Building upon new perspectives opened up by human-animal studies in the investigation of the Greco-Roman world, this article focuses on the cultural representation of interspecies learning in Greco-Roman sources. In particular, this study analyzes one of the foundational events of human culture in most societies: the introduction of the alphabet and writing. Among the many texts describing its origins, a few involve an enigmatic encounter between several flying cranes and the Greek hero Palamedes. This article considers the literary evidence regarding Palamedes and the cranes. It deals with folktales and anecdotes, illustrating how humans can learn from animals within the broader context of the transmission of knowledge in Greco-Roman antiquity. A thorough investigation of the ancient cultural encyclopedia will show why cranes could be regarded as teachers of the Greek hero. At the end of this study, it will be possible to identify precisely the constitutive forms of the letters that according to ancient Greek texts Palamedes could have observed by paying attention to the flight arrangements of cranes.