Where the myth came from:
In 1947, a man named Rudolph Schenkel wrote a paper that theorized that male wolves fought within their pack, and the winner of those fights would become the “alpha.” Later, Dr. David L. Mech — the founder of the International Wolf Center — wrote a book that referenced Schenkel’s paper, reinforcing the alpha myth. Since then, Mech has been outspoken in attempting to refute the myth, even asking his publisher to stop publishing his book due to the outdated information.
Nowadays, particularly in the age of the internet, the idea of an “alpha male” in the context of human socialization and behavior has also become popular. Generally, in this context an “alpha male” is aggressive or overbearing. Ironically, in the context of wolves, a true alpha male would actually just be a dad, nurturing and caring for his family.