The terminology for describing the dominant grey wolf as the "alpha", and the subordinates as "beta" and "omega" was first used in 1947 by Rudolf Schenkel of the University of Basel, who based his findings on researching the behaviour of captive grey wolves.
Werewolf packs are werewolves that congregate in groups. In studies of social behavior, the highest ranking individual is sometimes designated as the "alpha". Males, females, or both, can be alphas, depending on the species. Members of the same social group may exhibit subordinate behaviors towards the alpha. In a hierarchical community, assigned ranks are used in ethology studies, sometimes described as "betas" and "omegas".
- Main: Werewolf (species)
The Alpha is patient zero, the master Werewolf, or the dominant one in a pack. This type is not usually bit by another. It may be born this way, or might be cursed by some magical rite. Some, however, do not consider this type to be a curse.
In the movie American Werewolf in Paris, a Beta could free themselves from their curse by eating the heart of the Alpha that had cursed them.
A Beta werewolf is turned by an Alpha. Betas often act as second-in-command to the reigning alpha, and will act as a new alpha if the original dies. In some legends, Betas have no free will and are 'spiritually' bound in servitude to the Alpha. The curse of the Alpha is said to be cured by an exorcism, or by killing the Alpha.
The Omegas (Greek: ω) refer to the lowest caste of the hierarchical society. They are cursed by the Beta, and not necessarily by the Alpha itself. Omegas are subordinate to all others in the community, and are expected by others in the pack to remain submissive to everyone. Omegas could also be used as communal scapegoats or outlets for frustration, and even given the lowest priority when distributing food.
- ↑ "Schenkel’s Classic Wolf Behavior Study Available in English". http://www.davemech.org/schenkel/. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Wikipedia, Alpha (ethology)
- ↑ Jim Dutcher, Jamie Dutcher, James Manfull Wolves at our door: the extraordinary story of the couple who lived with wolves pp.89, 145