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.

Origin:
1970–75

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

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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Example sentences
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.
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