Odeur sui generis. Le subterfuge dans la domestication du palmier dattier (Tassili n’Ajjer, Algérie)


fr Anthropozoologica 39 (1) - Pages 301-309

Published on 30 July 2004

This article is a part of the thematic issue Animal domestications: social and symbolic dimensions. Homage to Jacques Cauvin

Smell sui generis: Subterfuge in the domestication of the date palm (Tassili n'Ajjer, Algeria)

The Kel Ajjer Touaregs of Djanet cultivate date palms in their oasis grove as practised elsewhere in the Sahara, but with one difference: subterfuge. This is not simple plant domestication in which humans deal with insensitive biological material shaped by generations of oasis dwellers, but a kind of interaction as in animal domestication; people use subterfuge so as not to clash with the temperament of the species, which shuns the sui generis smell of humans.


Oasis, domestication, Tuareg, Djanet, date palm.

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