Musings of an alpha?

“That’s because you’re an alpha female…”

I am? I’d never thought about it.  Is that a compliment?  An insult?  What does it mean? *sound of typing* >Wikipedia > Alpha female > redirected to Alpha (ethnology)… In social animals, the alpha is the individual in the community with the highest rank. So if this is me, then was I born into this or did I win something? Where one male and one female fulfill this role, they are referred to as the alpha pair (the term varies when several females fulfill this role – it is extremely rare among mammals for several males to fulfill this role with one female).  I wonder if M is an alpha male?  I’ll ask. Other animals in the same social group may exhibit deference or other symbolic signs of respect particular to their species towards the alpha. R…E…S…P…E…C…T… The alpha animals are given preference to be the first to eat and the first to mate; among some species they are the only animals in the pack allowed to mate. Great food, great sex! Well, if I must. Other animals in the community are usually killed or ousted if they violate this rule. I hope I don’t ever have to do this bit. The term “alpha male” is sometimes applied to humans to refer to a man who is powerful or in a high social position. Hunh. Alpha female is used to indicate a highest-status female. The highest! The status of the alpha is often achieved by means of superior physical prowess. Me? Superior physical prowess?  *insert large imagination stretch here* The individual in the alpha position usually changes when another challenges it to a fight (in some species to the death) and wins. But I don’t want anyone to die, especially me... Consequently, alphas may have to fight individuals in their own group several times to maintain their position throughout their lifetimes. That sounds like a fast way to lose friends.  I don’t want to. In species where the fight is to the death, alphas rarely reach old age. Die young?  How young? In some species, a nomadic individual may approach the alpha, successfully beat him, and thus become the new alpha. Note to self: beware of nomads. When this occurs in lions, the new alpha usually kills the previous alpha’s cubs. Right, no kids. In lions, several individuals may share alpha privileges in what is known as a coalition.  Sharing?  Sharing? Only kidding, I can share…a bit. The social group usually follows the alpha to the hunt and to new breeding or resting grounds. This way folks…I know where there is a great restaurant and we should camp right here. The alpha is thus sometimes seen as deciding the fate of the group. Ah, the costs – with power comes responsibility.  Now I’m starting to feel nervous…and a small amount of deja vu. If two groups of the same species find themselves competing for the same ground, they may let the alphas fight, letting the outcome decide which group stays.  Ok, I guess I’ll go into battle on your behalf.  After all, you have shown me so much respect, I’ve had the best food and sex, avoided nomads, and you let me choose the restaurant and campsite But perhaps there might be a plan beta?

(Some text from

This entry was posted in people and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Musings of an alpha?

  1. Matthew Bulbert says:

    you can fight battles anytime….

  2. Matthew Bulbert says:

    whoops I meant to say you can fight my battles anytime

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s