General traits of alpha:
3)high pain tolerance
4)good overall health-mainly good immunity, which is related to pheromones
5)in primates and more social creatures, intelligence
Behavior of betas when in alpha's presence:
1)Betas are immediately aware of alpha, and generally watch them the entire time they are present. What are they eating? Who are they preening? Beta animals are obsessed with what the alpha is doing at all times.
2)Betas generally fear the alpha, and will not try to mate with the mating partners of alpha male while in their presence. For alpha females, betas generally stay out of their way and will not mess with them if they get angry.
3)Alphas tend to be older and experienced animals, especially the females. Males tend to maintain status through intimidation tactics, while females tend to maintain status through politics, but both tend to be more aggressive than other animals.
4)Levels of testosterone have been linked to alpha behavior. A female chicken injected with testosterone will immediately rise in the "pecking order," and subsequently fall again when the injections cease.
5)There is much evidence for the importance of pheromones in nature. In a pride of lions, all females will go into heat with the alpha female animal... her pheromones signal the other animals to menstruate, which means that all animals will be in their fertile period simultaneously, hence an increased chance of all females becoming pregnant. Studies have shown that humans find pheromone profiles indicating good immunity to be especially enticing, and subliminally, whether we intend to have babies or not with our mates, we are biologically driven to want sex with someone who will give us healthy babies.
I've come across guys who describe themselves as "alpha", and I laugh under my breath, because they tend to be the beer can smashing, dumb jock who has little understanding for the subtleties of the human dynamic, communication, and emotion. A muscle headed, loud belching, sex crazed meat head does NOT an alpha male make. True alpha males are intelligent, sophisticated, and rather than being braggardly or brash, have a cool, understated air and an easy confidence. They are well spoken and have no need for false bravado. They have no need to engage in contrived love games and power plays at dominance, because they simply are, by their very nature, dominant.
Contrary to the sterotype, high maintenance bimbo types are usually submissive females, who, due to their insecurity, are biologically ordained to engage in vain and backstabbing behaviors that they use to gain status. A submissive female is not able to match wits with an alpha male, therefore she feels that she needs to "catch him" by being more beautiful than the rest, dressing promiscuously, and spending lots of time and money on her wardrobe. They also tend to group together in packs, and talk about their latest methods to "trap" and "seduce" men. Alpha males usually have little use for this type of woman, except for maybe as a one night stand.
So, contrary to popular belief, alpha females do not look like Barbie, nor is it a requisite to have massive breasts. Hillary Clinton, Condy Rice, and Martha Stewart, and Oprah are "alpha." I've seen lots of advice for men on how to catch an alpha women, such as one that I was reading last night on a site called "girls ask guys." The article was obviously written by a submissive male, not a female, as you might be led to believe. It contains suggestions to be cocky, overly confident, and aloof. Hmm, well, let's see, if you're anything less than fabulous to begin with, adding these behaviors to your repertoire will make you seem even MORE unattractive than you already are. True alpha females are shrewd, and will know in a matter of 20 minutes exactly what type of person you are, how smart you are, and what your true motivations are. Your attempts at being "alpha" will fool a submissive female, who is so anxious to catch a man that she will put up with all sorts of foul behavior, demeaning comments, and bullshit in order to be possessed. The true alpha will put you out with last weeks garbage, knowing that there are bigger and better fish in the ocean. If you are beta, let's hope, for your sake, that you at least possess some of the more sensitive, nurturing qualities that men generally look for in women. You can distinguish yourself from the rest of the chaff by being available, a good listener, and a romantic who will be the yin to her yang, so to speak.
And the eternal question: Why do men want alpha females?
1)They find them biologically irresistable. Their mind might say no, but their body says YES YES YES!!!!!
2)They are notoriously good lovers
3)Every man wants their son to be an alpha male...
An update: Out of curiosity, I used google images to find photos of Oprah, Hillary, and Condy's hands and they all appear to have the longer fourth digit. I wasn't able to find any photos of Martha's hands.