In social animals, the alpha is the individual in the community with the highest rank. 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). Other animals in the same social group may exhibit deference or other symbolic signs of respect particular to their species towards the alpha. 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. Other animals in the community are usually killed or ousted if they violate this rule. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_(ethology)
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