Halley’s Comment on the Alpha Male

Halley’s Comment on the Alpha Male

Halley has a nice posting about a presentation by Professor Frans de Waal which included a discussion about “the alpha male“.

There is nothing remarkable in de Waal’s observations and much of this has been known for a long time. Our question always is: Are there any studies about whether there is any particular advantage to the alpha male himself for seeking to be or being an “alpha male” in any human society in the modern world.

If recollection serves us properly, there was a study once made – we do not recall where we saw or read this – that in a group of man-apes, of which 24 were males and ranked from 1st to 24th in the pecking order, the 22nd-ranked male had the most sexual contacts. Our experiences with the last President indicate that being the “alpha fish” in human society is not a particular advantage for sexual activity and is in fact frowned upon by the group.

Again, if recollection serves, there is also an older study (Sir Francis Galton) which indicates that men of genius ultimately die out for lack of progeny because of sterility. See also here.

The ultimate question seems to be: “alpha” here and there, but what’s it good for in our day and age? Is there really an “alpha” in the true sense, or are these people those who are chosen by the group because they are useful to the group’s needs – but that of course is a completely different way of looking at the so-called “alpha male”.

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