alpha female

The true alpha female (not to be confused with the queen bee ) is observed mostly in Genus Canis and Genus Homo social behavour.

The intraspecific relations cited for these species suggest that dominance and bullying is at the heart of the organizational structure of these species.

"There are many examples of social, non-colonial or gregarious animals. Examples include a male with a harem in deer and a group (pack, herd, pride) of related individuals in wolves, chickens, lions, gorillas, and chimps. Typically these groups maintain a dominance hierarchy (“pecking order”)" which has the effect of reducing fights to the absolute minimum since a stable single command hierarchy can be relied upon to sort out literally any conflict.

The same tendency is observed in naive or primitive human groups or those which tolerate Pointy Haired Boss type behaviour from incompetent and/or stupid alphas. One role of the alpha female is to reform beta maless so that they do not impersonate alphas and/or accept subordinate roles in society, e.g. a celibate clergy. Above all they must not reproduce or at least not often.

If these efforts at control and reform fail, then, to kill beta males, e.g. have them sent to the front, remains an option. If an alpha female can kill a male at all, this suggests that the male cannot be an alpha. For instance, alpha females giving white feathers to males in Britain during World War I that were able to shame men into volunteering for duty, were sorting out (and effectively killing) the unfit. Fit genuine alpha male such as Bertrand Russell saw the carnage and became pacifists instead, realizing that they were being manipulated. See On Nice People for some of Russell's analysis and why he eschewed being nice, e.g. using words like "reform" when "kill" was really meant.

Genus Homo

Studies of gorilla, chimpanzee, and bonobo behaviour have demonstrated the similarities and some differences between these species and Homo sapiens which shares over 95% of their DNA and most of their social traits. The generally peaceful and vegetarian gorillas organize into male-led harems. Bonobos are organized into female-led troops that at times have the character of a porn movie production company in that demonstrated acts of female-female submission are required in order to remain members of the troop. Chimpanzees are organized into omnivorous male-led troops that are much more violent than either gorillas or bonobos and which have been observed even to include acts of cannibalism and genocide. Of the near relatives the bonobo is thought to be most like the human. However characterizing the dominance may be difficult:

An alpha class human or beta class human may be hard to characterize in terms used for animal alphas in part because deception, proxies, strategy and other tactics may be involved. Anyone claiming o be an alpha female human in a democracy, who simply and obviously advertised herself as such would probably be a gamma class human, as the betas and alphas would have learned to employ more subtle tags.

Among males the situation is less clear.


Most studies of alpha females in Genus Canis are of wolves: large, powerful, graceful wild canines, which were once common throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, but now live mostly in remote wilderness. cite

Of the two species in North America, Canis lupus is the larger gray wolf, Canis rufus the smaller red which is endangered and has interbred with coyotes.


"Each pack has a leading, dominant pair, The top male, called the alpha male, who submits to no one and to whom all the other males defer. Likewise, a top alpha female, to whom all other females must submit (The subservient members are usually direct descendants of the Alpha parents)."

"Contrary to popular belief a female can lead the pack, in one study of 5 packs almost 50% were led by a female wolf." - cite

It seems likely that the alpha female to avoid an alpha male arising must have the ability to bully, dominate and even kill beta males who insist on attempting to mate with her or otherwise demonstrate their own alpha status. OP editors note: Poor bastards!

"Next in rank to the alphas are the beta male and beta female. For each gender, every wolf has a rank or place in line where they must submit to anyone higher than they are, but can bully or dominate the wolves lower in rank. At the bottom there is an omega male and omega female. These wolves have no one under them and may be harassed to the point where they disperse, or leave the pack."

"The dominance hierarchies are held in tact by the alphas. The alpha male is usually the dominant member of the entire pack; and there are two hierarchies that are established--one for males and for females (Smith, 2002). In case there is an injury or illness that claims the alpha male, the beta male is able to step up and fill in for the alpha male (Smith, 2002). However, unrelated immigrant wolves might be able to join the pack at this time and assume the leadership role to prevent the alpha female from forming an incestuous mated relationship with one of her kin (Smith, 1997). This social order is maintained through agonistic behavior." cite


"Wolves will defend their territory, they work as a pack to harass larger animals like bears, although a pack of 12 were once known to kill a grizzly bear, most times if the animal runs away the wolves will not attack."

child raising

Most sources cited emphasize that "wolves are social animals, living together in family groups called packs. In order to live together peacefully, they have an elaborate system of rank order. Just like in the army, low-ranking wolves must defer or submit to higher-ranking ones. This keeps order within the pack and minimizes fighting. They also mate for life..just as we do. Pups are raised protected, loved and played with by the whole pack. While much of the general care taking is done by the Alpha Female whom invariably gave birth to the litter, the rest of the pack also is involved. They realize it takes a whole village to raise a child."

According to one analysis, "by the age of two years old, a wolf has usually found its place in the pack rankings. This starts early in life when the wolf was a puppy. Puppies create their own ranking order when they are still on weeks old and this can continue into adult hood."

status changes

"The rankings of a wolf pack do change over time. The leader of the pack may grow old or get injured and is not able to lead the pack. When this happens, the beta wolf (second in command) will assume the role of alpha." Challenges of the alpha male by beta male are constant and usually not very serious, but even a serious challenge generally ends without harm to either animal.

"If the beta wins the battle, the old alpha may be allowed to stay in the pack for a while. This depends on how the alpha had ruled the pack."

"Just like people, there are good rulers and bad rulers. If the alpha were a gentle ruler, they may allow the alpha to stay and take the role of caretaker for the puppies. In this case the alpha does not really exist in the pack rankings and does not stay in the pack very long."

"If the alpha was a cruel ruler, the pack will banish him/her or possibly kill him/her. They will not let him/her stick around."

"It pays to be NICE !"