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When they included MRD in their data set, skull to compare other fossils also prompted Haile-Salassie and his colleagues to take a second look at some other specimens, including a 3.9 million-year-old frontal bone from the Middle Awash region of Ethiopia.The specimen included the area behind the eyes where the skull narrowed, which is another feature that seems to be fairly distinctive for each species.A 3.8 million-year-old fossil skull is giving anthropologists their first look at an early Australopithecine, the hominin genus that eventually led to modern humans.

That doesn’t sound like much to go on, but the sizes and shapes of teeth changed noticeably between hominin species, so they’re very handy for identification.

At the moment, however, those are just assumptions—albeit very likely ones—based on what we know about other Australopiths.

That's because, until now, anthropologists knew only from its teeth and jaws.

But if had the face of a later Australopith, its cranium looks more like those of apes and older hominin species.

Its skull narrows just behind the eye sockets, like earlier hominins and apes, and its brain case, at 365cc to 370cc, is smaller than that of The find “fills a major gap in the fossil record,” as Haile-Salassie and his colleagues wrote.

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