Per Ahlberg likes to think of it as the $64,000 question - have we got early land animals in Canowindra?
The prospects they are lying beneath the ground are rather good, according to Professor Ahlberg, and “scientifically it would be a fabulous thing” but he said that would require both a big undertaking and a big commitment.
But as he points out, Canowindra already has an abundance of well preserved fish fossils and “we know that a group of lobe-finned fishes gave rise to the first tetrapods or land vertebrates sometime during the Devonian
The kinds of fishes preserved in Canowindra are exactly those that have been found alongside Devonian tetrapods at other sites, according to Professor Ahlberg, and if they are found, they will be complete specimens.
“If it proves realistic to open the locality [to find the specimens]...the prospects they could be there are really rather good,” Professor Ahlberg
“[We know] animals existed by this time.
“There here in a general sense. If we have early land animals here...it will be absolutely world class. There will be a great deal of excitement and a great deal of information.
“Scientifically, it would be good to have the site open.”
Professor Ahlberg made these observations when he returned to Canowindra on Saturday to visit the Age of Fishes Museum, his visit since it was officially opened.
For that, he does regret it has been such a long time but he said the museum “looks really, really impressive”.
The head of the Evolutionary Biology Centre in the University of Uppsala, Sweden, Professer Ahlberg wants to offer his support to the museum, harnessing his work “looking at every aspect of the evolution of backbone animals”.
This, Professor Ahlberg said, would show links to how evolution has occurred.
And that link could be right here in Canowindra.