Voyage to Phtanum B | Alien Biology

Imagine an earth-like planet far larger than
our own. NASA has actually discovered numerous exoplanets,
dubbed ‘super-earths,’ which are over twice the size of our tiny home-world. Most of these super-earths can’t support
life, but it’s interesting to imagine what sorts of organisms we’d discover on a super-sized
version of a habitable world… Phtanum B is a speculative project created
by the brilliant Stevemobcannon, who imagines just such a planet, and the incredible alien
life that might evolve on it. And as usual, I have links where you can follow
and support his work down below. So, for this entry into the archive, we’ll
be voyaging to the extraordinary alien world of Phtanum B.

The planet gets its name from
the Greek root wood ‘phtan,’ which translates as ‘To arrive first’ — a reference to
the idea that Phtanum B is the first planet with alien life that humanity arrives on in
this fictional narrative. At almost twice the size of Earth with a higher
surface gravity and thicker atmosphere, conditions on Phtanum B are quite different from on our
own planet. And the life here is downright awe-inspiring,
reaching colossal sizes despite the higher gravity… but we’ll come back to that later
in the video. For now, let’s discuss how humanity first
reached these alien shores…. I wish I could tell you that in this timeline,
humans grew into a grand interstellar civilization, but the truth is the author imagines humanity
drove themselves to extinction before our story begins.

Their successors are mysterious genetically-modified
superhumans known as the Deum, who wish to give their homo-sapiens cousins a second chance. Traveling to Phtanum B, the powerful Deum
placed a reborn colony of humans on this habitable world — and watched their progress from
afar. But what the last of humanity will find on
this planet is an ecosystem much, much different from Earth’s… Beginning with flora, plants — like everything
on Phtanum B, reach gargantuan sizes. Here on the southern supercontinent, a lush
world of red-tinted vegetation flourishes. The sheer amount of consumable biomass in
this environment far exceeds that of any on Earth, allowing the organisms that feed on
this flora to reach equally staggering sizes. One of the first of these animals that humans
encounter are the Giant Ptyonocodite — relatively common herbivores with iridescent green skin
due to algae that grows on their body and symbiotically supplies them with extra energy. Giant Ptyonocodite also gain energy by consuming
plant matter in the surrounding environment — which they rip from the ground with their
flexible arm-like jaws.

Strange as this might seem, Ptyonocodite anatomy
is a good ‘average’ example of a body plan on Phtanum B — so let’s take a closer
look at the inner workings of these organisms. The skeletal system of Ptyonocodites and many
of the other massive lifeforms we’ll be exploring is made of pyrite — able to support
far greater weight than the hydroxyapatite bones of earthly animals.

Likewise, their muscle system is more powerful
than an earth organism’s, with core muscles made of more long-chained myosin fibers for
basic movements, and a dedicated secondary system of muscles for precise movement. Instead of a single brain, a decentralized
neural system sends commands to these muscles — not unlike the neural systems of some
types of starfish and coral. Finally, you’ll notice that instead of eyes,
most lifeforms on Phtanum B have ridges lined with infrared light receptors on their heads. Most organisms also lack traditional mouths,
instead having a mouth-like hole in between two tentacle-like ‘arm-jaws’ that bring
food into the opening. But keep in mind Ptyonocodites are just a
baseline, and life on Phtanum B gets far more interesting… A distant relative of the Ptyonocodites are
the plains-dwelling Bronze Synylopes — lifeforms that use their strange, shovel-like lower
arm-jaw to dig for food. These organisms move in great herds of up
to thirty individuals — a survival strategy similar to the herding instincts of many animals
here on Earth. At 10 feet, or 3.2 meters in length, Bronze
Synylopes could be considered megafauna here on earth… but on Phtanum B, they’re actually
on the small side.

This has led some human explorers to attempt
domesticating them, with mixed success. Along the volcanic shores of Phtanum B’s
coastal regions, a hunter is relentlessly pursuing prey. This is a Black Curvoglavid, a multi-limbed
predator whose arm jaws have hardened into curved structures lined with pseudo-teeth
used to ensnare its next meal. In this regard, the spiny jaws of a Black
Curvoglavid are analogous to the mandibles of some earth insects. These endurance hunters might be deadly to
humans caught outside the walls of their colony, but they’re actually just midsized predators
on this world — which, when compared to midsized Earth predators, puts into perspective
how much bigger and scarier life can grow on Phtanum B. Less common are Great Frigatepedes
— rarely-encountered lifeforms that almost resemble extremely deadly living trains. Their multi-limbed body structure in some
ways calls to mind the appearance of Earth insects like centipedes or caterpillars. Curiously, Great Frigatepedes hunt prey by
ramming into them at high speeds, with their bony front body protrusion acting as a battering

