The northern gannet (Morusis bassanus) is a living seabird that hunts fish by diving into the sea and pursuing prey underwater. Here is a YouTube video of gannets fishing. As the headline suggests, it is amazing. And fun! Click on the image to see it on YouTube.
Gannets have sharp beaks and pointed wings. They remind me of a series of varied pterosaurs, collected under the genus, Germanodactylus. One wonders if they had similar diving abilities.
With its sharp beak and similar size and shape, Germanodactylus appears to be a good gannet analog for the Late Jurassic. Those big wings could have tucked themselves in close to the body, the claws would have faced their palmar surfaces medially. A deep chord wing membrane extending to the ankle, the traditional model, probably would not have worked. Here the wing membrane essentially disappears when folded, as several Pterodactylus fossils show.
Then, of course, there’s the crest question…
Does a soft skull crest put a kabbash on the diving hypothesis? Perhaps. But then think about the super fast fish with crests (sailfish, marlins, swordfish) and let’s start the arguments! Your thoughts, please!