This article reviews several books published since the turn of the millennium that explore the role and representation of animals in different areas of ancient Greek and Roman culture. Despite differences in focus and outlook, these books herald the arrival within classical studies of the questions, concepts and methods of human/animal studies as an emerging field of enquiry. This article takes their publication as an opportunity to take stock and to outline the relationship between these disciplines. I explore how current research on ancient animals resonates both in existing debates in classical scholarship and within the context of the larger interdisciplinary debate. I also suggest how this debate can point to productive avenues for further enquiry in classical studies. More specifically, I argue that the interdisciplinary debate sets an important agenda, which should be embraced more fully by classical studies. Classical scholarship on the role, function and perception of animals in different areas of ancient Greek and Roman life can provide important insights into one aspect of the heritage – Western conceptions of humanity and the place of the animal within it – which has not yet received the attention it deserves. I conclude that classical scholarship can make a significant contribution to the interdisciplinary debate, helping it deliver on its stated goal of examining and challenging Western concepts of self, as well as the ideologies of ‘the other’ underpinning them.