Recently, a new organic geochemical paleothermometer based on the relative abundance of long chain alkyl 1,13-and 1,15-diols, the so-called long chain diol index (LDI), was proposed. Because of its novelty, the proxy has not been reported for sediments older than 43 ka. We therefore determined the LDI for 14 sediment samples from the early Pleistocene between 2.49 and 2.41 Ma, comprising Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 98 to 95, and converted the values to sea surface temperature (SST) estimates to test whether the LDI could be applied or not to the early Quaternary. We show that the long chain diols can be preserved in marine sediments from the early Pleistocene, although at our study site this is limited to periods of increased biomarker accumulation (glacials). Although the results are based on a limited time interval and number of samples, the similarity between LDI-based SST and alkenone-based SST from the same samples suggests that the LDI proxy may have potential for studies covering the entire Quaternary. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.