Meet The Scutoid – New Geometric Shape Completely Unknown To Science – It Is Hiding In Our Cells

Scientists have discovered a completely new geometric shape previously unknown to science. Mathematicians have never encountered anything resembling this before. It’s an extraordinary discovery especially since this geometric figure is present in all of us!

The scutoid is defined by having six sides on one end, five on the other, and a triangular surface on one of the long edges.

Some readers may recall researchers announced last year they had discovered a new body organ of unknown function. As you can see, obviously, our body is still full of surprises.

Meet The Scutoid – A Completely New Geometric Shape Unknown To Science Discovered In Human Cells

Researchers have discovered the scutoid, a geometric shape adopted by epithelial cells that enables the cells to minimize energy use and maximize packing stability during tissue bending. Image credit: University of Seville

So, get used to the scutoid, as it has been called because this figure could be all over your body. While studying epithelial cells that are the building blocks building blocks of embryos, forming, for example, the outer layer of skin, they accidentally encountered a new geometric shape.

Researchers uncovered that, during tissue bending, epithelial cells adopt a previously unknown shape that enables the cells to minimize energy use and maximize packing stability.

Meet The Scutoid – A Completely New Geometric Shape Unknown To Science Discovered In Human Cells

“During the modeling process, the results we saw were weird,” says Buceta, Javier Buceta, systems biologist at Lehigh University and co-author, of the study. “Our model predicted that as the curvature of the tissue increases, columns and bottle-shapes were not the only shapes that cells may developed. To our surprise, the additional shape didn’t even have a name in math! One does not normally have the opportunity to name a new shape.”

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But what do you call something you have never seen before? There is no name in mathematics for this figure.

Researchers decided to name the new shape the “scutoid,” for its resemblance to the scutellum—the posterior part of an insect thorax or midsection.

Meet The Scutoid – A Completely New Geometric Shape Unknown To Science Discovered In Human Cells

The scutoid shape was named after this top-down view of a beetle’s scutellum. Credit: Pedro Gómez-Gálvez et al. (Nature Communications)

The scutoid inside our skin enables a more energy-efficient shape as epithelial cells bend.

“When tissue curves it tends to minimise energy, to be more stable,” explains one of the team, cellular biologist Luisma Escudero from the University of Seville in Spain.

“And for that reason, our biophysical data indicates that what these cells do is adopt a scutoid shape.”

The hope is now to learn more about the scutoid and it may help to create artificial organs in the future.

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