By about 40 million years ago (the Eocene Epoch),  the various branches of the mammalian order Carnivora were already well defined, such as felids, canids, mustelids and viverrids.  The members of the canid genus Canis,  however, are actually a rather recent evolutionary development, with most modern species being a product of the past few million years.  During this time, which encompasses the Pliocene, Pleistocene, and Holocene epochs, the mammals which can truly be called "wolves" came into existence.  The North American continent provides a rich geological record of wolves and their close relations.  Below is a selection of thumbnail images of some of the wolf and other canine fossils that I have collected over the years.

Click on the thumbnail images to view pages about each fossil canid species.


go to:  Dire wolf
Dire wolf 
(Canis dirus)
go to:  Edward's wolf
Edward's wolf 
(Canis edwardii)
go to:  Red wolf (fossil)
Red wolf 
(Canis rufus)
go to:  Coyote (fossil)
(Canis latrans)
go to:  Domestic dog (fossil)
Domestic dog
(Canis familiaris)
go to:  Bone crushing dog
Bone crushing dog (Osteoborus cynoides)
go to:  Unidentified canid
(Canidae sp.)
go to:  Unidentified Canis
Unidentified species of 
go to:  Grey wolf (fossil)
Grey wolf 
(Canis lupus)

For a general evolutionary history of the wolf, click here:

back to the introduction page

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Photographs and other illustrations (where indicated) are © C. Campbell's NATURAL WORLDS.
Other photos and images are © their respective owners.