Be the most informed person in the room with Newsy's free e-newsletter

View our privacy policy: http://www.newsy.com/privacy/
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

This Sponge Near The Hawaiian Islands Might Be Bigger Than Your Car

Its size isn't the only thing of note.

By Ryan Biek | May 30, 2016

There's a sponge the size of a minivan 7,000 feet below the Pacific Ocean's surface. 

Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration discovered the largest-known sponge near the Hawaiian Islands. It is nearly 12 feet long and 7 feet wide. 

It's unclear how old it is, but other huge sponges in much shallower waters are believed to live more than 2,300 years

Article Continues Below

This massive sponge even acts as an important part of the ecosystem. The researchers say it filters large volumes of seawater and is a habitat for smaller species. 

Crew aboard the Okeanos Explorer discovered the sponge and documented the find using remotely operated vehicles. Their exploration continued to a depth of 16,000 feet. 

Only about 5 percent overall of the world's oceans have been explored, so even larger sponges may exist.

This video includes clips and images from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Music provided courtesy of APM Music. 

Want to see more stories like this?
Like Newsy on Facebook for More Sci/Health Coverage