Pixar's Dinosaur Project Is... A Discovery Channel TV Special?

You might recall that last August, Pixar fans spotted some concept artwork featuring a boy and his dinosaur, on sculptor Greg Dykstra's wall in behind the scenes b-roll footage for Up. Someone also noticed some interesting postings made by Pixar animator and paleontology buff Austin Madison on his personal blog recounting a trip taken by a group of Pixar dino enthusiasts, including Dykstra, to the badlands of South Dakota. Anyone who follows Pixar's development process probably knows that the animation studio's artists usually take research field trips while developing new films. For Ratatouille, they took a trip to Paris to study the city and eat in some of the fine restaurants. For Up, they took a trip to South America to study the the strange wilderness of the region.

We had wrongly assumed that the project was a Pixar short film called "Night And Day" by Teddy Newton, a storyboard artist on The Iron Giant, Character Designer for The Incredibles and Presto, making his Pixar directorial debut. That short film is attached to Toy Story 3., and is not the dinosaur project (you can hear more about the short in my previous video blog or see the first photo here). So what is the Dinosaur project? We finally have our answer, and it is a bit anti-climactic – a Discovery Channel television special called Reign of the Dinosaurs.

Discover Channel announced their 2010-2011 upfront slate today, hich includes a collaboration with Pixar on Reign of the Dinosaurs.

Avatar meets Jurassic Park as the latest paleontological research meets Hollywood story telling. Discovery Channel teams with the top creative talent from Disney and Pixar to create an unparalleled television event. New creatures abound in a wondrous new world – giant dinos with Freddy Krueger style clawed hands, pygmy T-rex, frogs so big they can eat dinosaurs. Learn the latest in understanding of dinosaur behaviors with exotic mating dances, the inner workings of the T-rex's nuclear family, dinosaurs drunk on fermenting fruit, dinosaurs in apocalyptic events, the underwater birthing of mosasaurs, and prehistory's angriest mammals. A daring and provocative new chapter in television, REIGN OF THE DINOSAURS is bound to be the benchmark for all future dinosaur natural history programming.

You can read the full press release on Discovery.com.