Tuesday, September 28, 2021

    Marine Scientist Spots Real-Life SpongeBob And Patrick Under The Sea


    A Marine scientist has spotted real-life versions of SpongeBob and Patrick under the sea.

    Christopher Mah was exploring an underwater mountain in the Atlantic when he came across the doubles of the two beloved childhood figures.

    Alas, while the sea sponge was not dressed up in SpongeBob’s iconic suit and tie, and the sea star in Patrick’s green and purple swimming trunks, Mah couldn’t help but spot the striking resemblance.

    Spongebob Patrick (Nickelodeon)Nickelodeon

    The Nickelodeon doubles were spotted when Mah was operating a remote deep-sea vehicle under the Atlantic waves, on the side of an underwater mountain called Retriever seamount. The discovery took place on Tuesday, July 27,  just 200 miles east of New York City.

    The researcher took to Twitter after his surprise encounter, writing: ‘*laugh* I normally avoid these refs.. but WOW. REAL LIFE Sponge bob and Patrick! #Okeanos Retriever seamount 1885 m.’

    Mah’s chance discovery took place while on an NOAA Ocean Exploration new deep-sea plan, taking place from June 30 until July 29, with the aim of  gaining ‘critical baseline information about unknown and poorly understood deepwater areas off the eastern U.S. coast and high seas.’

    Mah told Insider: 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.’

    Indeed, while there are more than 8,500 species of sponges who have been living in the ocean for the last 600 million years, barely any of them resemble SpongeBob’s boxy shape. Their shapes and textures differ based on what surface they live on, be it soft sand or hard and rocky surfaces.

    However, Mah identified the SpongeBob lookalike he discovered as belonging to the genus Hertwigia. Its bright yellow colour surprised Mah due to it being an unusual shade for the deep sea. That far down in the sea is a very dimly lit environment and so the colour normally ranges from orange to white to help with camouflage.

    The Patrick lookalike, you’ll be relieved to know, did bear a stronger resemblance than SpongeBob’s double. The sea star, known as Chondraster, is a ‘bright pink that strongly evoked Patrick’, according to Mah. The Chondraster can be dark pink, light pink or even white in colour. The star has five arms covered in small suckers which allow it to creep along the ocean floor, attaching itself to rocks and other sea organisms along the way.

    But if your heart wasn’t shattered enough by the revelation that SpongeBob was sold to us all as a false dream, then Mah has more in store for you. Sea stars, such as Patrick, are carnivores. Their favourite thing on the menu being sea sponges. So the friendship between star and sponge, sold to us by Nickelodeon, was very far from reality. In the real world, Patrick would not be using his suckers to reach out to SpongeBob as a friend, but to eat him as a snack.

    Researchers have not just explored areas near New York City, but also depths below the Hawaiian Islands, the US Pacific Island, the Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast.

    Mah said:

    We have investigated up to 4,600-meter depths [15,000 feet, or almost 3 miles] and seen a wide range of never-before-seen ocean life, including huge deep-sea corals, many deep-sea fish, starfishes, sponges of which many are undescribed species and thus new to science. Some of it is very alien and in some cases bizarre.

    As part of the exploration, Mah hopes to uncover new star species, using the footage from the Okeanos ROVs.


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