The depths of the ocean can be an extremely fascinating place, ripe for exploration and new discoveries. Recently, an expedition surveying beneath the surface more 200 miles off the U.S. Atlantic coast came across a finding that is almost too good to be true. A camera attached to a submersible was transmitting a live feed of its surroundings back to scientists on a research ship above. As it panned over the ocean floor, it came upon a scene of a sea sponge and a starfish perched right next to each other, bearing a striking resemblance to a certain aquatic duo. And if you’re a fan of the popular animated TV series SpongeBob SquarePants, then you know exactly who I’m talking about—the one and only SpongeBob SquarePants and his cheery chum Patrick Star.
Christopher Mah was one of the scientists watching the feed and immediately recognized the uncanny resemblance to the animated duo. He later posted a picture of the look-alikes on Twitter, along with the caption: “WOW. REAL LIFE Sponge bob and Patrick!” The post subsequently received thousands of likes, retweets, and replies from entertained fans—even earning a nod from the official SpongeBob page. One Twitter user took the liberty of adding their cartoon faces and legs to the picture, giving a visual aid to those who were struggling to recognize the lovable pair.
Mah, an expert on starfish and other marine invertebrates, is a research associate at the National Museum of Natural History. He often collaborates with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the organization that was conducting the serendipitous expedition aboard their ship, the Okeanos Explorer. And though that sea sponge and starfish seem to be the perfect real-life version of best friends SpongeBob and Patrick, there’s actually a bit more to the story that might be disturbing to fans.
In reality, starfish like to eat sponges. “In all likelihood, the reason that starfish is right next to that sponge is because that sponge is just about to be devoured, at least in part,” Mah reveals. “The reality is a little crueler than perhaps a cartoon would suggest.”
However, despite that chilling fact, most fans had no doubt that the SpongeBob and Patrick doppelgängers were, in fact, the iconic pair in the flesh. It seems they’ve found themselves quite a long way from Bikini Bottom.
Real-life versions of SpongeBob and Patrick were spotted in a scientific expedition off the U.S. Atlantic coast!
— Christopher Mah (@echinoblog) July 27, 2021
One Twitter user took the liberty of adding their cartoon faces and legs for visual reference.
— snowskatermn (@snowskatermn) July 30, 2021
The original post received thousands of retweets and replies from entertained fans, even catching the attention of the official SpongeBob page.
best friends SpongeBob & Patrick spotted IRL in the ocean!
📷: courtesy of Christopher Mah/NOAA pic.twitter.com/f5mfmAlRQR
— SpongeBob (@SpongeBob) July 29, 2021
In my opinion, this wins the internet today 😄
— Liam Gleason (@LiamGleason39) July 30, 2021
I'm 100% convinced he did this from beyond, lol
— Wayward Jamie (@jamezverusaum) July 29, 2021
You just know they were cutting it up right before the camera came… they were like FREEZE
— BabanajamaMama 🦄 (@gettingconfetti) July 28, 2021
Greatest pic EVER! No more pics on internet. We are officially done.
— mark papesh (@mjpapesh) July 31, 2021