Bones of foxes that were discovered at Strandir, the eastern part of the West Fjords, in 2004 turned out to be about 3,500 years old, which proves the theory that foxes had already settled in Iceland before humans did, in 874 A.D.
“This is the first time that it is considered proven that foxes were here before the settlement,” Páll Hersteinsson, a professor in mammalogy told Fréttabladid. “According to some folktales, the fox was brought to Iceland by humans.”
His analysis of the bones also support the theory that the fox had already settled in Iceland by the end of the latest Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago, but that theory will be more difficult to prove.
“The cave in which the bones were found rose up above sea level about 4,000 years ago. To find older remains we have to search much higher and blow up caves which are now in an altitude of about 80 meters,” Hersteinsson explained, adding it is unlikely such research will be undertaken.
The fox bones were discovered by coincidence in 2004 when a rock was blown up because of road construction. The explosions opened a cave where the bones lay scattered. Their age was determined at Stockholm University.