Marine scientists may have achieved the most exciting discovery of all time: the location of Bikini Bottom!
SpongeBob & Patrick Spotted In The Atlantic Ocean
For more than 20 years, Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants has delighted kids all over the world. I’m sure most of us loved it when we were growing up! The show follows SpongeBob (a sea sponge), his best friend Patrick (a starfish), their grouchy neighbour Squidward (an octopus), Mr Krabs (a red crab), Sandy Cheeks (a squirrel), evil Plankton (a copepod), and all their antics around Bikini Bottom.
Recently, marine scientists stumbled upon a ‘real-life’ version of SpongeBob and Patrick in the Atlantic Ocean! Just 200 miles off the coast of New York, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) spotted the familiar duo using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).
NOAA’s Seafloor Expedition
Marine scientists and SpongeBob-lovers were so excited to see the iconic duo in real life! The researchers — aboard NOAA’s Okeanos Explorer ship — were surveying the Retriever Seamount in the Atlantic Ocean when they saw Hertwigia sponge and Chondraster starfish. The pair were seen roughly 1,855 metres below sea level by an ROV. ROVs explore submarine habitats and live stream their journies.
As you can imagine, the stylised depictions of the marine species are quite different to their real-life counterparts. “As a biologist who specializes in sea stars, most depictions of Patrick and Spongebob are incorrect,” Christopher Mah commented about the discovery. But, he added, "I thought it would be funny to make the comparison, which for once was actually kind of comparable to the iconic cartoon characters”.
Sea Sponges & Starfish Are Enemies In The Wild!
Okay, we know this will shatter your perception of SpongeBob SquarePants — but in real life, Chondraster stars are actually carnivores, which means they’ve been spotted eating sea sponges. Can you believe it? Starfish mostly eat clams, mussels and oysters, but they’ve been known to snack on sea sponges too. So, what we’re looking at in the photo is (potentially) a predator and its prey — but we’d prefer to believe that they’re besties.
Chondraster starfish can be dark pink, light pink, or white — but this particular starfish actually resembled Patrick Star. Likewise, the boxy shape of the yellow sea sponge resembled SpongeBob — but typically, Hertwigia sponges are orange or white. Condraster starfish have tiny suckers that allow them to move across the ocean floor and rocks, so this photo is showing the starfish creeping towards the sea sponge!
What an awesome discovery by the researchers at the NOAA — it just goes to show that SpongeBob and Patrick will always be besties, even at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean!
For more unusual scientific discoveries and innovations, check out the blogs below.