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Pokémon GO Players Mistake Research Buoy for Pokéball, Take it Home

Pokémon GO Players Mistake Research Buoy for Pokéball, Take it Home

Since its release (in most regions) earlier this month, Pokémon GO has taken the world by storm. But the mobile AR game that’s got players across the off their couches and scouring the world in search of their next great catch has also had unexpected effects on society. The game’s been helping trainers to find real-life dates, aiding in the capture of criminals, and even distracting players to the point where they literally wander into a new country. Now it’s being reported that Pokémon GO has effected the noblest of pursuits, that of scientific discovery!

How exactly did this happen you ask? Two Pokémon GO players thought that a red and white research buoy used to track kelp ocean movement was a Poké ball, and they decided to swim out and grab it. No, seriously.

Deep Sea News recently picked up on the report in edhat Santa Barbara, which was written by a member of the Marine Science Institute at UC Santa Barbara and states the incident is “the first record of Pokémon GO disrupting science.” (Somewhere out there Neil deGrasse Tyson is fuming like a Torkoal.)

The marine scientist’s report says in part:

Several Isla Vista Pokémon GO enthusiasts happened to spot one of these floating [red and white buoys] in the waters off Isla Vista earlier this week. Assuming that it was a pokéball, they swam into the ocean to retrieve it. After detaching it from the kelp, they brought it ashore. Upon realizing that this was, in fact, a part of a scientific experiment and not a crossover from augmented reality to reality, they called the number scribbled on the buoy…

Despite the temporary disruption to the kelp-tracking research, the UC Santa Barbara scientist seemed okay with the Poké mixup, perhaps because he or she is a Pokémon GO player too. In fact, the scientist ended the report by requesting that people “please stop taking our drifters from the ocean [even if they] look exactly like pokéballs…” and that “[they] found a Growlithe in the lab this morning…”

These nifty Poké/marine science mash-up photos were also posted along with the report, so there are definitely no hard feelings:

Ash_Ketchum_Drifter

Marine_Pokemon

What do you think about this disruption to science? Does the depth of your love for Pokémon GO know no bounds, or do you feel like this game is causing an ocean of trouble? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Images: UC Santa Barbara via edhat Santa Barbara

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