Feminism In The Animal Kingdom
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4 Feminists Of The Animal Kingdom

Meet the alpha females of four species!

4 Feminists Of The Animal Kingdom

Feminism is a topic often discussed in college. In history and literature courses, we identify feminists throughout history and as characters in books, but what if feminism could also be observed in science? The animal kingdom has a varying species that choose alpha females rather than alpha males. Below is a list of matriarchal societies.


We all know elephants are one of the smartest animals on earth. They are capable of making memories and attaching emotion to places. Herds migrate to find grasslands and water so the leader must teach her family the route. A herd is made up of the leading female, usually the strongest and oldest, and her children, sisters, cousins, and aunts. Male elephants are forced out of the group when they reach 13 years of age. Both sexes can have tusks and the matriarch uses that to her advantage when defending her herd.


Yes, this unruly gang of scavengers is run by an alpha female. Hyena females are biologically stronger and bigger than their male counterparts which is a first for mammalian society. Scientists have discovered that the alpha female, while pregnant, produces extra hormones associated with aggression. This will allow her daughters to have a better chance to follow in her paw-steps. Researchers still don't know how this hormone can be controlled by non-biological factors, such as status. In a battle for dominance, females will fight each other for the spot as alpha just like male wolves do. When a female wins, she becomes the leader of the pack and her sisters are promoted to a higher rank while males are lowest in the pecking order.


Africa has nearly all of the female-ruled societies known in the animal kingdom. Do you remember Timon from The Lion King? Well, he is a meerkat and because he was alone with only a warthog for company, he most likely was exiled from his family. Meerkat laws are strict and the mob, as the group is known, must obey the orders of the alpha female and her mate. Meerkats can be exiled or killed if they have a litter of their own. All females in the clan are forced to raise the pups of the alpha female only. It is a tough life, but sometimes necessary to survive in the Kalahari desert.


Native to Madagascar, an island off Africa, lemurs are ruled by a queen. The dominant female runs the troop while females outrank males who often drift from family to family. Once, I was able to get a behind the scenes tour of Jungle Island and one encounter included lemurs. The entire troop of about ten lemurs were brought into a room to search for treats as a training exercise. The zookeeper instructed us that the queen would come over to investigate, but to remain still and silent. If we didn't, especially if you were male, the alpha would see standing or loud talking as a threat and slap you. Lemurs have strong muscles for climbing and, although small, can pack a punch.

The animal kingdom is full of feminists from elephants to lemurs.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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