AN ISLE of Wight man and his dog stumbled upon a peculiar shaped fragment of bone in Sandown ­— later confirmed to be the fossil of a rare winged reptile.

It was the first time a specimen of this pterodactyl, more commonly found in China and Brazil, has been found in the UK.

The man passed the find on to University of Portsmouth palaeontology student, Megan Jacobs.

The fragment of fossilised jaw found was from no ordinary pterodactyl.

This one lacked teeth and was remarkably similar to a bizarre group of pterosaurs called ‘tapejarids’.

The new specimen from the Isle of Wight has been named Wightia declivirostris.

“Although only a fragment of jaw, it has all the characteristic of a tapejarid jaw," said Megan.

"Namely numerous tiny little holes that held minute sensory organs for detecting their food, and a downturned, finely pointed beak.

"Complete examples from Brazil and China show they had large head crests, with the crest sometimes being twice as big as the skull.

"The crests were probably used in sexual display and may have been brightly coloured.”

The researchers determined the Isle of Wight example seemed more closely related to the Chinese tapejarids than the Brazilian examples.

Co-author of the study, professor David Martill ­— a palaeontologist from the University of Portsmouth ­— said: “This new species adds to the diversity of dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles found on the Island, which is now one of the most important places for Cretaceous dinosaurs in the world.”

The finder has donated the specimen to Dinosaur Isle in Sandown, where it will go on display in the future.

The new discovery is reported in the scientific journal Cretaceous Research.