It’s the alpha female who really runs the show


Excerpts from “Tapping Your Inner Wolf” by Carl Safina:

[…] If you watch wolves, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that perhaps no two species are more alike behaviorally than wolves and humans. Living as we do in families, we can easily recognize the social structures and status quests in wolf packs. No wonder Native Americans recognized in wolves a sibling spirit.

The similarities between male wolves and male humans can be quite striking. Males of very few other species help procure food year-round for the entire family, assist in raising their young to full maturity and defend their packs year-round against others of their species who threaten their safety. Male wolves appear to stick more with that program than their human counterparts do.

Biologists used to consider the alpha male the undisputed boss. But now they recognize two hierarchies at work in wolf packs — one for the males, the other for the females.

Doug Smith, the biologist who is the project leader for the Yellowstone Gray Wolf Restoration Project, said the females “do most of the decision making” for the pack, including where to travel, when to rest and when to hunt. The matriarch’s personality can set the tone for the whole pack, Dr. Smith said.

Or, as Mr. McIntyre put it: “It’s the alpha female who really runs the show.”

Clearly, our alpha male stereotype could use a corrective makeover. Men can learn a thing or two from real wolves: less snarl, more quiet confidence, leading by example, faithful devotion in the care and defense of families, respect for females and a sharing of responsibilities. That’s really what wolfing up should mean.

Carl Safina is the founder of the Safina Center on nature at Stony Brook University and the author of the forthcoming book “Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel.”

Photography: FragileHeartxxx


  1. first thought that came to me was, “Ya think?” HA HA HA! Fun post, MJ

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  3. as it should be–and David, you of course provided it………….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are already there.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love the post and pic…big fan of the wolf restoration project!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This shouldn’t be surprising, the lead mare in a herd of wild horses is the decision maker as well as with other “herd” species.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m only surprised that it took “men” so long to figure that out and then to admit it. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I like that. Wolfing up instead of manning up David! I’m sure women could learn from the alpha female’s example too. ❤
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  9. smart male wolf who wrote and researched this piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Corrective makeover. I like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Mavellian says:

    That’s cool that is why in “human terms” hahah alpha men seldomly marry alpha women. Alpha men love feminine submissive women. It will never grow old and it is so sexy!!. We are willing to then serve and sacrifice for a submissive woman than a dominating one. We will discard her at once.


  12. Reblogged this on snoothefreespirit.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Insightful post.
    Unfortunatey men today mistaken the Hollywood wolf for the wolf in the wild.
    Dave, suggest you see the movie, “The Grey,” starring Liam Nesson; unless you already have.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Alex Jones says:

    Good to hear that matriarchy exists amongst wolves.


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