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dominance hierarchy

noun, Animal Behavior
a system or set of relationships in animal groups that is based on a hierarchical ranking, usually established and maintained by behavior in aggressive encounters: one or a few members hold the highest rank and the others are submissive to those ranking higher and dominant to those ranking lower.
1970-75 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for dominance hierarchy
  • After arriving at the park, a new dominance hierarchy was established.
  • They reflect one kind of dominance hierarchy, which is a general trait of organized mammalian societies.
  • In chimpanzee society, for instance, relative peace is maintained by a complex dominance hierarchy.
  • These postures help to maintain the dominance hierarchy within all deer groups.
  • Prior to each study the herd's social dominance hierarchy will be determined.
  • Condors normally feed in a group where a strict dominance hierarchy is followed.
  • In each herd the rams establish a dominance hierarchy during a rutting period that begins prior to breeding.
  • The boars use their tusks for defense and to establish a dominance hierarchy during breeding.
  • They have a serially monogamous social system with males forming a dominance hierarchy.
Encyclopedia Article for dominance hierarchy

a form of animal social structure in which a linear or nearly linear ranking exists, with each animal dominant over those below it and submissive to those above it in the hierarchy. Dominance hierarchies are best known in social mammals, such as baboons and wolves, and in birds, notably chickens (in which the term peck order or peck right is often applied)

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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