Jinniushan and Floresiensis - the keys to Denisovan and the truly modern humans
Jinniushan had a bigger brain than anything in contemporary Africa
In Demand for Resources (1992:28 ISBN 9173288411) in a chapter about human evolution, Peter Klevius used only one example, the remarkable Jinniushan skeleton/cranium:
In northern China near North Korean border an almost complete skeleton of a young man who died 280,000 years ago. The skeleton was remarkable because its big cranial volume (1,400cc) was not expected in Homo erectus territory at this early time and even if classified as Homo sapiens it was still big. The anatomically completely modern human brain volume is 1,400 cc and appeared between 50-100,000 years ago. One may therefore conclude that big brain volume by far predated more sophisticated human behavior (Klevius 1992:28).
Today, when many believe the skeleton is female, the brain size becomes even more remarkable.
Since 1991 when Klevius wrote his book much new information has been produced. However, it seems that the Jinniushan archaic Homo sapiens still constitutes the most spectacular anomaly (together with Homo floresiensis) in anthropology. So why did Klevius pick Jinniushan instead of one of the more fashionable human remains? After all, Klevius was a big fan of Rchard Leakey (he even interviewed him in a lengthy program for the Finnish YLE broadcasting company) and there was a lot of exciting bones appearing from the Rift Valley.
In the 1980s Klevius paid special attention to Australian aborigines and African "bushmen" and noted that the latter were mongoloid in appearance (even more so considering that todays Khoe-San/Khoisan are heavily mixed with Bantu speakers). But mongoloid features are due to cold adaptation in the north and therefore the "bushmen" had to be related to Eurasia. Klevius soon realized that the Khoisan speakers had moved to the southern Africa quite recently as a consequence of the so called Bantu expansion. More studies indicated that the "bushmen" had previously populated most of east Africa up to the Red Sea and beyond.
So the next step for Klevius was to search for early big skulled human remains in the mongoloid northern part of Eurasia. And that search really paid off.
This happened more than 20 years before the discovery of the Denisova bracelet and the human relative Denisovan in Altai.