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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.
A couple of million years later the dogs started arriving in Eurasia, and the Pliocene (4-5 mya) saw the dogs spread into Africa and South America.
Around six mya, the first wolf-like dog arrived in western Europe.
This radiation was probably in response to a vacant niche opening up as the borophagines started to die-out, and not only marked the birth of all the dog species we know today but also heralded the appearance of three modern-day genera in the south-western USA: (true foxes).
In essence, it was around 10 mya that the fox lineage split from the wolf-dog lineage.
Fox domestication Living with the wild: interacting with wild foxes Interaction with other Species Small and Medium-sized Mammals Livestock Gamebirds Arctic Foxes and other Carnivores Deer Native Animals in Australia Plants and Invertebrates Questions and Answers Evolution and Early Distribution: Dogs and cats are Carnivorans, that is, they’re members of the taxonomic order Carnivora (note this is different to simply being a carnivore, or meat-eater, which is not a taxonomic grouping), which is one of 29 orders within the class Mammalia.
The evolution of carnivorans appears to have been a gradual process that happened in both North America and Eurasia, making it difficult to infer when it all started.
and is thought to stem from the now extinct small fox-like , which lived in North America.
During the late Miocene, around 10 mya, something important happened: the third, and for our purposes most important, canid radiation began.
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.
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.