Supplementary information

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Supplementary information
Primate brain size data were taken from (Stephan et al. 1981), while data on group size are from Dunbar (1992) and Smuts et al (1987); we classified species’ social systems ourselves, with reference to the primary literature and guidance from Smuts et al. (1987) and van Schaik & Kappeler (2003). Carnivore brain sizes were taken from (Dunbar & Bever 1998; Kruska 1988), and social system and group size from (Gittleman 1989), except for missing species which were based on (Nowak 1999). Ungulate brain size data were taken from several different sources (Jerison 1973; Oboussier 1966); (Haarmann 1975; Mangold-Wirz 1966). Information on sociality, group size, diet and habitat use were taken from additional published sources (Brashares et al. 2000; Jarman 1974; Kingdon 1997; Nowak 1999). Ungulate phylogeny was a composite based on several recently published trees (Flagstad et al. 2001), (Gatesy et al. 1997) (Murphy et al. 2001); carnivore phylogeny on (Bininda-Emonds et al. 1999)et al18, and primate phylogeny was based on (Purvis 1995).

For primate total brain size, the best model retained log group size (F1,38 = 13.37, p <0.001) and diet (F1,38 = 76.43, p < 0.001). For carnivores, the best model retained social system (F3,81 = 5.29, p = 0.002) and strata use (F1,81= 16.30, p < 0.001, model adjusted r2 = 0.22), whereas for ungulates, the best model retained social system (F3,61 = 4.52, p = 0.006) and diet (F4,61 = 4.12, p = 0.005, model adjusted r2 = 0.22).

Primate activity budget data were collected from the following sources: Cercopithecus lhoesti (Kaplin & Moermond 2000); Cercopithecus mitis (Pazol & Cords 2005); Lagothrix lagothricha (Defler 1995); Ateles belzebuth, A. geoffroyi, A. paniscus (Korstjens et al. in press); P. ruformitratus, P. temminckii, P. tephrosceles, P. badius (Korstjens & Dunbar in press); Aotus trivirgatus, Callecebus moloch, Cebus apella, Allouatta palliata, Saguinus fusicollis, Saguinus imperator, Siamiri sciurus, Papio anubis (Leonard & Robertson 1997); Presbytis entellus (Fashing 2001); Pan paniscus, P.troglodytes (Lehmann et al. in press); Gorilla gorilla (Lehmann et al. unpub. manuscript); Hylobates agillis, H. concolor, H. hoolock, H. klossii, H. lar, H. muelleri, H. pileatus, H.syndactylus (Lan and Dunbar). Ungulate activity budgets were collected from the following sources: Damaslicus dorcas, Redunca fulvorufula (Klein & Fairall 1986), Kobus ellipsiprymnus (Wirtz & Oldekop 1991); Theropithecus gelada (Dunbar unpub. Data), Ourebia ourebia (Adamczak 1999), Aepyceros melampus, Raphicerus campestris, Tragelaphus strepsiceros (du Toit & Yetman 2005); Oreotragus oreotragus (R.Dunbar, unpublished); Syncerus caffer (Turner et al. 2005); Capra hircus (R.Dunbar, unpublished).


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Table S1. Definitions of the ecological and social criteria used in all analyses across the three focal taxa.







>75% leaves


>75% leaves and fruit


>75% Grasses and annuals


>75% Fruit


Primarily insects, molluscs, worms plus other material


>75% leaves, bark


>75% leaves and fruit

Mixed- vertebrates

Primarily small vertebrates, Some fruit, plus some invertebrates.


>75% fruit


>75% fruit and browse


Mixed diet- fruit, gum, insects, vertebrates

Large vertebrates

Diet primarily composed of large vertebrates and some carrion


>75% grasses and browse


Mixed including tubers and some animal matter



Species found in open grassland and savanna habitats


Species found in either both open and forested habitats or in habitat matrices (e.g. woodland-savanna)


Species found in closed/forested habitats



Primarily moves and forages on the group


Primarily moves and forages on the group


Generally moves on the ground, can forage and sleep in the trees


Can move on the ground, often forages and sleeps in trees


Spends the most time including resting, moving and sleeping in trees



Active during daylight hours

Cathemeral/All hours

Active either at dawn and dusk or at any hour


Primarily active at night

Figure S1. Primate phylogeny and phylogenetic residuals

Figure S2. Ungulate phylogeny and social data

Figure S3. Carnivore tree and social data.

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