Many of us rely on a Qwerty keyboard, at least when we are typing at a laptop. It is often said that the Qwerty keyboard is inferior to clearly better alternatives like the Dvorak keyboard. However, this appears to be largely a myth backed by dubious science.
There is the similarly often repeated story of VHS versus Betamax tapes, when people would record video on tapes. The often told story was that Betamax lost to VHS despite being technically superior. But VHS tapes could record whole 2-hour movies whereas Betamax could not: so VHS was indeed superior.
It is often said that birds have far superior lungs than mammals. So mammals are failures compared to birds… However, bats (which are mammals) have superior lungs than either terrestrial mammals or birds. This suggests that mammals can acquire better lungs when they need it.
I fear that many of the stories about us being stuck with inferior products due to market failures, or about animals being stuck with inferior organs due to evolutionary dead-ends, might actually be weak or false stories.
Credit: This post was inspired by an email exchange with Peter Turney.