Nanoparticles of platinum-group metals (PGM) on carbon supports are widely used as catalysts for a number of chemical and electrochemical conversions on laboratory and industrial scale. The newly emerging field of single atom catalysis focuses on the ultimate level of metal dispersion, i.e. atomically dispersed metal species anchored on the substrate surface. However, the presence of single atoms in traditional nanoparticle-based catalysts remains largely overlooked. In this work we use aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscope to investigate four commercially available nanoparticle-based PGM/C catalysts (PGM = Ru, Rh, Pd, Pt). We show that in addition to nanoparticles, single atoms are also present on the surface of carbon substrates. These observations raise questions about the role that single atoms play in conventional nanoparticle PGM/C catalysts. We critically discuss the observations with regard to the quickly developing field of single atom catalysis.