Earlier this week, researchers on an expedition aimed at mapping the Atlantic Ocean's floor as well as exploring various underwater habitats and ecosystems were in for a SpongeBob-y surprise, coming across an eerily familiar sight roughly 200 miles away from shore -- a bright yellow sea sponge hanging out next to a pink starfish.

"They're just a dead ringer for the cartoon characters," scientist, starfish expert, and National Museum of Natural History associate, Christopher Mah told NPR, noting that he instantly recognized just how much pair resembled SpongeBob Squarepants and his best friend, Patrick Star while watching the expedition's live stream.

Despite their uncanny resemblance to the cartoon undersea dynamic duo, which Mah took a point to share with the Twitterverse, who found the whole phenomenon incredibly amusing … 

… it seems the reason for their proximity is a bit less, erm, TV-Y than meets the ere. "In all likelihood, the reason that starfish is right next to that sponge is that that sponge is just about to be devoured, at least in part," he continued, noting that another reason for the sponge's bright yellow color is a chemical defense against becoming lunch for not-Patrick Star. "The reality is a little crueler than perhaps a cartoon would suggest." To quote Bikini Bottom's premier boating instructor, “oh Neptune.” 

Top Image: Twitter/Viacom

For more internet nonsense, follow Carly on Instagram @HuntressThompson_ on TikTok as @HuntressThompson_, and on Twitter @TennesAnyone.

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