Scholars who have studied the Mayan Long Count Calendar have determined the calendar transitions into a new era on Dec. 21, 2012. Some misguided doomsayers have taken that information, noted its timing near the winter solstice and other astrological factors, and issued a dire warning that the Earth as we know it will end. Rest assured, there is no evidence pointing toward any type of cataclysm. But the fact that anyone would look at a calendar that dates to 3114 B.C. and give the culture that created it any credence in predicting the present day illustrates the mystique surrounding the ancient Maya. Just who were the Maya, and what made them so special? Here are five ways that the Maya were ahead of their time.