Most of the stuff I write is paranormal – and a lot of that is to do with shifters – of the wolf variety. I’ve been fascinated with wolves since being a young child and hearing the lonely howling of a pack. They are such beautiful animals and their howl is so elemental and atmospheric.
However, I never really knew much about them until I began to research wolves for my writing. Unlike our image of them as hierarchical creatures, where every day is a fight for dominance, it seems wolves – at least in the wild – are much more democratic and cooperative than we used to believe.
Much of the early research into wolves was carried out on animals within captivity. This meant you had large packs of unrelated wolves, thrown together in a stressful, man-made environment. Yet, we took their behaviour to be indicative of all wolves. It turns out we were wrong. Most wild wolf packs are actually small and consist mostly of family members. In fact the majority tend to be parents and young. So suddenly, instead of the image of two alpha’s having fought their way to the top – we instead see….two parents!
Wolves often share their food and cooperate with one another in a way we’d not thought possible before. Indeed, sometimes the ‘omega’, the runt of the pack, is allowed to eat first. Rather than being chased away from the carcass and left the bare bones.
So, it seems the alpha males of wolf shifter and werewolf folklore are not really true to life. However, I don’t think we’ll ever stop being fascinated by the ‘alpha male’ in romantic fiction and that’s fine by me. In fact the only thing sexier than one alpha male – is two! Nothing better than two hot n heavy guys falling in love – and lust – and on that note I am off to read Hot Head or Cut and Run. Again!
For anyone who wants to read more about wolf behaviour in the wild, this blog is a good place to start: http://io9.com/why-everything-you-know-about-wolf-packs-is-wrong-502754629