Canid Fossils: Wolves & Dogs | Darwin and Wallace: A Nature & Fossil Store

Canid Fossils: Wolves & Dogs


        The Canids are one of the most widespread groups of Carnivorans on the planet, in part to evolving into extremely efficient predators, as well as one branch being domesticated and spread throughout the earth by humans. Specific flesh-slicing and bone-cracking dentary features, in combination with erect ears, bushy tails, long legs, and prognathic muzzles, are generally the combined physical characteristics that separate the Canids from all other Carnivorans. The earliest Canid fossils that we know of come from a small American species called Prohesperocyon wilsoni of the Eocene epoch, approximately 40 million years ago. From this basal Canid would evolve three subfamilies: the Hesperocyoninae (smaller, relatively short-legged Canids of the Eocene to Miocene epochs), the Borophaginae (larger, bone-crushing Canids of the Oligocene to Pliocene epochs), and the Caninae (the only surviving subfamily, having originated in the Miocene epoch approximately 34 million years ago). The Canines are comprised of several groups, including foxes, jackals, coyotes, and wolves, as well as the domesticated lineage of wolves known as dogs. Dogs were first bred by humans in Eurasia approximately 23,500 years ago during the Pleistocene epoch. Cooperation between the two species was greatly beneficial, with it coming security, cooperative hunting, and companionship. Today, dogs have been genetically manipulated into several different breeds, yet, despite how vastly different they can be, they are all members of the same species, Canis familiaris.

Click on the images below to see the incredible fossils we offer in our Canid selection: