, clan-mother or 'chief' is an autocratic
female ruler of a human family, clan
, or kinship
, or of an animal grouping.
The matriarch is usually the oldest female in an extended family. Her authority over the others, as well as their trust in her, often stems from her knowledge and life skills, especially in the acquisition and distribution of food.
Matriarchs hold a significant position in several animal societies. Notably, elephants, hyenas, ants, and bees are dependent on the leadership of their matriarchs.