Wolfpacks have a hierarchy of respect, obligation and deference. At the top of this hierarchy are the Alpha Wolves, usually a mated pair but sometimes a single individual. At the bottom of the structure is the Omega Wolf. The Omega eats last and is chased and bitten by all the wolves higher up in the structure.
If the Omega wolf dies or leaves the pack, a new Omega ends up being chosen quickly and is not always the wolf that was formerly the one just above the old Omega.
It’s in the interest of the pack to allow the Omega to remain a member, even though many of the individuals in the pack attempt to drive him or her away. For this reason, the Alpha is obligated by personal interest and social dynamics to defend the Omega when things get out of hand and the weakest member of the pack is in real danger of being driven away or killed.
Humans, lions, hyenas, crows and baboons have oddly resonant social structures; though none of them are similar in all major aspects to the wolfish model, they all do share the Omega Pattern to one degree or another. Humans, lions and crows are actually crueler about this than wolves, baboons and hyenas. Human, crow and lion Alphas sometimes kill or drive off the Omega themselves, perhaps to foster more cohesiveness in the tribe, flock or pride.
But wolf, hyena and baboon Alphas seldom turn on their Omegas wantonly, usually offering them protection from the worst excesses of their pack mates. There must always be an Omega, why get rid of one just to have nature nominate another?
One measure of the civility of human societies might be how much closer to wolf than lion they are in the treatment of their Omegas.
Horses, cattle, rats and elephants do not have Omegas; herds are structured but marginalization is based on different dynamics.
Why am I bringing this up? Just something offered as a topic of meditation, perhaps.
Are we not Omega?