Maya

Patricia McAnany researched Mayan ruins in Belize.  The Xunantunich ruins of western Belize are pictured above.
cjuneau via flickr

Patricia McAnany had a moment of clarity when a young girl of Maya descent asked her why all the Maya people had to die. McAnany knew that the ancient Maya civilization collapsed in the 8th and 9th centuries, but she also knew that the Maya people continued to exist right up until the modern day.

Today is supposedly the end of the world, depending on who you believe. Some say the ancient Maya people predicted December 21, 2012 would be the apocalypse. Others say it is just a new era. Still others say the whole thing is overblown.