NOAA discovers 'real life' SpongeBob and Patrick Star deep in the Atlantic

Now, that bad news: In the real world, Patrick Star might be about to eat his BFF SpongeBob.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, generational studies. Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SpongeBob SquarePants, duh, whose best pal, Patrick Star, lives under a nearby rock. But maybe the two animated BFFs of Bikini Bottom have real-life counterparts who reside deep under the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Marine biologist Christopher Mah tweeted out an image captured by a NOAA remotely operated deep-sea vehicle on Tuesday, and the resemblance to SpongeBob and Patrick was clear.

"I normally avoid these (references)..but WOW. REAL LIFE Sponge Bob and Patrick!" Mah wrote.

The two creatures were spotted palling around on the side of an underwater mountain called Retriever Seamount, 200 miles (320 km) east of New York City, Business Insider reports.

Mah, a biologist who specializes in sea stars, told Insider that the image stood out to him because "most depictions of Patrick and SpongeBob are incorrect."

Most sea sponges in the deep sea are orange or white, not yellow like this one, he said. The sponge in question belongs to the genus Hertwigia, and the bright pink sea star nearby is known as a Chondraster star. 

Now the bad news: Mah said Chondraster stars like to eat sea sponges, so the tiny Patrick could be about to chomp on his SpongeBob pal.

Back in the animated world, Patrick now has his own spinoff show, The Patrick Star Show, which debuted on Nickelodeon on July 9.