Discoveries of the last five to ten years have greatly expanded the number of remains of earliest Australopithecus, reaching back to nearly 4 Ma ago in Africa. In Eurasia a broad range of recent finds has greatly extended knowledge of the diversity, the distribution and the facial anatomy of a series of small Ramapithecus and of several similar-sized larger apes (with the usual proliferation of names, namely Budvapithecus, Ouranopithecus, Sivapithecus, and Ankarapithecus). All these new Eurasian fossil hominoids seem to come from around 8-15 Ma ago. Improvements in dating and fossil documentation emphasize the so-called 'Pliocene gap' in knowledge of higher hominoid evolution. The period from 4 to 8 Ma in Africa, and apparently elsewhere, is devoid of a single dentition, skull, or limb bone of any hominoid, other than the Lothagam mandible at 5 or 6 Ma (holding but a single preserved tooth.) In <latex>$\S$</latex> 1 recent discoveries at three sites in East Africa, five in Europe and Asia Minor and two in Asia are reviewed. These discoveries document an unexpected and widespread occurrence of hominoids with Australopithecus-like cheek teeth having thick enamel and set in robust jaws. Although both dental and facial resemblance between Ramapithecus and Australopithecus has been demonstrated by recent finds, the proliferation of new finds has somewhat confused discrimination of subsets among later Miocene hominoids; also some workers have stressed similarities between Ramapithecus and Sivapithecus or between the latter and Pongo. In <latex>$\S$</latex> 2 new temporal, ecological and morphological evidence relevant to determining the time of origin and the definition of the taxonomic family of man, Hominidae, are summarized.