we are all blessed.

(For the scientific record, only some of the 2,000+ species of praying mantis actually feature females who decapitate their mates; whether or not the newly minted Ilomantis ginsburgæ is one of them has yet to receive press coverage.)

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History researchers who identified the mantis breed named it in honor of everyone’s favorite Supreme Court Justice (sorry, Roberts) due to its vaguely lacelike neckplate, which they said reminded them of Bader Ginsburg’s favorite accessory, the jabot. (For those not in the know, aside from an aura of cool, almost transcendent confidence and capability, RBG’s trademark is her frilly neckwear.) It’s also the first mantis species to be identified using a new technique that uses the characteristics of a female specimen’s genitalia to define a species.

“It is my hope that our work not only sets a precedent in taxonomy but also underscores the need for scientists to investigate and equally consider both sexes in other scientific investigations,” said Sydney Brannoch, the technique’s originator and lead author of the Ilomantis ginsburgæ paper, in a statement. If we dared speak on behalf of the queen –the second woman ever appointed to the Supreme Court, mind you – we think her response would be clear: RBG approves. Let the Ruth Bader Gins-bug jokes commence.

Talya Zax is the Forward’s culture intern. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter, @TalyaZax

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