Very few human skeletal remains have been found which can be assigned with any certainty to the Lower or Middle Pleistocene or which are so primitive in type that they are assumed to belong to these early periods. The principal ones are Homo modjokertensis, from the Lower Pleistocene of Java; Pithecanthropus erectus, from the Middle Pleistocene of Java; Sinanthropus pekinensis (Peking Man), from the Middle Pleistocene of China; Eoanthropus dawsoni (Piltdown Man), found in England and generally thought to belong to the Lower Pleistocene; Homo heidelbergensis, from an early interglacial deposit of Germany; and Rhodesian Man (Broken Hill skull), from South Africa, of very uncertain age.
For succeeding periods we have more satisfactory data. Belonging to the latter part of the Pleistocene, and mostly to the time of the first maximum of the last ice (Wurm I) are many remains of Neanderthal Man (Homo neanderthalensis), a type which has been found, with many variations, from western Europe to Palestine (usually associated with Mousterian implements). All the primitive types so far mentioned differ greatly in their physical characteristics, and their exact relationship to one another and to modern races of men is still a subject of discussion, but it is questionable whether any one of them was a direct ancestor of Homo sapiens (modern
or Neanthropic Man), the species to which all present races of men belong.
Alleged early occurrences of individuals of this Neanthropic type (e.g. Foxhall, Galley Hill, Olmo, and Castenedolo Man) are not accepted as valid by most anthropologists, but beginning with Upper Palaeolithic times, contemporary with the Laufen oscillation and the Wurm II glacial maximum-in other words with the Aurignacian, Solutrean, and Magdalenian periods of Europe-representatives of modern man appear on the scene. Some of these, such as the men of Cro-Magnon, Combe-Capelle, Chancelade, and Grimaldi in France, are generally long-headed (dolichocephalic) and on the whole like present-day long-headed peoples of the White or European group, though some of the Grimaldi skeletons have been claimed to show slight Negroid characteristics. Others, like Boskop Man, of South Africa, are more definitely related to present Negroid types. Still others, such as Wadjak Man (Java) and Talgai Man (Queensland), show relationships to the present Australian natives (Australoid type). Remains of a few round-headed (brachycephalic) individuals of the White group, apparently dating near the very close of the Palaeolithic, have been found in Europe-at Solutre, for example. No remains of Palaeolithic men of Mongoloid type have yet been reported.