V. - download pdf or read online

By Thomas Pynchon

ISBN-10: 0060930217

ISBN-13: 9780060930219

The wild, macabre story of the 20th century and of 2 men—one trying to find whatever he has misplaced, the opposite with not anything a lot to lose—and “V.,” the unknown lady of the identify.

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Example text

Demosponges, the class to which the barrel sponge belongs, are the oldest still existing multicellular animals for which there are unambiguous traces in the Cryogenian, or ‘snowball Earth’, period of the late Proterozic. These early sponges played some of the first chords in the transition to the full musical score of life as we know it today, and it is likely that all other multicellular animals are derived from an early offshoot of this line. So next time you come across a sponge, consider that something that was more like this than it is like you was your direct ancestor.

In these conditions, ‘fishapods’, able to do pushups on proto-limbs to gulp fresh air from just above its river habitat, would have had an edge over those relying only on gills to extract meagre oxygen from the murky water. Flexible necks and multiple digits – sometimes seven or eight on each ‘hand’ or ‘foot’ – evolved to help a body twist, finger and pick through the weeds and rotting logs. What would their world have been like? Imagine yourself thrown back in time and washed up on the edge of a Devonian river mouth.

Even here, life was no picnic, thanks to low levels of oxygen for much of the time, a shortage of vital nutrients and frequent upwellings of toxic waters from the depths that killed eukaryotes en masse. At some point, however, relatively favourable conditions allowed for the evolution of simple, spongelike multicellular organisms, which are distinguished from colonies by specialization of different types of cell within the whole. Exactly when this happened is debated, but some evidence points to as much as 900 million years ago.

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V. by Thomas Pynchon


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