Scientists have discovered a sea sponge more than a mile under the surface of the Atlantic that bears a remarkable resemblance to children’s cartoon character Spongebob Squarepants, NPR reports.
Next to the yellow sponge sat a pink starfish that could be mistaken for Spongebob’s friend Patrick, commenters on social media were quick to point out.
Starfish expert Christopher Mah was watching a live feed of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ship Okeanos Explorer when he spotted the “dead ringer” for the cartoon characters.
But rather than going on undersea adventures together, Mah suspects there is a more morbid reason the two creatures were pictured in close proximity.
“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,” he told NPR.
“The reality is a little crueler than perhaps a cartoon would suggest.”
Mah believes the starfish could be a chondraster grandis, the species that inspired Patrick’s character.
NOAA’s expedition took place more than 200 miles of the Atlantic coast of the US, more than a mile underwater.
It was part of the Stepping Stones project, a monthlong expedition on the Okeanos Explorer to collect information about unexplored deep water areas off the eastern US.