Talk:Alpha (ethology)

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No real questioning?[edit]

Why is there not a single sentence of questioning of the concept as a whole? There's a lot of reason, arguments, studies and literature to believe that all this alpha/omega thing is just a cheesy transfer of patriarchal thinking into the "animal kingdom". Neither chimpanzees nor wolves fulfill these role models if grown up in free, natural "packs" without being fed by humans. … --Jhartmann (talk) 11:37, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

-I think some might counter and argue that the opposite is true- that animal hierarchy is not influenced by patriarchy but instead it is patriarchy that is a product of natural animal hierarchy. But your point is taken. I think we need to be aware that we ourselves are in a class system, and that perhaps our thinking on this issue is modified by those with the power to shape our thinking. However, by that same token aren't we admitting that there are a group of people in our own species who wield considerable power over others, much like in the animal kingdom. But I agree, alpha male has become somewhat of a loaded term and can be used by people as a justification for inequality in our own system - proof that it is natural and normal. I think it's important to remember that while nature is cruel and unequal, we as humans can make a distinction between what's right and what's wrong.

Please don't delete[edit]

Can you please not delete my external link on becoming an alpha male. We spent a long time putting that together, in hopes of putting in on wikipedia as a reference. The material is 100% relevant and useful to the topic. Those who wish to further their knowlege on the human behavior of an alpha male, will benefit from reading it, and it contributes to the integrity of the subject. The link provides visitors with further information on what they have come to find. Readers have been grateful to have located the book on this site. I will appreciate it if you respect the hard work and time put into this, and leave the link where it belongs. Thank You. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:06, 24 May 2006‎

Pleading for people not to remove blatant spam just isn't going to work. --GraemeL (talk) 21:26, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Graemel. GeorgeTsiros 07:24, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

Alpha male article[edit]

If ever there is an article made about human alpha males, perhaps this article would be a good reference: (this link is dead)

I think this article is a little outdated or something. First of all, alpha males aren't usually determined by physical prowess, they are determined by attitude. It even says that in the Wolf wiki article. Secondly, as far as I've been raised, the term does not have a negative connotation when associated with humans. It is simply a social role classification. For example, Tom Cruise is considered by many to be an Alpha Male.

Who considers him that? Ive never heard that phrase related to him, and i would consider him myself nowhere near that..

My own feelings on the Alpha male, stems from the belief that those who recognise "what" they are and not who they think they are. Man is the only species which can think they are something they are not. If I believe I am woman then I shall become a women. If I except that I am a male I follow that course, it’s my role in life. I can not change to become a woman. If a cat thought it was a dog or a goldfish a shark then nature would simply die out of confusion.

Human alpha females[edit]

I recall encountering a study a few years ago indicating the existence of human alpha females. I think it was in an anthropology class, but I cannot remember. The main thing I do remember from the study is that when alpha females lived in a group, the menstruation cycles of the other women in the group would align with the alpha female's. I think this would be a good addition to the paragraph on human alphas (which only mentions males), but I don't want to put it in without a reference, and I can no longer remember where I saw it. Has anybody else seen this research and know where I might find it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:34, 24 April 2007

This article makes it sound as if an "alpha female" is a common occurence. I can say as an Anthropologist, it is a very very rare thing in the generalized sense. This article needs to clarify that 99% of the time, the leader of a group is naturally male. Nowadays in the buisness world you see groups of males making a woman a CEO, but it is a diliberate choice. If it would like to cite some example's it would be fine, but looking through the history book it isn't a common occurance. This article comes across like a politically motivated one by adding male "or female" instead of just having a section that discusses the occurance of a female alpha (such as some Native American cultures). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:46, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

I've actually read that the alignment of the menstrual cycles when women live together is a complete myth and it doesn't happen at all, regardless of the social dynamics between them. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:16, 19 April 2014 (UTC)


Something about Omegas and play roles would be good. Rich Farmbrough, 11:37 4 October 2007 (GMT).

