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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.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).Whenever and wherever this species first appeared, fossil evidence suggests that the modern Red fox has been in North Africa for the last 700,000 years and Europe for at least the last 400,000 years.In Britain, remains of the Red fox have been found in Wolstonian Glacial sediments from Warwickshire, suggesting that they were around between 330,000 and 135,000 years ago.Recent genetic work by Keith Aubry and his colleagues at the Pacific Northwest Research Station in Washington, however, has revealed new information on the spread of the Red fox in North America.
So, the result was two isolated populations (or clades): one in Alaska (Holarctic clade) and one in the south (Nearctic clade).
According to Wang and Tedford, the first true foxes appeared in North America late in the Miocene (around 9 mya) and were represented by a small Californian species known as , which was found in the Central African country of Chad and dates to the late Miocene (some 7 mya).
Recent work by Louis de Bonis and colleagues at the Université de Poitiers in France has suggested that the foxes and other canids first spread throughout Africa, before invading Europe via a trans-Mediterranean route towards the end of the Miocene.
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.
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.