. Although human cultures have always been shaped and guided by plants, it is only within the past few years that this influence has been seriously studied. This relatively new field of research is called ethnobotany.
. Ethnobotanists use molecular biology, mechanical engineering, medical anthropology, and other skills to conduct their studies.
. An ethnobotanist's research might include testing the theories of a plant's origin, studying plants used by indigenous peoples in the hopes of discovering new pharmaceuticals, tracing the cultural consequences of a plant's extinction, or following the changes in a society's overall health because of a change in foods.
. Ethnobotanists may spend as much time living in remote villages around the world as they spend in modern laboratories.