I remember reading about groups of baboons, where some of the mid-ranking baboons, as they got older, would move to different tribes. By doing so, they dropped to the bottom of the social structure and were left alone. If they had stayed, they would have had to fight younger males.--RLent (talk) 20:38, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Don't forget the gammas. Alpha, beta, omega, gamma. --TaylorWW (talk) 18:30, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Type-A personality[edit]

The links to Type A personality and Jock (subculture) are entirely irrelevant and don't belong at the bottom of the article. The three aren't the same by a long shot. James Callahan 03:45, 21 October 2007 (UTC)


External links[edit]

might be "interesting" but this can't be the best of all possible references, suitable for citing first and alone Foogus (talk) 01:17, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Maybe there are better references, but until something better is found, surely this gives more information than nothing? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:05, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Apart from the jokes about Prime ministers and Bishops not having harems, it sounds reasonably intelligent to me. Perhaps Foogus could rewrite that article, and incorporate the best bit into the Wiki entry. (talk) 09:04, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

"The omega male may be used as a scapegoat"?[edit]

Excuse me, but what the f*** was that about? Who put that in there?

Scapegoating is a formal fallacy, and no, so-called omega-males may not be scapegoated. I swear, it looks like a greedy jock stepped in and thought he could be funny. (There, I deleted it from the article. I hope you won't take issue with my decision.)

Incidentally, the 'lowest caste' are commonly believed to be the sick, deformed, and badly disabled. You find these people in mental hospitals and on the streets. You don't scapegoat someone in a wheelchair or a straightjacket. They may even be the helpless victims of present-day society.

Attributing resentment to all members of these classes as a direct result of their illness is also a fallacy and is no excuse to torture or segregate them without pity.

Update: I changed 'may' to 'might' out of fairness. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:20, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Scott Hoge (talk) 02:53, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

"hedgemonic alpha male"[edit]

Why is there 'woman's studies' socio anthro speak in this biology entry? Fem speak explains nothing and relies on the 'arbitrary cultural construct" fallacy of the failed 20th century social engineering movements.

I wouldn't defer to academic feminism(anthropolgy, sociology, psychology) on anything no less biology definitions.

I thought the cult of academic feminism (and its cockeyed just-make-it-up fallacies) had seen it last day. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Spellir74 (talkcontribs) 10:43, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Removed Unsourced Jibberish[edit]

I've removed the following paragraph, because it's unsourced but also because it doesn't make any sense:

"The term "alpha male" is sometimes applied to humans to refer to a man who is powerful or in a high social position. Alpha female is used to indicate a highest-status female, whether actual or self-proclaimed. It is also used to explain the conduct of several adolescents that compete openly to call more attention, often being hostile."

"In groups or pseudo-groups of what once where, a dominant male (usually in late teens or early twenties) will usually find his way to what can be described as the 'Alpha Male'. In these cases Beta or co-dominant males may interact to keep human interaction within social limits and acts as limiting factors to anti-social or disruptive behaviour with-in a group. The attributes lend themselves to the 'Alpha' status, requiring brawn as well as brain ( Lateral Thinking observed in males). Sociological constraints have pushed, by selection pressures, the 'Alpha' to also be the one which is perceived as the best by physical attraction, showing strength in a potential mate."

It reads like an angry teenager trying to get back at someone at school. I'm not sure what a "pseudo-group" could possibly be. A fake group? So, one person? If this is going to go in an encyclopaedia, it needs to be (1) clarified, a lot, and (2) sourced. Reidlophile (talk) 15:44, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

The article in its curren't revision doesn't have ANY information about alpha males, even though it redirects from 'Alpha Male'. It's a real concept and belongs in Wikipedia, either as its own article or in 'Alpha (biology)'. Who are you to decide that it reads like "an angry teenager trying to get back at someone at school"? There can definitely be an individual with a higher status than others in a group. (talk) 11:27, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Gamma Male[edit]

Interesting viewpoint here as well as elsewhere has 4 categories -- alpha, beta, omega, and gamma. In this view, the omegas are the total losers. Alphas and betas are pretty much known. But what is the gamma? There apparently is no solid consensus, some sites and definitions use omega and gamma interchangeably. But this site in the link I provide shows all four.

I suggest thinking of it like this. The alpha is the captain of the football team. The omega is the fat troll Cheetos eating loser living in mommy's basement at the age of 30. The gamma is a martial arts black belt (solitary rather than team sports skill) corporate troubleshooter (has decent team social skills) -- someone with the positive alpha traits but with the beta craft skills. Then the betas are everybody else -- they have the craft skills (thus they are not omega losers in that they are self supporting) but lack alpha leadership traits (which is why they are not gammas).

So men become gammas either from being alphas (because they "grow up") or from being betas (because they "man up").

