Okay, thanks to Chris Taylor, I now have that Epidexipteryx paper in my meaty paws. I am working on a restoration (well, not right now), but I need some help. I need some opinions. Here is what I've decided I am going to do:
1) It's gonna have a long third finger. The one hand that is preserved in the fossil is not preserved well, but there's a good rationale for a long third finger based on the measurements of the first two bones of Digit III (read this on Tet. Zoo).
2) It's gonna have "fuzzy" feathers in the manner of Sinosauropteryx and Caudipteryx. I still have no idea what the authors mean when they say "membraneous structure." Does that mean that a whole bunch of feather filliments are arising from a single point, but held together at their base by some kind of membrane? That doesn't make any sense, and doesn't really jive with what we know about how feathers grow.
3) The elongated tail feathers are not going to be terribly rigid, but flowing and flexible, as I imagine they were in confuciusornids.
4) It will have a fully-reversed hallux, as Scansoriopteryx does.
Now, here are my questions. I encourage discussion here.
1) What should I do about the tail? Scansoriopteryx has a very long tail, but Epidexipteryx seems to have a really short one. As I learned on the DML, a break is possible where the "middle section" of the tail was lost. However, I just don't see that. The fact that the "snapped off" section of tail is so very close to the articulated section seems (to me, anyway) to imply that there's not a whole lot missing, there. On the other hand, it would also be strange that Scansoriopteryx and Epidexipteryx, which are sister taxa, have such wildly different tail lengths.
2) Should I give Epidexipteryx "flight feathers" along its arms? I know they weren't preserved in the fossil, but absence of evidence is not neccesarily evidence of absence. The animals directly below (deinonychosaurs) and above (birds) Epidexipteryx have contours along the arm, so why would this new animal lack them?
3) How do you think that long third finger would be carried when not in use?
Thanks for the help!