The Truth Of Wolves, Or: The Alpha Problem

Posted: December 25, 2013 in English, Rants, Science
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

A very interesting blog post regarding “Alpha wolves” and why biology just-doesn’t-work-that-way. As someone who majored in biology (although I’m specialized in molecular biology and genetics), I find myself cringing every time I read the same paranormal tropes about this now subverted ideas about wolves. Please authors, go and read an updated paper on the subjects before you start writing about “hierarchy” in the animal kingdom. Science may try to be objective, but scientists are still human beings, full of biases and prejudices.

shattersnipe: malcontent & rainbows

Regardless of what historical epoch their populations and culture are either based on or situated in, epic fantasy landscapes tend to be populated by a very specific subset of animals: big cats, horses, wolves, bears, deer, birds of prey, European livestock (cattle, sheep, chickens), domestic pets, rabbits, and dragons. Though you might occasionally find some ferrets, snakes or crocodiles to spice things up, generally speaking, there’s a profound Eurocentrism to the kind of animals you’ll encounter in fantasy novels, partly because the default fantasy environment is itself Eurocentric; and partly because, once you’re using less common animals, there’s the joint question of how to describe and reference them if their English names are either very clearly colonial or derive their meaning from a clearly real-world scientific canon (Thompson’s gazelle, the red panda, the Pallas cat, for instance); but mostly, I suspect, because we view such creatures as being universally generic…

View original post 1,649 more words

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s