Evolutionary History of the Reindeer
The reindeer, Ragnifer Tarandus, is a member of the Capriolinae subfamily, a place it shares with a multitude of other species. It is clear that the reindeer shares a common ancestor with species like the moose and the white tailed deer. What this common ancestor looked like is difficult to determine. Climatic conditions, such as the movement of glaciers and soil acidity destroyed most of the fossil evidence of this common ancestor. The species that descended from this common ancestor were already distinct species by the time conditions allowed fossil evidence to be preserved (Baskin 379-380).
Reindeer emerged as a distinct species about 1 million years ago. It is the most recent species from this subfamily to emerge. Reindeer are extremely well adapted to the cold environments they inhabit (Baskin 379-380).