However I don't think the article should be updated with this concept yet as it appears to still be evolving. SunSw0rd (talk) 19:02, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

Urban myths vs. clades[edit]

I find the Intro to this page confusing as it seems to jumble together scientific notions about different species with popular cultural myths, probably mainly deriving from the bestsellers of Desmond Morris. I feel that distinct paragraphs are necessary. However, I haven't attempted any editing as I think the article as a whole needs rebalancing (and I have no specific competence). I guess this will be made much easier as the section on different clades/species expands. I note that gorilla alpha males currently get just a single sentence - I won't attempt to get their opinion on that! --MistyMorn (talk) 15:59, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Aro Avarayayaya (talk) 20:52, 12 March 2015 (UTC)


I deleted the use of lions as an example of an alpha male system, because it wasn't cited, and just being a male with a harem [of related females that will stay together for life] and killing the offspring that aren't yours (a trait of any male of almost any given species) is not the definition of alpha male. Where's the evidence that the male(s) in the lion pride makes the decisions and are responsible for the fate of the pride, anyway? That sounds awfully anthropomorphic. I would say a pride with multiple males could have an alpha male in that the one with the most testosterone will get more mating opportunities, but nobody in a lion pride is really "the boss". The males do get the kills first if they get to it in time, but that has less to do with hierarchical dominance and more to do with the male being stronger and not tired out from hunting. (talk) 21:09, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

Re-write or merger?[edit]

Having just read this page for the first time, I was dissapointed at the number of unverified statements, anthropomorphisms and statements that directly contradict information in other Wikipedia articles (which are verified). I feel this page needs heavily re-writing, and perhaps merging into a subsection of Dominance (ethology)DrChrissy (talk) 18:25, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Request citation?[edit]

I see this article says that “Six of these ranks have attracted special attention in ethology and been given applicable names: alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon, and omega.” Can you please provide a citation with more information? Bwrs (talk) 06:59, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

Gorillas and alphas[edit]

"Gorillas use intimidation to establish and maintain alpha position. A study conducted regarding the reproductive behavior of male mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) found further evidence that dominant males are favored to bear offspring, even when there is a greater number of males in a notably enlarged group size. The study also concluded that mating access dropped off less steeply with status; alpha, beta, and gamma showing more similar mating success, compared to what had been previously thought.[4]"

So... gorillas strive to establish alpha position, "dominant" gorillas get more mates, but alphas do not? I don't understand what this paragraph tries to say. (talk) 22:10, 8 June 2014 (UTC)

Is this term used in eusocial animals?[edit]

According to the current definition (individual in the community with the highest rank), the queen bee would be alpha. Do ethologists really use the term this way? Yel D'ohan (talk) 09:10, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

Removal of the images of the hippos and the wolves[edit]

It shouldn't have happened. They depicted important activities alphas participate in, like the fight for dominance and leading the herd. Another important activities is top pick in eating the dead prey. (talk) 07:01, 7 August 2015 (UTC)

No animals were depicted in the picture that was removed. Δρ.Κ. λόγοςπράξις 07:05, 7 August 2015 (UTC)
There are clearly animals in these pictures:
File:Wolf_pack_in_Yellowstone_NP.jpg (talk) 07:13, 7 August 2015 (UTC)
You were adding two pictures one of which was a copyvio. I restored the one which was not. Δρ.Κ. λόγοςπράξις 07:15, 7 August 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, what is "rv socks"? (talk) 07:17, 7 August 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Copyvio is a copyright violation. The Don.jpg picture is from Fox news and it is a copyrighted picture so it cannot be used. "Rv sock" means that since your only edit was to restore the copyrighted picture you were behaving in a similar way to the other two editors who were performing the same edit. There was therefore a reason to suspect coordination or WP:SOCKing to use the local jargon. Δρ.Κ. λόγοςπράξις
Note: I was replying to your original post. Δρ.Κ. λόγοςπράξις 07:26, 7 August 2015 (UTC)

Wolf pack image[edit]

The article uses File:Wolf_pack_in_Yellowstone_NP.jpg with the caption Social groups sometimes follow their alphas into activities, yet later on the article explains that wolf packs do not actually have alphas but are families led by a breeding pair. This looks like a contradiction to me.--GrafZahl (talk) 13:56, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

I wonder whether the image has been used for its aesthetic qualities and an editor has perhaps incorrectly assumed that it is showing following of an alpha individual. Just a thought.DrChrissy (talk) 16:21, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

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