A photograph taken by scientists has generated quite the buzz on the internet for appearing to be the real life embodiment of SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star, the two main characters from the long running and extremely popular cartoon.
The show has been on TV for more than two decades.
The show is based on the comedic adventures of an animated Yellow Sea Sponge and a Pink Starfish.
It appears the show may be based on a real story though, as a Yellow Sea Sponge and a Pink Starfish were recently seen hanging out together in real life.
According to Fox News, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was conducting a study using a remote operated deep-sea vehicle when the rover captured the photograph that has now gone viral. The picture was taken near an underwater mountain about 200 miles east of New York City.
Even Christopher Mah, a marine biologist with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History made the comparison to the cartoon show.
“I thought it would be funny to make the comparison, which for once was actually kind of comparable to the iconic images/colors of the cartoon characters.
As a biologist who specializes in sea stars, most depictions of Patrick and SpongeBob are incorrect.”
There are believed to be more than 8,500 species of sponges in the world and they’re believed to be more than 600 million years old. Sponges vary in texture and colors, and finding a natural sponge with a boxy shape and bright yellow coloration is actually pretty rare.
Most sponges are more of an orange or white color which helps them blend in better in their environment.
The sea start pictured is what’s known as a Chondraster. Its 5 arms are covered with tiny suction cups which allow the species to creep and crawl along the ocean floor. The species come in a a variety of shades of pink and white, but this particular starfish almost perfectly matched the color of the cartoon starfish.
Starfish are carnivorous. They cling to clams, oysters, and snails with those tiny suction cups and then engulf their prey with their stomach and break it down using enzymes.
While it’s fun to make jokes about the sponge and the starfish hanging out, in all likelihood the reality is that the starfish was about to eat that sponge. A solid reminder that nature isn’t a cartoon and the world is all about survival of the fittest.
“I normally avoid these references… but WOW. REAL LIFE Sponge bob and Patrick!