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Why is Madagascar called the "eighth continent"?

It is called the eight continent, because it is very special island. Not only the size, and the world’s fifth largest island, but it is unique in many respects.
It has unique flora and fauna, in big extent endemic.
Ring tailed lemur
Lemurs are the most known animals from Madagascar. But, there are many other. Approximately 95 percent of Madagascar’s reptiles, 89 percent of its plant life, and 92 percent of its mammals exist nowhere else on Earth.
New species of snake
There are some great landscapes or habitats where those animal and plants live. Located off the east coast of Africa, Madagascar’s climate is tropical along the coast, temperate inland, and arid in the south. The island harbors lush rain forests, tropical dry forests, plateaus and deserts. Its more than 3,000 miles of coastline and over 250 islands are home to some of the world’s largest coral reef systems and most extensive mangrove areas in the Western Indian Ocean.
Cloud forest in Ranomafana National Park
Dry savannas and sandstone massif in Isalo NP
Virgin beaches in Masoala NP
Then, people of Madagascar are unique too. They are blend of Africans and Asians. The most important settlers wave came from Asia, Malayo-Indonesians arriving before the 5th century AD. Highlander Merina tribe, through centuries the ruling class, is still light tanned. Malagasy language is of Austronesian origin. Culture of rice paddies further proves Asian origins. The African element is mostly dominant in dry western part of Madagascar with zebu cattle herding, taller Sakalava people. Western savannas of Madagascar for example resemble those of East Africa.
Remote village in Mananara region
Extremely interesting and sometimes weird culture was born. A firm belief in the existence of close ties between the living and the dead ancestors (razana) constitutes the most basic of all traditional beliefs and the foundation for Malagasy religious and social values. The burial tomb, a prominent part of the island landscape in all regions, is the primary link between the living and the dead among the Malagasy. Some of the most interesting ritals is famadihana This occurs when a person is taken from a temporary to a permanent tomb, and the remains are taken out of the tomb to be wrapped in new shrouds, or when a body is moved from one tomb to another.

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