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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).
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.Iberia, Italy, southern France, etc.) for only a (geologically) brief period, after which they quickly returned to central Europe and Britain; at the time, the UK was connected to the European continent.The flooding of the Doggerland ‘bridge’ around 6,500 years ago isolated Britain’s foxes from those in Europe, putting an end to any natural mixing of the populations.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.
The large ice sheet that covered most of Canada and the northern fringes of the USA from around 100,000 to 10,000 years ago (during the Wisconsin glaciation) kept the Red foxes in Alaska (the population of which was added to by a second wave of colonisation from Eurasia) separate from those in the southern USA.