PHOTO: Oceanographers Find Real-Life SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star in Atlantic Ocean

by Megan Molseed

There may not have been a pineapple and we’re fairly certain there wasn’t a squirrel in an astronaut suit, but the real-life versions of SpongeBob SquarePants and his best buddy Patrick Star were spotted in the Atlantic ocean last month.

The live versions of the iconic cartoon duo were spotted on a July 27 survey of the Atlantic Ocean, Live Science, reports. The footage was spotted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Okeanos Explorer, a research vessel that was sent 6,000 feet down into the Atlantic to investigate the Retriever Seamount off the coast of New England.

The submersible was operated remotely during the mission. The craft sent live video footage of what it was filming to the NOAA who then shared pieces of the journey live on Facebook.

He’s A Starfish Expert NOT A SpongeBob Expert

One of the viewers of the live feed was Christopher Mah, a National Museum of Natural History research associate and starfish expert. Mah is also a frequent collaborator with the NOAA. During the feed, the odd duo caught Mah’s eye and he went to check them out a little closer. There they were, a bright yellow ocean sponge and a pink starfish just hanging out, side by side.

Mah shared the find on his Twitter feed, noting that while he usually avoids the “SpongeBob” references, this one was too much of a coincidence to pass up.

“*laugh* I normally avoid these refs..,” Mah wrote in the July 27 tweet. “But WOW. REAL LIFE Sponge bob and Patrick!”

“They’re just a dead ringer for the cartoon characters,” Mah told NPR shortly after the find.

SpongeBob and Patrick In Real Life!

Even the “SpongeBob” Instagram page caught wind of the discovery. The SpongeBob Instagram shared a photo of the “real-life” duo. The post also included a photo of the cartoon versions of our favorite sponge and starfish.

“marine scientists spot “real-life” SpongeBob & Patrick in the ocean!” the SpongeBob Insta page said in the caption.

However, while we all enjoy the idea of the loveable cartoon characters palling around in real life, Mah says that the chances that this is reality are pretty slim.

According to Mah, the sea sponge also known as Hertwigia, and the sea star, also known as Chondraster do not become buddies in real life. In fact, SpongeBob and Patrick’s real-world counterparts are likely in the middle of a story that is much darker than we have ever seen on the Nickelodeon cartoon series.  

According to Mah, the starfish is likely sitting next to the sponge because he is getting ready for a meal.

“In all likelihood, the reason that starfish is right next to that sponge is because that sponge is just about to be devoured,” the expert explained. “At least in part.”