(Chapter II, section 4)

Non-sapiens Pleistocene fossil men

Not demonstrably older than the Pleistocene fossil men discussed in the last section are the remains of an increasingly large number of non-sapiens specimens from all three continents of the Old World.12 These include two separate genera, Pithecanthropus and Sinanthropus, and four species of Homo—soloensis, heidelbergensis, neanderthalensis, and rhodesiensis. The exact relationships between these groups is in dispute, but it is apparent that they may be grouped in at least two evolutionary levels, with Pithecanthropus and Sinanthropus in the lower bracket. Despite their allocation to separate genera, these two are, in many respects, very much alike. Furthermore Rhodesjensjs and Soloensis resemble each other, and together are not very different from the numerous and variable Neanderthaloid group.

These fossils, whatever their internal classification, may he considered a separate class of highly evolved, humanoid primates. Within this class there are differences of evolutionary status, and differences in type of specialization. As a whole, however, they differ from both early and



MacGregor’s restoration of La Chapelle aux Saints, provided with hat, hair, and clothing by the artist. Although we do not know that the reconstruction of the soft parts is accurate, nevertheless the facial features were probably essentially human. This picture serves to illustrate the fact that our impressions of racial differences between groups of manidnd are often largely influenced by modes of hair dressing, the presence or absence of a beard and clothing.


modern sapiens man in the possession of a flattened, gorilloid skull vault, with a strong supraorbital torus, an extremely sloping forehead associated with a low vault height, and a strongly girded brain case, in which, in the more primitive Species, the maximum cranial length passes from glabella to an occipital torus, while the maximum breadth lies between the mastoid crests. Even in the more evolved species in which the brain size equals or exceeds that of modern men, the same gorilloid structure to a large extent persists. The faces of the few specimens which still possess them are of extreme length and breadth, and the subnasal portions excessively large in comparison to the brain case; these faces are fiat, and that distinctive human feature, the canine fossa, is lacking. In the case of most known Neanderthals, the molar teeth have fused roots and enlarged pulp cavities, while the dental borders are even, and the canines not interlocking.13

The dating of the various fossils mentioned above is in most cases under dispute, but there is no valid evidence that any of them are earlier than the Middle Pleistocene. Only Homo neanderthalensis in some of his more highly evolved forms is known, however, to have extended into the Late Pleistocene. Aside from all biological considerations, the time clement is sufficient to destroy the hypothesis that members of this heavy browridged group could have evolved directly into the earliest known form of Homo sapiens. It is possible that these species represent a survival of an ancestral stage through which Homo sapiens had in earlier times passed, and that they were, during the Pleistocene, themselves passing through a tardy process of evolving, but this explanation is not the only one that may be presented. The sexual differentiation and luxuriance of gorilloid characters which these species possess may conceivably never have been found in the direct ancestor of sapiens man.


12 The extensive literature on these fossil groups need not be cited here. Except in the Case of Neanderthal, they have little bearing on the subject of this book.

13 The condition known as taurodontism is not as uncommon as has been supposed, and can no longer be cited as an impediment to the relationship of Neanderthal with other types of man. For a discussion and bibliography on the subject of taurodontism, See Galloway, A., The Skeletal Remains of Mapungubwe, pp. 127—174, in Fouché, L., Mapungubwe.