Data associated with Geography of Subistence. Gavin et al. ROS

We acquired all data from D-PLACE ( We only used data collected in a relatively narrow time span (1860-1960) to avoid the effects of changing environmental and social conditions, including long-term transitions in subsistence strategies, as well as the possibility that over the course of human history multiple groups may have occupied a given location. Variables describing subsistence economy (EA001 to EA005) were used to determine the dominant subsistence strategy, which we defined as the strategy relied on for more than 56% of total subsistence. We summed the hunting (EA002), gathering (EA001) and fishing (EA003) categories to represent dependence on the foraging subsistence strategy. We omitted from our analyses societies for which multiple strategies (foraging, animal husbandry, or plant-based agriculture) contributed equally, with no one strategy contributing more than 56%. Climate data were from the baseline historical (1900-1949) CCSM ecoClimate model ( We derived topographic data (slope and elevation) from the Global Multi-resolution Terrain Elevation Data 2010 (see ref 60 in Gavin et al paper). We extracted all climatic and topographic variables for the localities of the societies in our sample based on global maps at a 0.5 by 0.5 degree resolution. To avoid multi-collinearity in our explanatory models, we reduced these often highly correlated environmental predictors to orthogonal components via principal components analysis (PCA). The PCA produced 3 main composite variables: (1) 'environmental stability' describes a gradient of increasing mean temperature, temperature predictability, mean precipitation, lower precipitation variance, and decreasing temperature variance; (2) 'topographic complexity' describes a gradient of increasing slope and elevation; and (3) 'environmental productivity' describes a gradient of increasing mean precipitation, lower precipitation variance, precipitation predictability, and net primary productivity. To capture the potential effects of horizontal transmission, we included as a predictor the proportion of the 10 nearest neighboring societies that share a society's subsistence strategy ('neighbor effect').