5 Strong Matriarchal Animal Species Who Prove Erick Erickson Wrong About What Nature Intended

animals, matriarchy, matriarchal societies, bees, beehive, Erick Erickson, mothers, breadwinners,


“The social structure of a bee hive is that of a matriarchal family headed by a queen. The queen has a potential life span of three years and during this time may continually lay eggs thereby establishing and maintaining a total colony population of approximately twenty five thousand bees. Almost 95% of the queens offspring are what are referred to as worker bees, with the remaining 5% developing into drones” (Life in the Hive).

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“Elephants form deep family bonds and live in tight matriarchal family groups of related females called a herd. The herd is led by the oldest and often largest female in the herd, called a matriarch. Herds consist of 8-100 individuals depending on terrain and family size. When a calf is born, it is raised and protected by the whole matriarchal herd. Males leave the family unit between the ages of 12-15 and may lead solitary lives or live temporarily with other males” (Defenders.org).

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Bonobo Apes

“Pioneering primate researcher Amy Parish has spent more than a decade studying bonobos, whose closest genetic cousin is, surprisingly, the human race. Parish’s groundbreaking work shows how bonobos live in a society surprisingly dominated by females, who use gal-pal alliances to exert power. And that puts a revolutionary twist on long-held beliefs about what’s “natural” in terms of sex roles and female friendships. While some critics still dismiss the bonobo matriarchy as a fluke or feminist delusion, Parish and others counter with theory and evidence that show how female bonding works to control individual males despite the males’ slightly larger size. Unlike abused loner chimp females, it’s likely that the bonobo gal gang prevents males from killing the babies of rival males (as other apes do) and allows females to choose their own mates and grab the best food. In the wild, females also hunt and distribute meat, once considered exclusively a male preserve…” (excerpts from “Secrets of the Bonobo Sisterhood“).

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Orcas (Killer Whales)

“Killer whale pods are based on the lineage of the mother (mothers, daughters, and sons form groups); the whales live and travel with their mothers even after they are full-grown, forming strongly matriarchal whale societies” (NOAA).

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“Lions live in a matriarchal society. The lionesses work together to hunt and rear the cubs. This allows them all to get the most from their energy, keeping them healthier and safer. Being smaller and lighter than males, lionesses are more agile and faster. During hunting, smaller females chase the prey towards the center. The larger and heavier lionesses ambush or capture the prey. Lionesses are versatile and can switch hunting jobs depending on which females are hunting that day and what kind of prey it is” (San Diego Zoo).

Images via Levi AsayFerdinand Reus, Eleanor Black, NOAA, Mara1

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7 Responses to “5 Strong Matriarchal Animal Species Who Prove Erick Erickson Wrong About What Nature Intended”

  1. knobodi says:

    How could you forget hyenas?? Lionesses are still working for the male: hence the phrase, “the lion’s share”. They work all day so that lazy deadbeat can have first dibs on *their* hard-earned hunt? And why? Because he’s big enough to keep away all of the other baby-killing, rapist males out there…(seriously, lions are messed up).

    Hyenas, on the other hand..are still pretty messed up, but on the extreme opposite end. The Alpha female keeps everyone in line by mounting males and females alike with her giant clitoris / false penis. She gives birth *through* her clitoris to twin females. The twins must fight to the death to decide who will become the next Alpha. (Seriously, hyenas are like the witchy-vagina-dentata-Kali-revenge of the animal kingdom…)

  2. Sammy says:

    lions and elephants aren’t matriarchal contrary to perpetuated belief. If a lions comes in kill your cubs, force the female to copulation, and steals its food , it ain’t a matriarch.

  3. C.G.Prince says:

    It is all about mother earth…I strongly believe in goodness of matriarchy in many ways though I do not look down on patriarchy . I was searching data on matriarchy among elephants as I know it from our forests and has seen it live in Kerala and Tamil nadu forests in India and here I could read worthy information,

  4. Robert007 says:

    Interesting read, albeit seriously flawed. This is not in any way meant to undermine your point that there are many examples in nature of female dominance but you have used some poor examples. For instance, Lions are in no way matriarchal. The male is dominant in every aspect of a lion’s life, he just doesn’t do the work himself. Also, while elephants are matriarchal the majority of the time, it is merely through lack of males. Hard to be a patriarchal society when there are no males. When Bull elephants do approach female herds, the males are dominant. I can’t comment on bees or orcas as I know little about them but the only other thing I wanted to correct is that you say bonobos’ closest relatives are we humans. This isn’t the case as they are closer related to Chimpanzees than humans. Minor pernickety correction but we may as well strive to be right!

    As a last thought, I found it peculiar that you omitted the only two true matriarchal mammals, the hyenas and the lemurs. No-one could argue with those!

  5. ella0 says:

    Just wanted to correct Robert007-it is now well known that Chimpanzees and Bonobos are BOTH the closest extant relatives to humans. Also, lions are frequently considered matriarchal due to the fact the females are the ones who consistently remain in the pride whilst males will only stay for a few years, and also young males are pushed out upon reaching maturity.

  6. zebez20 says:

    Ella0 lions are very much patriarchal. The reason young males are pushed out is because one dominant male controls the pride. This is the very essence of a patriarchal system as males fight for domination over a group of females, in this system it’s the males that control who mates.

  7. Donut says:

    Everyone commenting is looking for excuses to exert supposed dominance over one another, when the fact is, we’re alive because we work together. We’d work even better if we worked harmoniously. Inarguably, there are definitely more single mothers raising the world than the rare & seldom seen single-dad creatures, yet however, our horrible greedy corporation run countries & governments are male dominated. Humans are raised by women then overworked & killed by a patriarchal society. There’s a radical imbalance that need be worked out.
    Anyway, animals aren’t humans. Humans are an incredibly flawed fad.

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