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The Scutoid: Scientists Introduce A New Shape Already Found In Humans

Chicago (CBS) -- Forget trapezoids. Researchers from the University of Seville, in collaboration with an associate professor from Lehigh University, say they have discovered a new shape, called the "scutoid."

In a paper published in Nature Communications, the authors of the study define a scutoid as a shape formed from epithelial cells, which line surfaces of human organs to form barriers of protection.

"During the modeling process, the results we saw were weird," said Javier Buceta, associate professor of bioengineering and a faculty member in the chemical and biomolecular engineering department at Lehigh, in a statement. "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."

The reserchers coined the word "scutoid" due to what they say is the shape's resemblance to the thorax of certain insects, particularly beetles.

(Photo: University of Seville)

According to the statement released by Lehigh, the scientists' "findings could pave the way to understanding the three-dimensional organization of epithelial organs and lead to advancements in tissue engineering."

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