Plants & Human Affairs - Introduction
Cherries.wmf (7140 bytes) Plants & Human Affairs (BIOL106)  -  Stephen G. Saupe, Ph.D.; Biology Department, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University, Collegeville, MN 56321;;

White Snakeroot:  A Case Study in the Scientific Method

Read the article, "Land of Milk and Poison," by DC Duffy (Natural History, July 1990) and then answer the following questions:

  1. What is milk sickness?
  2. What observations did the settlers make concerning this disease?
  3. What were some hypotheses to explain the origin of this disease?
  4. What was Anna Pierce's hypothesis?
  5. Upon what evidence did Anna Pierce base her hypothesis?
  6. What "experiments" did Anna do?  Were they properly controlled?
  7. Was her work replicated?
  8. What conclusions did Pierce make from her studies?
  9. How did social attitudes and beliefs impact this story?
  10. Do you think American history would be different if white snakeroot hadn't poisoned Abe Lincoln's mother?

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Last updated:  09/19/2008 / � Copyright  by SG Saupe / URL: