We've all been subjected to certain news outlets publishing phony stories on April Fools Day. It's so widespread, in fact that researchers from the U.K.'s Lancaster University decided to look into it.

Scientists have seriously studied these silly stories only to discover they actually serve an important purpose: They help us sniff out fake news the other 364 days of the year.

The more we see "news" like McDonald's April Fools Day announcement  of its McPickle sandwich, the better we get at determining the validity of more important news stories, researchers say.

Researchers say."By looking at the language used in April Fools and comparing them with fake news stories, we can get a better picture of the kinds of language used by authors of disinformation."

The researchers found similarities in language between more than 500 April Fools stories over 14 years, and shady stories pretending to be legit that weren't published for the holiday.

Compared them to real news stories, the fake ones lacked details, were easier to read, and used longer sentences than their legit counterparts. They also refer to "vague events in the future," tend to use first names for the subjects, and contain more typos, according to the scientists.

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