What is an omega wolf?

The traditional wolf pack has a hierarchy, or ranking, that is established within itself. The top ranking member of the wolf pack is known as the “Alpha” wolf, the next in line from the top is known as the “beta” wolf, and the bottom ranking member of the pack is known as the “omega” wolf. It is worth noting that a wolf pack can have many more members than just the alpha, beta, and omega. The key positions in the pack however are typically one of these three.

The omega wolf is the lowest ranking member of a wolf pack, regardless of how many other pack members there are. Typically, there is both an omega female wolf and an omega male wolf. Because the omega wolf ranks at the bottom of the pack, he (or she) is generally picked on by other wolves. The omega is also submissive to other wolves, and generally is relegated to eating last.

Pack rank is not a rigid thing, and can change as wolves challenge the alpha for their position. Also, members of a pack can leave changing a pack’s dynamics. As a result, an omega wolf does not necessarily remain an omega wolf his entire life. Sometimes, he (or she) will leave the pack entirely and may become a “lone” wolf – resulting in another wolf in the pack becoming the “omega”.

It is worth mentioning that the idea of wolf hierarchy in packs has been around since 1947. In 1999 however, new studies suggested that this idea of packs may have been inaccurate. The original idea was that unrelated wolves joined together and formed packs resulting in the pack structure. New studies suggest however that the wolf pack is actually a related family consising of the parents in the alpha position and their offspring in lower positions.

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