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without any obvious assistance from humans) around 10,000 years ago.
In essence, it was around 10 mya that the fox lineage split from the wolf-dog lineage.
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.
So, the result was two isolated populations (or clades): one in Alaska (Holarctic clade) and one in the south (Nearctic clade).
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.
Aubry’s data suggest that this species first reached North America during the Illinoian glaciation that lasted from roughly 300,000 to 130,000 years ago; during the next 30,000 years (the Sangamon interglacial period) the foxes spread south from Alaska, across what is now the contiguous USA.and is thought to stem from the now extinct small fox-like , which lived in North America.