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“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” (

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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