Boulter studied botany, geology, and chemistry at the University College London. He taught paleobiology at the University of East London from 1989 to 2002. He served as editor to the Palaeontological Association (1975–81), secretary to the International Organisation of Palaeobotany (1981–2002) and UK representative at the International Union of Biological Sciences. In 2002 he became notable for his book "Extinction: Evolution and the End of Man" where he explained that humankind may be closer to extinction than previously believed. Together with Michael Benton and about 100 other scientists he launched the project "Fossil Record 2", the world's largest database with fossil remains from the past 500 million years.