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In fact, the phrase “pecking order” comes from the natural hierarchy that exists in chicken and other domestic poultry. Each bird pecks another lower down the order without fear of retaliation, but also succumbs to pecking from a bird of higher rank.

Primates bully each other – male chimpanzees have displays where they square up to each other; and baboons fight over food. A few mammals do too. The omega wolf is the lowest ranking member of the pack and finds itself the scapegoat for feuds that go on within the pack. But it also acts as a form of social glue, frustrations can be vented without battles breaking out that could threaten the pack structure.

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