The three-dimensional, prism-like structure has been hiding in plain sight in all living creatures, including humans. While not visible to the naked eye, scutoids, the shape skin cells take as they bend, twist, or turn, are everywhere – in your armpits, elbows, organs, and even all over your face.
A team of scientists stumbled upon the scutoid while investigating the cells which line the outer surface of our skin and inner surfaces of most internal organs. They were trying to determine how the tissues remain so tightly packed despite being subjected to twists and turns.
Researchers found the cells take on a complex form – one they could not classify, so they asked mathematicians what the shape was called, but were told there was no name for that shape, so the researchers had to come up with one.
Scientists call it scutoid because it resembles a part found in an insects throat called the scuttelum.
So what exactly is a scutoid? It is described as a shape that has two ends, with six sides on one end, five on the other, and a triangular face on one of the long edges. There is, however, already a similar shape called a prismatoid, that has five sides on one end and six on the other, but the triangle that makes that possible is longer than the new scutoid.