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Carnivore Brain Size, Behavioral Ecology, and Phylogeny

John L. Gittleman
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1380998 23-36 First published online: 25 February 1986


This paper examines relationships between brain size (relative to body size) and differences in ecology and behavior within the order Carnivora. After removing the effects of body size (either body weight or head and body length) significant differences in brain size exist among families. Variation in relative brain size across the order and comparative brain size within families might relate to differences in diet (carnivores and omnivores have larger brain sizes than insectivores) and breeding group type. These findings are discussed and compared with those found in small mammals (rodents, insectivores, lagomorphs), primates and bats.

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