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There is then something of a hiatus in the vulpine fossil record until the early Pliocene (about 4 mya), with foxes from China and Turkey among the earliest Eurasian specimens.The origins of our modern-day Red fox (, which lived in southern Europe at the end of the Pliocene, around 2.6 mya – this species was first discovered in deposits from Italy in the late 1800s, but remains were subsequently found in France, Spain and Greece.When the ice melted the Holarctic clade spread south and east, while the Nearctic clade spread north, the two meeting in central Canada.Aubry’s data reveal more than just the distribution of foxes in pre-history, it also elucidates the relatedness of the animals currently inhabiting North America (see: Taxonomy).Briefly, the creature that taxonomists currently think gave rise to modern-day dogs was a medium-sized (about the size of a coyote) grassland predator of North America called that appeared during the late Eocene, some 36 mya.The caniforms subsequently diverged into three lineages (which we call subfamilies): the Hesperocyoninae (‘western dogs’); the Borophaginae (‘bone-crushing dogs’); and the only one still around, the Caninae, which includes the dogs, wolves, foxes, etc.Nonetheless, taxonomists (those who study how species are related to each other) currently think that the carnivorans evolved from animals called miacids, which were small tree-living mammals that looked similar to modern-day civets.At some point -- by current thinking, around 42 million years ago (mya), during the mid-Eocene -- it appears that the carnivorans split into the two groups, or suborders, that we recognise as cat-like (Feliformia) and dog-like (Caniformia).

So, the result was two isolated populations (or clades): one in Alaska (Holarctic clade) and one in the south (Nearctic clade).In their 1982 comparison of Red and Arctic ( comes from the Old World and dates to the early Pleistocene (between 1.8 and 1 mya) of Hungary and, in her 2008 study of Red fox dentition, Polish Academy of Sciences mammalogist Elwira Szuma suggested that the current line evolved either in Asia Minor or North Africa around this time.As fox populations rose in Eurasia, those in North America appear to have dwindled.Following the retreat of ice from the last ice age (the Late Glacial) some 15,000 years ago, many of the larger mammal species began to re-appear and extend their range northwards.According to Derek Yalden’s fascinating book, , post-glacial remains of the Red fox have been found at several sites around Britain and suggest that this species re-appeared ‘naturally’ (i.e.

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