After a successful use of this strange hunting
technique, the creature’s hooked jaw-arms unfold from hidden pouches and tear apart
the prey. And if that’s not intimidating enough, Great
Frigatepedes are true goliaths, reaching almost 64 feet, or 19.5 meters in length… although
some of their distant relatives grow even larger. But before we meet the relatives of the Frigatepedes,
there’s another fascinating lifeform lurking in the snowy mountains. Here, far from the red plants of the lowlands,
you can see the remains of its latest kill… meaning our culprit is close by. This is the Beartraphugger, a mountainous
hunter that possesses a shaggy coat of silvery fibers to protect it from the cold, not unlike
the fur of a polar bear on our own planet.

Beartraphugger ancestry isn’t fully understood,
but the bizarre biting apparatus at the front of their head is an effective, knife-like
tool when it comes to hunting prey. But far stranger hunters exist on Phtanum
B… Returning to the lowlands, even the trees
on Phtanum B can be deadly — although the Sathrical Corpsetree isn’t a tree in the
traditional sense but a Xenicozoophyte — an organism that can gain sustenance from both
the sun and other sources: which in the Corpsetree’s case, includes living prey.

Blending into the red vegetation, these odd
predators strike down animals that wander too close with the large claw at the end of
their arm. The speared prey is then inserted into a mouth-like
hole near the base of the arm. Pretty terrifying. Another Xenicozoophyte is the Blitz Spire,
a lifeform so bizarre and unearthly it’s hard to grasp at first. The single largest immobile organism on Phtanum
B, the Blitz Spire can reach a staggering 1,600 feet, or 495 meters tall, and grow indefinitely
throughout their lifecycle until they collapse under their weight and mass. The tip of the Blitz Spire has evolved, incredibly,
to attract lightning strikes, the electric currents of which can then be re-released
to stun prey that gets close to its underground feeding tendrils. These living skyscrapers are truly a lifeform
unlike any other. The largest mobile predator in both modern
and prehistoric times, however, is the Giant Lactismid — which has reached a scale most
carnivores could only dream of.

A larger relative of the Frigatepedes, Giant
Lactismids can reach 102 feet, or 31.1 meters in length. The incredible bulk of this creature is supported
by countless legs: including larger, weight-bearing outer limbs, and pairs of thinner, hooked
internal limbs that can aid in hunting prey. Giant Lactismids also have alarmingly well-developed
neural-systems, which makes them aware enough to avoid most human settlements… although
on rare occasions, they’ve been known to hunt humans for sport.

But even for a Giant Lactismid, not all lifeforms
are easy to take down. Take the gargantuan Castlewalkers, a group
that, as their name implies, are impenetrable living fortresses — and some of the heaviest
terrestrial grazers on Phtanum B. Occupying a niche not entirely unlike an elephant on
our planet, Castlewalkers vacuum up plant matter with a long, jaw-arm appendage covered
in quills to scare off any predators. These creatures are also quite intelligent,
and are able to communicate with other members of their species with morse code-like ground
vibrations that they can perceive through their feet. As you can see by this size comparison to
other Phtanum B lifeforms — plus a T-rex for good measure — Castlewalkers are true
titans, reaching lengths of over one hundred and ten feet, or 34 meters. But even Castlewalkers are small in comparison
to the final lifeform on our list… The immense Red Windwhales are among the most
legendary and awe-inspiring lifeforms of Phtanum B.

Gliding through the open skies, Windwhales
are mainly made up of air-filled cavities that allow them to stay aloft despite reaching
lengths of over 425 feet, or 130 meters — and possessing wingspans nearly twice that length. Aided by the dense atmosphere, Windwhales
function almost like living paper planes, and possess retractable legs that work like
grappling hooks to anchor them to the ground in turbulent weather. When these tethers fail, however, and a Windwhale
passes away, they create something called a ‘Whalefall’ — an event where organisms
from all across Phatnum B come to feast on the fallen titan. For the saga of Phatnum B is a story of life
and death. And now, humans are a part of this story… At this point in the narrative’s development,
whether or not humans will be able to survive long term in their new environment is unknown. Phtanum B is an ongoing project, so who knows
what else might happens—and what else might be lurking on this alien world… Thanks for watching.

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